- You could say the Thistledew Land & Cattle Company is in the Jeffrey family’s blood. It all started more than 40 years ago when Chris’ dad, Dr. Graham Jeffrey started with two purebred Angus cows. He’s been a powerful mentor to Chris and brought his experience as the Director of Animal Health for Premier Beef Cattle corporation with him. That company owned and managed roughly 85,000 cattle in Michigan and several western states. As a youngster tagging along with his dad, Chris got a hands-on lesson in the beef business. Thankfully, his father and fellow ranchers were more than willing to mentor a kid who was willing to learn.
- As the Thistledew herd grew, so did Chris’s experience with pushing the genetic and environmental envelope. Chris studied pedigrees relentlessly and his knowledge landed him in consulting jobs for several major purebred herds. At one point, he managed the breeding decisions on more than 1,000 head of mother cows in Michigan, Montana, and Texas. His work took him to nearly all 50 states to observe, purchase, and manage the best cattle available in our nation’s varying environments – from lands with 36″ of annual rainfall to places where less than 9″ fell. He oversaw places with irrigated pasture and spaces with a dry land range.
- It’s that hands-on knowledge of breeding and herd management that is at the heart of the Thistledew breeding program. Chris knows that being profitable in the current beef industry requires innovation and attention to detail. That’s why he and his wife Melinda spent countless hours aggressively developing their own herd. In 2010, the couple came up with a long-term breeding program designed to significantly benefit others.
- Today their ranch isn’t just about developing comprehensive, common-sense genetics that take the guesswork out of breeding decisions, it’s about getting down to the basics by watching Montana’s rich grasslands prosper and running a profitable cattle operation. That’s something that will benefit not only their family, but their customers for generations to come.