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Why one ranch family has opened their gates to the public

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Although it can be daunting to open up your farm gates for the world to see, one Oklahoma family says it is totally worth it. 

Nearly every time John and Gaye Pfeiffer host a group on their farm they hear, “I’ve never been this close to a cow before.” For most, seeing cattle up close is a moment they won’t forget. Telling their story to the cattle curious was awkward at first for the Pfeiffers.

“I realized that we were going to have to show people what it means to raise cattle and what all is involved,” John says in an interview with Certified Angus Beef, a premium beef brand.

Now, the Pfeiffers look forward to hosting hundreds of visitors each year. They share everything from the beef cattle life cycle, animal care, vaccination protocols, and sustainability practices to why they choose Angus cattle on their central Oklahoma farm.

The Pfeiffers’ dedication to teaching and connecting with those further down the supply chain earned them the 2021 Certified Angus Beef Ambassador Award.

Telling their story

Together, the Pfeiffers’ mission is to make their communities better and more approachable. They often serve together in county, state, and national organizations, with local cooperatives, school boards, Farm Bureau, cattlemen, and Angus Associations.

Giving back was something both John and Gaye were taught to value from a young age, but they learned storytelling along the way.

“This is a partnership,” John says. “It’s just unbelievable — the fact that we make it possible for [partners] to do what they want to do by selling a quality product, and they make it possible for us to continue to stay here and raise that product.”

Hosting groups and tours help keep them connected to those further down the beef value chain, Gaye adds.

“We consider it a privilege to be able to host groups,” she says. “It’s always been our obligation we thought as producers to interact with all the different segments Certified Angus Beef interacts with to explain our role and how it all fits together.”

The Angus way

Whether it was a calling or an inborn fondness for black cattle, John knew from a young age he would do whatever he could to follow in the footsteps of the three generations before him in the Mulhall-Orlando area.

“One of the first things my grandad did as soon as all his grandkids were born is make them members of the American Angus Association,” chuckles John.

The Pfeiffer family brought their first Angus bull to Logan County in 1907. Seventy-four years later, John and Gaye began their venture with 30 cows, just a few miles from where the origin bull roamed. Those cattle became a part of the upbringing for the farm and their now-adult sons, John Christopher and Andy. Today, the family calves out 300 cows each year.

After forty years of progress, John and Gaye continue to share their up-close-and-personal experiences with their cattle and community.

Thanks to the vision, service, and progress they started, the fifth John Pfeiffer could now raise cattle in the same area his family began farming in more than a century ago.

“A legacy to me means more than just acres and cows,” Gaye explains. “A legacy to me means you are also sharing your values. You’re sharing the love of the land, the importance of feeding the world, and the importance of doing whatever it takes to make things better in the end.”

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