First woman to major in animal husbandry at OSU named 2010 Master Breeder Award recipient.
Oklahoma State University has named Minnie Lou Bradley, the first woman to major in animal husbandry at the institution, as its 2010 Master Breeder Award recipient.
In 1986, believing beef was not only tasty but also a great health food, Bradley and her daughter Mary Lou launched B3R Country Meats, a beef merchandising program that grew into a company recognized worldwide for natural Angus beef.
Although the meat company was sold in 2005, the expanded 10,000-acre ranching operation situated in the Texas panhandle continues under the management of Minnie Lou, Mary Lou and Minnie’s son-in-law, James Henderson.
“The Bradley 3 Ranch program truly is focused on breeding problem-free cattle that will survive and thrive on a forage program, including standing low-quality winter range, with minimal supplementation,” said David Lalman, professor of beef cattle with OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
While this is the ranch’s primary focus, the Bradley operation has diligently worked to improve genetic merit for carcass quality and cutability, as well.
“They have been collecting DNA-marker data on their bulls since 1994, and are currently engaged – and have been for some time – in one of the nation’s most progressive research projects in this area,” Lalman said. “In fact, B3R has provided leadership on many industry innovations.”
Bradley 3 Ranch cattle have truly been bred to “fit” the harsh Texas panhandle environment. For example, cows are not retained into the embryo transfer program until they have proven that they can:
• bring in a calf every 12 months for a minimum of 8 years in a row
• maintain a 365 day or lower calving interval
• wean a calf that is at least 50 percent of the cow’s weight
• require no assistance and little supplementation; and
• produce calves that are deemed high-enough quality to go back into the herd as replacements or herd sires.
“That’s a stringent job description,” Lalman said.
Numerous honors and achievements have been earned by Minnie Lou and her family, in recognition of their dedication to the beef industry and perseverance in developing a successful cattle breeding program that takes the entire food chain into consideration.
Previous awards include OSU’s “Animal Science Graduate of Distinction” honor in 1988, Beef Improvement Federation’s Pioneer Award, Beef Magazine’s Top Forty Beef Producers, Texas Cattle Feeders Beef Merchandiser Award, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Stewardship Award and Certified Angus Beef Seedstock Commitment Award, among others.
“One of the highlights of a storied ranching and beef merchandising career was certainly being selected as the center-of-the-plate item for the Black Tie and Boots dinner at the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001,” Lalman said. She was also recently elected to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Minnie Lou Ottinger Bradley was raised on a livestock and wheat farm in Hydro, Okla. She announced to her parents at an early age that she would be attending then Oklahoma A&M College and be a member of its nationally renowned Livestock Judging Team.
“She entered Oklahoma A&M in the fall of 1949, majoring in animal husbandry with a minor in agricultural journalism,” said Ron Kensinger, head of the OSU department of animal science. “True to her word, she was not only the first female member of our legendary Livestock Judging Team but one of its most successful members ever,”
In 1952, Bradley was the first woman to win the coveted high individual honors at the International Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Contest in Chicago. That same year she was high individual in the beef cattle category at the American Royal competition. Shortly after graduation in 1953, Minnie Lou Ottinger married her college friend, Bill Bradley, and the couple purchased a small ranch in Childress County, Texas. And so began a noteworthy career in the beef cattle industry.
“The OSU award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the genetic improvement of a breed of livestock,” Kensinger said. “The accomplishments of Minnie Lou Bradley in the beef cattle and meats industries, along with her many other related activities, document that she is a true living legend and a master breeder worthy of recognition.”