Passion. Quality. Commitment. These are just three traits that come to mind when one mentions Garrett Lampe’s name. Lampe, a fourth generation Angus producer from Western Kansas, has a passion for the cattle, land and the people that surround him. He’s dedicated to raising high-quality cattle, something he takes seriously as the General Manager of Top Line Farm. And he’s committed to providing the best customer service possible to the customers who have sought out and purchased Top Line genetics for more than a decade.
Lampe came to Top Line Farm near Tremont, Ill., 11 years ago. He’s worked with owners Libby Mathers and her son, Tom, to establish and work toward the goals of becoming a source of elite Angus genetics. Ten annual production sales and numerous online sales later, Top Line Farm has made a name for themselves as such a source. The goal at Top Line Farm is to sell 100 high-quality females each year, not always an easy feat when your herd is on the “smaller” side and numbers around 250 cows; however, with management that includes a top-quality mineral program, getting cows bred and keeping them bred has become less of a challenge.
“We are driven 100-percent by raising quality females in a relatively small setting, and we need products to help increase our conception rates, so we can continue to compete with bigger operations and crank out as many high-quality females and productive type cattle as we can. I don’t think without VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® we’d be as successful as we are,” Lampe said. “We strive to have high-quality animals, not just to bring in a lot of money or to win banners and win shows. We are trying to raise cows at the end of the day. That’s a really good way to measure the success of our program.”
For A.I. and naturally bred cows, Lampe concentrates on a 45-day calving window, typically from February 1 – March 15. He said the biggest advantage he has seen to his VitaFerm mineral program is the ability of the females to heal reproductively.
“The biggest thing is the reproductive tract is healing so much faster due to our mineral program. It’s the seventh of March, and I have cows that calved the first week of February and there were two cows in heat yesterday. Obviously, it’s too early to breed them, but they’re back and they’re cycling and basically all they are on is hay and the Concept•Aid Protein Tubs,” Lampe said.
Since one of the target markets that Top Line places emphasis on is junior show heifer exhibitors, they have a strong embryo transfer program and implant eggs and calve all E.T. calves right on the farm, further propagating some of their elite genetics. A majority of their embryo calves are born in March and April; however, to hit specific show ages and sale dates, Lampe said they will calve a handful of E.T. calves every month.
“Concept•Aid has been huge for our embryo program. I hate wasting embryos so the more cows we can get to take an embryo the first time, that plays a huge role in the bottom line if we don’t have to burn embryos,” Lampe said.
VitaFerm Concept•Aid is a vitamin and mineral supplement specifically designed for reproductive success when fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. It is especially beneficial in A.I. and E.T. breeding programs. It contains Amaferm®, is a prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying the nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to increase intake, digestion and absorption.
With a fall production sale, at least two online sales each year and consignments to association sales like the Illinois Angus Futurity, and a goal to market 100 females annually, making sure every female is bred is important. But with the help of a high-quality program like Concept•Aid, not only are those goals met, they are exceeded.
“I like the way the cows look. They stay in flesh; they look productive. They are not fat, they are not lean. The black cows stay black. We don’t get that brown tinge that you’ll see a lot at certain times of year. So overall, they are healthy. I attribute a lot of the way the cows look and their health to the mineral program the cows are on,” Lampe said.
Once Top Line sells those females, they say customer service is what sets them apart from others in the business. Located in an area known for superior Angus genetics, Lampe said he works effortlessly to make sure their customers have everything they need, whether it is help with fitting a heifer at a show or advice on mating decisions. Lampe spends a lot of his time traveling to the customers’ farms and ranches to make sure the females are performing to meet their expectations. In a competitive market, customer service is what differentiates Top Line Farm from the rest.
“Marketing is something a lot of people struggle with, especially those of us in the show cattle business; it’s a highly competitive market. And when you look at Central Illinois, especially in the Angus breed, it’s a hot bed for extremely nationally competitive cattle, so trying to maintain your edge over your so-called competitors is a challenge,” Lampe said.
Passion. Quality – a high-quality mineral program. Commitment – a commitment to raising high-quality females that will perform in the show ring and in the pasture. Those are the traits that give Lampe and Top Line Farm a competitive edge to their customer service and sets them apart from the rest.