The Tradition Continues

Every family has their unique story. The ‘Helms Family Story’ starts in Germany, moves to America in 1867 with my great grandfather when he was eighteen years old, then to a homestead where my grandfather was born in 1889 northeast of Arapahoe, Nebraska.

Agriculture, crops, cattle and horses, has been our occupation for generations; seed stock production was added by my father Clarence in 1948 with the purchase of one registered heifer for $385. He showed and sold her first bull calf at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO for $4975 and he was hooked.

Clarence and Lois moved to the current Nebraska Flying H Genetics sale site after World War II, living and raising a family, crops and registered cattle for 60 years before selling to Kyle and Kayla in 2006, the fifth generation of Helms to carry on the family tradition. Their daughters are number six.

In 1976, Dick and Bonnie moved back to the farm/ranch after graduating from the University of Nebraska with degrees in Animal Science, Ag. Economics and Ag. Journalism. They purchased the farm where Dick’s mother was born and developed it into the bull development headquarters for the operation.

Dick and his three brothers were members of 4-H and FFA with their experience and profits paying for their cars, education and first heifers to start their herds.

In 1968, as part of an FFA project, they purchased a scale and took their first weaning weights. That was followed by breeding their first cows with Artificial Insemination in 1971 and utilizing the new technology of Embryo Transfer in 1973.

Dad always said, “If you’re going to do it, do it the best you can.”

The demand for good bulls and females continued to grow as the industry continued to change. This lead to the addition of Gelbvieh genetics in 1982, the development of Gelbvieh X Angus hybrids in 1995 and the addition of Simmental genetics in 2008. These additions allow Flying H Genetics to offer their customers more genetic choices to utilize heterosis (crossbred vigor) and complimentary breeds and genetics to produce better cattle.

In 2005, to better serve their customers in the southeastern United States, Flying H Genetics added a ranch in “the fescue” belt. This production and marketing center is currently located in Lowry City, MO. “Grown On Grass” bulls are developed 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. This niche has grown into sales the third Saturday of March and the fourth Saturday of October plus private treaty sales providing over 250 “Grown On Grass” bulls annually.

“Doing our best” always means utilizing the best tools available. While taking and processing thousands of weights and measurements every year and extensive use of AI and ET, today’s tools include ultrasounding for carcass traits, EPD’s and Indexing and DNA testing. Flying H Genetics spends thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours every years 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 our customers more money.

We believe that a quality product is the first part of great customer service. And, our 65 years of experience has taught us how to take care of our customers after the sale.

Flying H Genetics 17 Quality Standards that every animal must pass before being sold, coupled with our industry–leading warranties and guarantees means our customers get great genetics and great service.

Sixty-five (65) years is a long time. A lot has changed and many things have gotten better. 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. Tools like EPD’s and DNA genetic testing allow us to more accurately identify an animal’s true genetics. This helps us get our customers the exact bulls they want to get their specific job done. Although not perfect, todays 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.

As Flying H Genetics transitions into this high tech era of seed stock production, it is exciting to think about the future. 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.

Dick and Bonnie are current owners of Flying H Genetics. With the help of family and friends they operate two locations in NE and MO marketing semen, females and around 400 bulls per year to over 1000 customers in almost every state and some foreign countries. They are proud of the fact that they are helping over 20 families participate in and build the beef seed stock industry of the future.