Calves are already coming at Jacobson Red Angus

There's something about Red Angus that caught the eye of this Hitterdal, Minnesota, beef producer.

A calf from a set of twins stands up hours after being born on Jan. 16, 2023, at Jacobson Red Angus near Hitterdal, Minnesota.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

HITTERDAL, Minn. — Gary Jacobson likes to calve on "Minnesota concrete," the rock-hard ground during January and February.

“The mud gets pretty tough here,” Jacobson said of the prospect of calving in the spring.

Gary Jacobson with his granddaughter, Rilyn, 2, at the Jacobson Red Angus ranch near Hitterdal, Minnesota, on Jan. 16, 2023.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

The first red Angus calves of 2023 were born on the ranch at Hitterdal on Jan. 16-17, including a set of twins. But Jacobson said the calving would get more intense in the last week of January.

Twin calves rest hours after being born on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 at Jacobson Red Angus near Hitterdal, Minnesota.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

Jacobson said they try to fit calving into a five-week window.

“It’s labor intense, but then it’s over and done,” he said.


During calving season, Jacobson says he sleeps in the barn, but it’s really more like an apartment, with satellite TV and a kitchen.

“I tell people I sleep in the barn but it’s pretty much like the Hilton,” Jacobson said. “It’s pretty nice.”

The barn at Jacobson Red Angus has a living quarters at the front, even with satellite TV. The barn also is the site of a bull sale every year in mid-March.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

And it makes getting up every couple of hours to check on cows more bearable.

Jacobson primarily raises seedstock, and Jacobson Red Angus will have its bull sale on March 16.

The sale is on the ranch, offering about 65 bulls. Jacobson said the majority of the bulls stay within a 200-mile radius of the ranch, about 35 miles east of Fargo, North Dakota, but buyers also can bid online, so he has had buyers from as far away as Washington state, Colorado and Kansas.

An Angus bull with the Gary Jacobson brand is one of about 65 that will be sold at auction on March 16, 2023, at Jacobson Red Angus.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

Jacobson said there will be about 60 bidders at the ranch and another 60 or so online.

Jacobson said he got interested in Red Angus when he was young and working at a stockyard, taking notice when a rare Red Angus would come through.

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“I always took a liking to them,” Jacobson said.


Cows feed on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, at Jacobson Red Angus near Hitterdal, Minnesota.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

He said he doesn’t have to worry about getting blind-sided by the red cattle.

“I like the red cattle for the disposition, and they’re so much easier to work around,” Jacobson said.

But you do see some Black Angus cattle mixed with the reds at the Jacobson ranch as a way to introduce some different genetics. It's then a surprise to see what color the calves are.

Some black Angus cattle are mixed in with the red Angus at Jacobson Red Angus near Hitterdal, Minnesota.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

“It’s kind of like Christmas. It’s either going to be a red one or a black one, but the red ones is what you hope for,” Jacobson said.

But he said there’s no difference in the quality of the animal or the beef.

“You take the hide off, they’re Angus,” Jacobson said.

Sitting on the eastern edge of the Red River Valley, Jacobson Red Angus isn’t in prime cattle country.

Jacobson said that has made it tougher to get his name recognized and to be taken seriously in the cattle industry. Plus, he said Minnesota once had a poor reputation for the quality of its cattle.


Gary Jacobson carries his granddaughter Rilyn, 2, on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 at Jacobson Red Angus near Hitterdal, Minnesota. Jacobson's pickup carries the license plate "GJ Reds."
Jeff Beach / Agweek

But with artificial insemination and more movement of seedstock and cows across the regions, cattle have become more uniform.

“Cattle are the same all over,” he said, though there are fewer of them in his part of Minnesota than there used to be.

Jacobson Red Angus is southeast of Hitterdal, Minnesota.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

He is excited about the first crop of calves to come out of a bull purchased from the Pieper Red Angus Ranch in Nebraska.

He said the bull has a reputation for easy calving but calves that grow quickly and have good marbling.

“Those should be pretty good,” Jacobson said.

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Reach Jeff Beach at or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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