Long term knowledge & experience at Flying H Genetics
Published on Tue, 02/16/2016 - 1:31pm
When Clarence and Lois Helms purchased their first Hereford heifer in 1948, they had no idea that their small family ranching business would grow to become Flying H Genetics, a leading-edge, long-standing progressive family ranching business that is known for its exceptionally superior cattle.
For nearly thirty years, Clarence and Lois worked diligently to put Flying H Genetics on the proverbial cattle production map. After WWII, Clarence and Lois moved to Nebraska, on what is now the Flying H Genetics current sale site. Here, they lived and raised a family, crops and registered cattle for 60 years, In 1976, their son Dick, and his wife Bonnie, joined the family operation and purchased the property on which the ranch’s bull development center is located. In 2006, Kyle and Kayla Helms became the fifth generation of Helms to carry on the family tradition and in 2013 Cody and Casie Helms joined the team working in Nebraska agriculture and seed stock production. Today, Flying H Genetics is listed as one of the top 100 Beef Seed Stock Producers in the United States.
When Clarence purchased his first registered heifer for $385, he had no idea that two years later he would sell that heifer’s first bull calf for $4,975. This first sale ultimately led the family operation to be a leading player in the cattle genetics industry. The tradition of holding a fall female sale started in 1980 and the first Flying H Genetics bull sale was held in March of 1988. Today, Flying H offers a huge annual production sale, held the first Saturday in March, at their Nebraska site, with additional sales held at their Missouri division twice a year. The ranch’s Missouri-based production and marketing center boasts “grown on grass” bulls, which are developed by grazing fescue grass with some supplementation to identify bulls that can tolerate entophyte infected fescue grass and are muscular, athletic and ready to go to work.
“Our objective has always been to offer our customers the best genetics possible,” says Dick Helms. “We started production testing in 1968, using AI in 1970 and did our first embryo transfers in 1972. And, if one believes that crossbred vigor is essential for efficiency and profitability, then one must offer their customers more than one breed.”
It was in 1981 that Flying H Genetics began offering Gelbvieh cattle, followed by Black and Red Angus hybrids (GelPLUS/Balancers) in 1995, Simmental genetics in 2008 and Fusions (a composite of Angus/Gelbvieh/Simmental) in 2011. These additional breeds allow Flying H Genetics to offer their customers more genetic choices to utilize heterosis, or crossbred vigor, and complimentary breeds genetics to produce better cattle.
“Giving our customers better genetics and more choices lets them build the cow herd and calf crop that fits their environment and management while utilizing crossbred vigor in the cow, calf and bull to produce better beef and more profits,” Helms says.
Flying H Genetics has such a significant history—one that impacts who they are and the type of products and cattle they offer. Together, the family strives to keep the history and the family-oriented aspect of the business at the forefront. When the business carries your family name it means something.
For the Helms family, exceptional customer service is the backbone of Flying H Genetics’ success. While the average seed stock breeder lasts a mere years, the Helms family has been involved in this ever-changing industry for 66 years. This longevity is attributed to the entire family’s vision that customers come first. Couple that vision with the ideology of offering exceptional products and the result is a sustainable business that serves customers for generations.
“Every business decision we have made all these years has been based on, ‘Will it help us help our customers?” says Helms. “We work very hard for our customers because they are our friends and many are like family. We have known many of them for over 40 years and are into their second generation of building better cow herds and beef together.”
What’s more, the team at Flying H works to ensure their customer’s success long after the sale. To ensure exceptional outcomes for everyone involved, Flying H Genetics has established 17 Quality Standards that every animal must pass before being sold. In addition, the business offers exceptional industry-leading warranties and guarantees to ensure their customers receive great genetics and great service.
With the help of family and friends the Helms family continues to efficiently and effectively operate their two locations—marketing semen, females and approximately 400 bulls per year to over 1000 customers in almost every state and some foreign countries.
“We are proud to be helping over 20 families participate in and build the beef seed stock industry of the future,” Helms says.
What the Future Holds
Since Flying H Genetics’ inception 66 years ago, a lot has changed in the cattle industry.
“I am amazed at how much different seed stock production and the genetic business is today than when Clarence sold his first bull in 1949,” Helms says. “Tools like EPD’s and DNA genetic testing allow us to more accurately identify an animal’s true genetics. This also helps us get our customers the exact bulls they need to get their specific job done. Although not perfect, today’s tools help us build better bulls and females and identify their genetics so our customers can buy what they want, in the color they want, with the specific traits they need.”
The team at Flying H Genetics utilizes the best tools available and they are always eager to embrace the latest and greatest that advancements in genetics technology provides.
For instance, taking and processing thousands of weights and measurements every year and the extensive use of AI and ET, requires Flying H Genetics to incorporate high-end technology throughout its processes and programs, including ultrasounding for carcass traits, EPD’s and Indexing and DNA testing.
Flying H Genetics spends thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours every year utilizing these tools to identify and cull genetics that are not “industry improvers” and identifying and developing the genetics that make the cattle better and their customers more money.
Referred to as their “Five Star System,” Flying H Genetics offers a multi-trait selection processes that results in indexes that help identify the perfect animals their customers’ needs.
As Helms explains, they are able to use super computers to analysis tremendous amounts of data for several important traits and using the economic value of those traits produce one number--an index based on dollars. They can then compare one animal to another using this dollar index and know that all traits, and the profits associated with each trait affecting this specific index, have been evaluated.
Having used DNA genetic testing to identify specific traits and eliminate genetic defects for years, in 2016 Flying H Genetics is utilizing multitrait DNA analysis to generate more accurate EPD’s so their customers can be more confident than ever that they are getting exactly the genetics they want when purchasing a bull from Flying H Genetics.
“As Flying H Genetics transitions into this high tech era of seed stock production, it is exciting to think about the future,” Helms says. “But, knowing that our future is grounded on a solid foundation of family heritage, honesty and integrity and a vision of providing superior genetics and service is what makes me smile.”