Meet the Smith Family
Smith Bonsmara is the innovation of Mike Smith, a third generation cattle rancher. However, the story of this revolutionary herd of cattle begins in Lee County, Virginia. At 16-years old, George Washington Smith (Mike’s grandfather) mounted a horse and began his journey from the East Coast to G County (now known as Custer County), Oklahoma, where he staked his claim during the third official Oklahoma land rush of 1892. Settling six miles east of Butler, Oklahoma, he built a dugout home that would become the Smith Homestead. His son (Mike’s father), Bob Smith, took over the Smith Homestead in 1965 and grew the claim to 5,000 acres across the Oklahoma prairie.
Mike cannot remember a time when he was growing up that he didn’t own a horse and use that horse to check on cattle. Today he helps his father manage the longstanding Smith Homestead and Bob Smith Farms, making livestock genetics decisions and managing alfalfa harvest. Bob Smith Farms consists of a 300 Cow/Calf operation crossing Bonsmara and Angus genetics. However, Mike’s true passion is his own ranchland and herd of Bonsmara cattle.
Before committing to ranch life as a full time profession, Mike spent his days as a lawyer, practicing in Amarillo, Texas. Mike represented clients like Cactus Feeders, Texas Beef, Texas Cattle Feeders Association and other feedyards and feedyard related companies and individuals. It was through this business that he came to learn of the breed Bonsmara, when his firm represented the individual that first imported the breed into the United States.
In 2002, Mike returned to Oklahoma where he continued to practice law, but cattle breeding was in his blood and he couldn’t get the advantages of this new breed out of his mind. In 2005 he purchased 18 head of half-blood Bonsmara females due to calve full-blood Bonsmara embryos. The first Smith Bonsmara calf crop of 2006, yielded 12 full-blood Bonsmara females and two bulls, worthy of serving as the foundation for a new herd. After more than 10 years of retaining heifers, obtaining embryos and culling females, Smith Bonsmara boasts a herd of 70 exceptionally quality females that serve as the pureblood foundation herd. Not surprisingly, 11 of the original 12 females remain in the herd today with their ninth calf at their side.
In addition to the strict requirements imposed by the Bonsmara Breed, Smith Bonsmara has used DNA markers since 2009 as a tool to predict the genetic potential of each animal raised. Cattle that don’t meet our DNA marker requirements, physical evaluations and performance standards are not marketed as seedstock or kept in the herd.
Now able to devote his time to his true passion in life, the American beef business, Mike works to spread awareness of an innovative breed with the potential to change the way we enjoy our beef. Mike with the aid of his two daughters Shea and Sarah formed Smith Bonsmara LLC, an organization devoted to advancing the awareness, genetics, and Bonsmara breed in the United States. We maintain the registry of our herd, and also arrange sale events for the livestock.
Since 1892, the Smith family has been in Custer County. Now, some 125 years and five generations later, we are still here adapting, innovating and moving the cattle industry forward.