Kicking Up Their Heels for National Beef Month

Ron and Trudy McGrain

It’s not only planting season for Latham® seed customers Ron and Trudy McGrain.  It’s also calving season for this Mapleton, Iowa, couple.  Their first calf of the 2011 season was born March 24, and they’ll have 95 cow-calf pairs on pasture this summer.

The McGrain’s raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa on their scenic farmstead nestled in the Loess Hills.  During my recent visit, there were 57 black Angus-Limousin calves dotting the hillside like wildflowers in the prairie.

Calf at the McGrain’s Farm

“It’s so much fun to watch those calves kick up their heels and run around the pasture,” says Trudy with a smile on her face.  “Ron keeps an eye on all of them.  He pays close attention to the cows that are ready to calve and makes sure the newborn calves nurse as soon as possible.”

As any good cattleman can tell you, it’s important to make sure newborn calves nurse as soon as possible.  It’s also important for calves to be born in a relatively clean environment.  Although the wet, cold weather conditions haven’t been ideal for calving this spring, the McGrains cattle herd is doing well.  They have a 100% calving rate, and overall their herd health is very good.

Helping maintain good herd health is extremely important to Trudy, who is a registered nurse a former home healthcare provider.  She grew up on a farm in nearby Oto and has been even more actively engaged in farming since she married Ron in 1979.  She helps Ron catch the newborn calves, give them vaccinations and tag them.  The two of them also take turns going out to the cattle yard to check on the herd during the calving season.  During the summer months, she helps haul bales of hay – that is, when their daughters aren’t home because they love to help haul bales.

The McGrains are the proud parents of four grown daughters:  Nicole, age 29, is married to Sean; Angie, age 28, is married to Greg, who’s serving in Afghanistan; Jennifer, age 26, who is married to Ben; and Kristina, 24.  They’re also the proud of their three-year-old granddaughter, Chloe.

“Our girls love to come home,” says Trudy.  “They experience a freedom here they don’t have in the cities where they live.  They even think the food tastes better here!”

When their daughters comes home, they’re sure to request beef for dinner.  Grilled steaks are the favorite, but hamburgers run a close second.  And with Trudy’s recipe for “Scrumptious Hamburgers,” I can see why!  I’m looking forward to giving that one a try.  Trudy also shared a recipe Prime Rib Roast in a crock pot; I’ve already tried that one and would count it among my favorite recipes, too.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy beef?  We’ll be celebrating May Beef Month for the next four Fridays, you’re invited to share recipes for your family’s favorite beef entrees.

Prime Rib Roast


  • 3- to 4-lb. roast (I use sirloin tip)
  • 1, 14.5-oz. can beef broth
  • 1 package of Good Seasons® Italian Seasoning
  • 1 package of Au Jus mix


  1. Put small amount of water in crock pot and then set roast in the pot.
  2. Place sliced onion over the roast. Combine the broth with the Italian seasoning and Au Jus.
  3. Then pour this mixture over the roast.
  4. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Scrumptious Hamburgers



  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • ½ c. diced onion
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. shredded cheese
  • ¼ c. ketchup
  • 1 slice bread, broken into pieces



  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Form into patties, and then grill or fry in pan.

COOK’S NOTE:  You can place uncooked patties in freezer and use as needed.  It freezes well!



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