23 and counting

This weekend we are once again celebrating a sale and operation that has been in the Simmental business for over 20 years. Saturday, the New Direction Sale and the Sloup family will be hosting their 23rd sale at the farm in Staplehurst, Nebraska.

The Sloup name is familiar to many of you watching sale reports and attending to listening to sales. It is without a doubt that Sloup Simmentals is one of the most supportive operations when purchasing cattle. No matter if it is a junior member selling a heifer or a big time operation; from New York to Colorado and everywhere in between Sloup Simmentals’ supports the Simmental breed while assembling some of the top genetics in the breed.

The research began many years ago for the Sloup family as they were deciding what breed to purchase. Being from Nebraska, they looked at Angus and Red Angus before purchasing their first Simmentals in 1982 from Bruce Winther and Mike Loy of Iowa. In 1994, Sloup Simmentals decided they had enough numbers to justify having a sale each year, and the New Direction was born. Today, the Sloup program hosts two live auctions; the New Direction in October and the Spring Turnout in May with partner Hilltop Simmentals. Throughout the year, they host 3 online sales: The Sloup & friends Winter Event, Sloup’s Summer Splash, and St. Nicks Eggstravaganza. The goals of Sloup Simmentals continue to be the same, assemble some of the top cow families, to offer top genetics both percentage and purebred, and for their buyers to have great success with their purchases.

In 2005, Nick purchased SVF NJC Magnetic Ldy M25 from Sunset View Farms, and elevated their program to a whole new level. Magnetic Lady; who is Nick’s third love after his wife and kids, is the cornerstone of their program. She has 151 progeny on report with the American Simmental Association, and they have had great success with daughters, granddaughters, and bull progeny for many years. This year they are offering a flush or IVF cycle on SS Windsong, daughter of Magnetic Ldy.

Though it may seem like after 23 years, one might get in a routine after having a sale at the same time, same place every year, but that’s when one becomes complaisant. It takes a lot of preparation and narrowing down what to offer; which for Nick is hard. He is always thinking of what to do next, what to market next, and unique ways to do that. At the 20th anniversary of the New Direction, we had a surprise lot that was unveiled on Friday afternoon before the sale; she too was a daughter of the matriarch Magnetic Ldy. As soon as the sale is over on Saturday, Nick will begin brainstorming and preparing for the 24th annual New Direction in 2018.

So when you have had nearly 23 sales, how do you pick a moment or sale that sticks out in your mind? Questions like that are always easy for Nick Sloup. The 20th anniversary New Direction Sale was very special. We had a great crowd, great sale, and beautiful weather. 20 hand picked donors and cows led the first 20 lots in the catalog, we sold Red Jewel for $46,000 and even pulled off a surprise live animal lot.

It’s not all hard work and no enjoyment though. Meeting and visiting with customers is what Nick says is the best part of having a sale. Unless you travel to Seward, Nebraska you probably won’t meet Nick Sloup. He is always busy working on the farm, and attending the activities of his 5 children (and soon to be first grandchild). Though Nick doesn’t attend many Simmental functions in person, many of you might have talked to him on the phone. Nick believes greatly in customer service and the best person to sell your cattle and operation is yourself because you know them the best. I’d hate to see his phone bill the month or two leading up to the sale.

Gosh, with 5 sales and purchasing cattle from all over the United States, it must take a small army to keep things running. Good thing the Sloup crew is a small and mighty army lead by matriach of the Sloup family, Shirley. Shirley Sloup is Nick’s mother and cattle partner. Not only does she provide endless love and support, but she is a great heat checker too! Nick’s brothers Scott and Bill are fixtures on the farm daily, and both own cattle. The Sloup men are lead by a great sister Susan. Of course, Nick needs someone to keep him straight and that is where Andrea comes in, and 5 children Shane, Shelbi, Brevin, Natalie, and Haylie to keep him hopping. In December, Nick and Andrea are expecting their first grandchild for Shelbi and her husband Jackson. 

Nick is a positive advocate and cheerleader for the Simmental breed; perhaps the biggest I know. When fads run through the breed, Sloup Simmentals continues on the course to raise cattle that meet their three goals, and market top genetics across the country to a large number of buyers. No one likes or remembers a story they read once and never again; the same goes for buying cattle. Customers who become repeat customers are the story of your operation as they continue to come back year after year, sale after sale. That is what makes a book a classic, and that is how you have a sale for 23 years.



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