Rooney Rides for the Brand Over Memorial Day

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Family photo from left to right: Jake; his sister, Brooke; his mom, Karen; and his dad, Steve.

More rainfall isn’t what most Upper Midwest farmers wanted this month, but the delay in spring planting allowed Jake Rooney Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, to attend commencement exercises May 11 at North Dakota State University. The new grad majored in Agricultural Economics and will plant his first crop this spring as a full-time employee of Rooney Farms.

“One reason I decided to major in Ag Economics is because my dad felt one of his shortfalls is commodity marketing. I took a few marketing classes and a couple of commodity trading classes,” says Jake, who also worked for a farmer in Moorehead, Minnesota, while he was in college. “Having an economics background will help me manage expenses and keep the balance sheet square. One goal we have this year is to cut expenses by five percent, increase yield by 5 five percent and increase our marketing for a net return with an increase of 10 percent.”

Once the 2019 crop gets in the ground, Jake is looking forward to studying the last three years of Profit and Loss Statements (P&Ls). He wants to compare what happened year to year and identify areas where improvements can be made.

IMG 0011“I’m really excited to be part of the day-to-day decision making. I’m looking forward to being involved with this crop from planning and planting to harvest,” says Jake. “I moved home at the end of the fall semester and took my final three classes online this spring, so I get to be apart of this operation every day. I helped choose this seed and can’t wait to see how much corn goes in the tank this fall.”

Rooney Farms produces corn and non-GMO food-grade soybeans, rye and alfalfa in Wisconsin. Its sister company, Rooney Angus Ranch, is working to become the premiere Black Angus seedstock provider for the commercial cattle market.

“Our vision is to produce the ideal bull for the commercial cattleman. To achieve this, we’re selecting our seedstock based on marbling and calving ease. We recently hired a new ranch manager and an embryonic technician, who will manage the donor herd,” says Jake, who nearly earned a minor in animal science.

5.24.19 Blog PIcCattle have been a passion of Jake’s dad, Steve, since he grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. Steve has always been interested in livestock, and in 2014, the opportunity arose. While skiing in Colorado, Steve purchased a ranch with 400 head of Angus cattle. He has since purchased a Texas ranch, where plans are underway to host its first bull sale in March 2020. Each Memorial Day weekend Jake, plus about 50 friends, family members and hired hands, gather at Rooney’s Colorado ranch for their annual cattle branding weekend. They work cattle on horseback, and when the work is done, they’ll enjoy homegrown beef. Jake’s favorite cut is a thick sirloin, with a little Lawry’s salt and pepper, grilled to medium rare.

In honor of May Beef Month, we’re linking to recipes for Beef Chili Colorado and Texas-Style Barbecue. We’re also providing you a recipe for Grilled T-Bone Steaks with BBQ Rub, courtesy of the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Grilled T-Bone Steaks with BBQ Rub


  • 2 beef T-Bone or Porterhouse Steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper


  1. Combine BBQ Rub ingredients; press evenly onto beef T-Bone Steaks.
  2. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 16 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 15 to 19 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Remove bones and carve steaks into slices, if desired. Season with salt, as desired.

Recipe and photo credit the Iowa Beef Council.