Meet Brady Zuck
Wisconsin may be the land of dairy cattle and cheese heads, but for cattleman Brady Zuck it’s the home his family has raised cattle on since the early 1900s. Although Brady’s family might’ve started with dairy cows, they are now a family-run commercial cow-calf operation.
“I think it says something that over the years we have adapted and changed our operation, and we are still here. We have been here for a lot of years and we want to continue that for years to come,” Brady reflected on what it means to him to be the fifth-generation on the land.
Like many young producers, Brady and his wife, Megan, work full-time jobs off the operation but they also assist Brady’s father, a full-time farmer and rancher, to manage their 200-plus cow herd. But Brady’s involvement in the cattle industry goes beyond the ranch fences of Zuck Cattle Co. Currently, he serves as the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association president, a role that takes Brady across the state and connects him with many new and familiar faces of Wisconsin cattle producers.
“The part I really enjoy about being WCA president is the spring meetings with affiliates and local cattle groups when I get out to be amongst those groups and can share the message of what we do at the state level. Most folks are busy with their farm and family, so it’s hard for them to see the impact of what we are doing at the Capitol,” Brady said.
Brady recognizes the value of cattlemen and women contributing and engaging with their local and state associations, especially ones like WCA who rely on volunteers to do the impactful work of a state affiliate and speak with state legislators. One of the state’s long-time fundraisers, in fact its main fundraiser, is a steak trailer and it is one of the activities he enjoys the most with WCA.
Participating in NCBA’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference, Brady also saw the value of a national presence in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve never liked a back-seat mentality of taking what comes,” Brady explained. “To me, I can be a member of NCBA and it’s my contribution — the way I can help — to make sure we have a friendly business climate and rules are fair for cattle producers.”
Zuck Cattle Co. tries to do one new thing each year. Years ago, they began synchronizing their cows for AI to be efficient and timely with their calving season. Tightening up their calving season helps Brady as he balances his off-farm job with Diamond V Mills and assisting his father as calves are dropping.
“We try to shoot for a 42-day calving window for the cows,” Brady added. “And we try to calve the heifers out 21 days early to give us time to focus on them.”
In addition, they have been using nose flaps to wean for five years now and have seen tremendous improvement in smoothing the weaning process. The Zucks precondition all their calves to reduce stress and improve the growth potential of those calves and will continue to background them throughout the winter.
“We can grow some really good forages in our area which helps us have a high-quality feed source for backgrounding,” he said. “Basically, everything we grow is fed.”
In fact, Brady is looking to expand Zuck Cattle Co.’s backgrounding business in the future by taking in more calves from nearby producers. As they move forward, it is crucial to them to continue leaving the land better than when they got it. In everything, they aim to do more with less. Zuck Cattle Co. incorporates rotational grazing with their herd, and they challenge themselves to be able to run more cows on the same amount of acreage while keeping the integrity of the ecosystem.
Raising cattle alongside his wife, parents and siblings brings many rewards and joys. For Brady, one of the most rewarding parts of this lifestyle is seeing the calf crop grow every year and being reminded that their work and dedication results in a healthy animal that will one day feed a family like his own.