Arlen Sawyer of Bassett has been awarded the Nebraska Angus Association "Angus Producer of the Year."
The award, presented at the NAA's annual banquet held in Kearney last month, is given annually to the association member who has contributed the most to the advancement of the Angus breed within the state and their community and to recognize that member for their efforts and work expended in the interest of the Angus breed.
Arlen and his wife, Becky, own and operate A & B Cattle south of Bassett. Arlen joins a list of six other Nebraska Angus Association members who have been recognized previously for this award.
The Angus roots run deep in the Sawyer family. Arlen's grandfather, Howard Washington Sawyer, purchased his first Angus cattle in 1917 and began raising registered Angus cattle in 1920. Arlen's father, Richard James Sawyer, carried on the tradition of farming on the family homestead at Howard, S.D. and raising Angus cattle until his death in 1990.
Sawyer's Angus herd was recognized as a Centennial Herd in 1980. In 1987, the Sawyer family celebrated the farm's centennial.
Arlen is a graduate of South Dakota State University and during his college years he was active in Block and Bridle Club, Rodeo Club, and the Livestock Judging Team.
After college graduation, Arlen married Becky, who had grown up on an Angus farm near Cresco, Iowa. In December 1976, they decided to move to Bassett, where he accepted the position of manager of the 700-head registered cow herd at K Plus Angus Ranch.
In 1982, Arlen and Becky purchased a small ranch in Rock County. In 1984, the Sawyers became associated with Premier Angus and Silver Plume Angus as they initiated the Profitmaker Bull program. A Premier cow herd was maintained by the Sawyers until the fall of 1990.
From 1984 to 1990, Arlen and Becky purchased more ranch land in Rock County and expanded their own cow herd. In the fall of 1990, they established "A&B Cattle" and have conducted 22 annual bull sales since then.
A&B Cattle was recognized as a Historic Angus herd in 1995.
Arlen and Becky have two children, Jessica and Adam, who proudly make up the fourth generation of Sawyers in the Angus business.
A&B Cattle currently consists of 600 Angus registered and commercial cows. Over the years the Sawyers have taken advantage of many of the programs and services sponsored by the American Angus Association, including Angus Source tags, and the CAB Value Discovery program.
Their cow herd has been involved in DNA research testing conducted by the National Beef Cattle Consortium and the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center for the past four years that includes research on identifying gene panels for growth and reproductive traits.
Arlen is a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen's Association, and the Sandhills Cattlemen's Association. He is a past president of the Nebraska Angus Association and the Area II Region of the Nebraska Cattlemen. He has served on the Nebraska Cattlemen's Classic board of directors.
He currently serves as chairman of the board for Certified Angus Beef.