Walter Lasley & Sons Inc.

Putting extra TLC in cattle feeding and farming
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

Since 1953, Walter Lasley & Sons Inc. (WLS) has been a family-owned and –operated feed yard in the Texas Panhandle region. The company prides itself in going above and beyond, delivering the best “TLC” or tender, loving care to its customers and their livelihood by offering the highest quality feed products, health and nutrition programs, marketing strategies and more.

In an industry ridden with challenges, from severe drought to an ever-increasing price on cattle, WLS has certainly felt the pinch, yet the family business has remained strong for 61 years. “Things have changed since my father, Walter Lasley Jr., founded the business in 1953 with 150-head of cattle,” shares Walter E. Lasley, now president of WLS. “We’ve expanded from 150-head to 20,000 animals and we farm and ranch right here in Stratford, Texas.”

In addition to full-service feed and nutrition programs, WLS operates 3,000 acres of farm land. “The cattle graze adjacent to the feed yard and this significantly lowers our production costs,” explains Lasley.

Custom processing

Beyond cattle feeding, WLS has developed a system of custom processing that maximizes animal performance and enhances profitability, driving serious value to the company’s customers. “We work with our customers based on the history of the cattle and can alter processing as the owner sees fit on their pen of cattle,” tells Lasley.

WSL’s team of 12 employees helps monitor each individual pen. “The animals are tagged when they come in so we know what pen they belong to and it helps keep track of the medicine the animal receives,” explains Lasley. “Our personnel are trained to monitor the cattle and if they appear to need attention we contact our consulting veterinarian.”

Feeding is also a precisely tracked stepped of the process. “All of our feed trucks have scales and GPS technology to tell them exactly what rations the cattle are on and ensure they’re feeding the right ration to the right lot,” explains Lasley.

Now with a fully automated feed mill, WLS has perfected the process. “When we built our mill, we used to unload two semitrailer trucks with 500 sacks of feed to feed the animals,” recalls Lasley. “Since we’ve upgraded the mill from manual and push-button to full automation; it’s been an ongoing process. Now we can control the whole operation from inside the mill all by computer.”

Healthy, high-quality Angus

From the feed mill to the feed yard and the pasture, WLS is committed to delivering healthy, happy animals. WLS’s cattle meet the high standards of the All Natural Angus program requirements. The All Natural Angus is an Angus genetic-based beef program emphasizing safety and quality. All Natural Angus has never been administered or fed antibiotics, supplemental growth hormones or fed animal by-products.

Cattle processed in this program are received only through approved feeding suppliers, which meet stringent process requirements. Ongoing feed analysis, carcass testing and humane handling certifications are part of WLS’ commitment to the integrity of this program. Furthermore, all cattle in the All Natural Angus program are born and raised in the United States.

Cattle offered in this program must be visually approved for general animal quality and health and a pen certification form must be completed upon sale. When animals are held to such stringent guidelines, Lasley says its WLS’ job to assure its customers receive the maximum values for their cattle.

Top dollar

“WLS is dedicated to flexible and creative marketing strategies,” he says. “We have four packer-buyers that see our cattle weekly and we’re in daily contact with; names like Tyson, National, JBS and Cargill. We contact our customers as soon as their cattle are ready for the show list.”

WLS then refers customers to reputable brokers for risk management assistance and to give the customer an outlook of the futures’ market. As a member of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and the Consolidated Beef Program, WLS helps customers get top dollar for their cattle.

While this competitive formula has worked for WLS for many years, Lasley says the last three have been quite difficult. “The price of cattle has nearly tripled in recent years,” he measures. “It’s been a pretty tough three or so years, but we’re starting to earn more – it’s taken a tremendous effort.”

“With the drought and the high price of cattle, it’s expensive to continue to operate at the same level you once were,” continues Lasley. “There’s more risk involved now. There’s a lot of money invested and some would say the return on investment is sometimes not worth the risk.”

But it’s a give and take situation WSL has been dealing with for more than six decades and Lasley says recent challenges will not break the family business. Since 1953, Walter Lasley & Sons Inc. has been a trusted name in the feed yard, delivering high performance care and the extra TLC for high-quality animals.

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