Nashes honored as Cattlemen of the Year

Cattleman of the Year winners Angie and Todd Nash of Marr Flat Cattle Co. Friend and fellow rancher Jeff Parker (far right) provided the extensive history of the Nash's contributions to Wallowa County and made the presentation.

Todd and Angie Nash were honored Saturday night at the Wallow County Stockgrowers Awards Banquet as Cattlemen of the Year.

Nash, who is manager of Marr Flat Cattle Co. of Joseph, has been an active community leader for many years

With wife Angie at his side, supporting him even when cattle raising didn’t look like a very good idea, Todd has served as vice president of Stockgrowers under President Phil Ketscher and was president from 2010 to 2012. He also serves as chairman of the Wolf Committee for the Oregon Cattleman’s Association, came up with the idea for the Stockgrowers Rodeo and World Championship Rock Jack Building contest seven years ago and served as chairman of the event. He hosts exchange kids from Sunnyside Environmental School in Portland who come to learn the ranchers’ way of life, and was influential in starting the scholarship program and heifer program which supplies young cattlemen and women with a purebred heifer.

And that’s just a partial list.

Under Nash’s management. Marr Flat Cattle, which is owned by the Don Buhler Family, has become a leader in grass--fed beef products.

Todd manages 800 cows, grazing 80,000 acres. The cows make an annual 120-mile round-trip migration from the calving grounds between Enterprise and Joseph to Big Sheep and then Marr Flat on the edge of the Eagle Cap wilderness.

The vast amount of time the cows are grazing and the short amount of time they have to be fed expensive hay has been a key to the well-known efficiency of this operation under Todd’s guidance.

In addition, Nash runs a smaller seed stock group of cows at the Mt, Joseph Ranch where Todd has implemented an artificial insemination (A.I.) program for several decades. There, the couple produces bulls for their own use and to sell.

Marr Flat Cattle is heavily involved in Branded Beef programs, retaining ownership (and quality control) of the majority of their calves through the finishing phase.

They began pioneering the specialty market with their own Marr Flat All Natural Beef, which has been sold into several states with considerable volume.

Over the years, Marr Flat cattle have been sought out by and marketed through several large, well-known branded programs, such as Country Natural and Meyers all natural beef, but by far the largest number of cattle over the years have gone to Merton Homer’s Painted Hills Natural Beef program, based out of Fossil.

Todd has said when they started finishing cattle, they had about 25 percent grading select and just a very occasional prime. Today, they have virtually no select, mostly choice, but have impressively moved to approximately 25 percent prime.

While Todd’s early involvement in A.I. to improve the herd has played a role, much of the success is attributed to the care and management the cattle receive.

Nash is quick to credit his wife of 25 years, Angie, with essential support. Angie is a multi-tasker who works on the ranch, is a big part of Marr Flat all natural beef sales, and volunteers to cook Marr Flat beef at local events — such as Hell’s Canyon Mule Days — and also works at Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness.

Despite their combined reputations, the award surprised the Nashes.

“I was surprised,” Todd Nash said. “When I look at the people who got it in prior years, it’s real humbling. You don’t do any of that work by yourself; I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people for a long time.”

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