February 20, 2017
Alfred Meeks and Sons originated in 1937 in Dalhart, Texas, when Alfred Meeks bought some heifers from his father, JD Meeks. In 1955 Alfred and his wife, Mildred, and their son and daughter-in-law, Ferrall and Gloria, purchased Upstream Ranch near Taylor in the Sandhills of Nebraska.
Today the ranch is managed by Alfred’s grandson, Brent, and his wife, Robin, and owned with Mildred, who still lives on the ranch. Brent and Robin have two children — Marshall and Carlee. Alfred succumbed to cancer in 1991 and Ferrall and Gloria were killed in a car accident in 1994.
The Upstream herd includes 600 registered cows. About 500 cows and heifers are AI-bred annually and about 50 embryos transferred.
Upstream Ranch hosted its first production sale at the ranch in 1978, which has continued annually on the first Saturday of February. The ranch’s main focus is the production of bulls for commercial cattlemen.
“Alfred and Mildred laid a solid foundation for one of the best ranches in the nation,” say Ronny and Kay Morgan, Morgan Ranch Inc., Burwell, Neb. “Alfred knew his customers and knew how to market his cattle to them. Everyone was a friend to Alfred and Mildred and they returned that friendship. Ferrall and Gloria, the second generation, were no different. They worked hard at producing top Herefords and staying up with the trends of the industry. They are greatly missed, not only in the community, but throughout the Hereford families across the U.S. Brent and Robin had to step into the management role at the untimely death of Ferrall and Gloria, and have risen to the challenge. They have continued the high-quality cattle at Upstream Ranch and have shown successes in marketing their cattle that are second to no one.”
Genetically, Upstream Ranch is trying to produce cattle with balanced-trait selection. They are constantly striving for the proper balance of calving ease, growth, maternal, fertility and carcass traits. They are advocates of using expected progeny differences (EPDs) and ultrasound, but also make sure their cattle excel phenotypically and in temperament. Structural soundness and docility are critical.
In 2006 Upstream ranked third in number of Dams of Distinction, an honor bestowed on outstanding Hereford females.
“Upstream Ranch has a long-standing tradition of breeding quality, reputation Hereford cattle, both in and out of the showring,” says Valerie Simonson, Nebraska Hereford Association secretary/manager.
The family has exhibited four champion carloads at the NWSS, the 1971 NWSS champion Hereford bull, the 1972 reserve champion Hereford bull, and supreme Hereford and champion Hereford bull at the 100th NWSS in 2006, as well as the reserve champion horned Hereford bull.
“They deserve this award because they have been true to the Hereford breed for more than 50 years,” Ronny and Kay say. “They have been successful because they are dedicated cattle people who know how to raise quality Herefords, know how to market them, know how to take care of their customers, know how to utilize technology to improve their Herefords and know how to be good stewards of the land.”