The Southern Indiana Angus Association has more than 60 members, but none of them can make a claim that rivals the Thompson family’s history with the black hornless beef cattle.
That’s because the family’s involvement in the breed that originated in Scotland can be traced back 100 years to 1915.
“No one else in the state has been in (the) business that long,” Jim Thompson of Seymour said.
Thompson attributes the family’s willingness to stick with one breed for a century to fortitude and one other thing.
“It is the superior breed of the beef cattle breeds,” he said.
Thompson and his wife, Marsha, and two of their sons, Mark (Kathy) Thompson, who has a farm in Bartholomew County, and Troy (Missy) Thompson, who has a farm in the Vallonia area, are active in the business.
Jim’s farm is in the Reddington area, and the family also owns a farm on the south side of Seymour off Meadowbrook Drive.
That farm played a key role in a recent Southern Indiana Angus Association event.
Each year, the association has a field day, and association members typically tour the farms of a couple of association members to see their herds.
This year, however, the Thompson family decided to open up the farm on Meadowbrook Drive in part because it was the family’s turn to conduct a field day and also to celebrate their century of breeding Angus, Mark Thompson said.
To make the day more special, the Thompsons decided to change up the format of the field day.
“We had everyone bring cattle to us this time for a competitive pen show,” Mark Thompson said. “It’s not like the fair where we have halters on them.”
The 13 exhibitors showed 56 head in 24 pens, and the judging was conducted by Parke and Mark Vehslage of Brownstown.
The exhibitors were Springs Valley Family, Royale Manor, Thompson’s Family Angus, McClannon Stock Farm, GHG, Howell Cattle Co., Carrie Wiley, Carmichael Farms, Blue Spring Hollow, Pear Lane, Jackson’s Angus, Stewart Select Angus and Blue River Angus. The event was attended by 220 people.
Jim Thompson said he modeled the pen show after one he had learned about in Nebraska.
“This is the first one that’s ever been done in Indiana, so we’re opening up new avenues, really,” he said.
The family also set up a display in the barn about the history of their involvement with breeding Angus and the numerous awards won over the years by family members.
The family’s involvement with the breed began in 1915 when Holmes Thompson fed out a carload of Angus steers. Holmes was a farmer and cattleman who lived in Cortland. That was the beginning of the family’s Angus herd.
Holmes was president of the Indiana Angus Association, which has a goal of promoting the breed, from 1922 to 1925.
Jim Thompson’s father, Max Thompson, managed the herd in the 1950s and early 1960s until his death from cancer. Jim Thompson then took over and moved the herd to a farm in the Cortland area.
All three of the Thompsons have been involved with the boards of both the state and district Angus associations. At this time, Mark Thompson is treasurer of the association’s board, and both he and his brothers are state directors representing the district.
There’s another generation of Thompsons that may be following in the footsteps of their fathers.
“I have a son who is interested in it,” Troy Thompson said.
Almost all of the family’s herd is used for breeding purposes rather than as a meat source.
“We’ve built up a reputation for producing quality cattle,” Jim Thompson said. “We have marketed bulls in five states around us.”
In 2014, the Thompson family also was recognized for showing cattle for each of the 75 years the Jackson County Fair has been conducted at the fairgrounds east of Brownstown.
Pen show results
Class 2 (heifers calved between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28): Jackson Angus Farm, Hope
Class 3 (heifers calved between September and October 2014): Royale Manor, Troy Thompson, Vallonia
Class 4 (heifers calved before September 2014): McClarnon Stock Farm, Keith and Judy Brown, Greenfield
Class 5 (cow and calf pair, calves under three months) Thompson Family Angus, Mark and Korey Thompson, Columbus
Class 5A (cow and calf pair, calves four to six months): Andy Howell, Milltown
Class 6 (pen of bulls calved Sept. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014): Pear Lane Angus, Roger Eckstein, Seymour
Class 7 (pen of bulls calved after Jan. 1, 2015): Karly and Glenda Gillette, Cloverdale
Class 7A (pen of bulls calved March 1, 2015, to April 31, 2015): Carrie Wiley, Marysville
Class 8 (older bulls, one per pen): James Thompson, Seymour
Class 10 (pen heifers calved after Jan. 15): Rex Kovert family, Crothersville
Class 13 (pair of bred heifers calved 2014): Royale Manor Angus, Jim Thompson, Seymour, and Troy Thompson, Vallonia