March 6, 2017. Members of the Gardiner family were working cattle on their ranch in southwest Kansas when they started to smell smoke. Little did they know that almost their entire ranch was about to be consumed by the largest wildfire in the history of Kansas.
In the last two weeks, we’ve learned about Mark, Greg and Garth Gardiner who operate Gardiner Angus Ranch. They were at the epicenter of this disastrous fire in 2017.
In February 2017, an ice storm loosened overhead power lines in Oklahoma. When high winds arose in March, the lines banged together, arced and started to melt, causing sparks which set fire to the dry grass below.
How can beef be better? How can producers be compensated for improved quality? Those vexing questions were facing the cattle industry in the 1990s when an innovative group of producers tackled those issues head on. Their work became a success story in building demand by responding to customer needs.
Last week we learned about Mark Gardiner of Gardiner Angus Ranch. He told us about changes in beef marketing through the years.
As mentioned, the 1990s were a challenging time for the beef industry. Beef demand had fallen, compared to other proteins. Industry leaders commissioned a national beef quality audit, and the results were not good. “The audit said that one in four beef eaters was not getting a good steak,” Mark Gardiner said. “We were losing beef demand left and right.” The cattlemen felt they were being taken advantage of in the marketplace by the beef packers and wanted to capture more of the processing value.
From a dugout to data. From cowboying to customer service. From grassland to global food. Those terms describe the progression of a remarkable family ranching enterprise located in rural southwest Kansas. It’s today’s Kansas Profile.
Mark, Greg and Garth Gardiner and their families operate Gardiner Angus Ranch in Clark County, Kansas. They have deep roots and rich heritage in the Kansas cattle business.
In 1885, the Gardiners were among the families who came to southwest Kansas by covered wagon. They lived in a dugout for nine years on their homesteaded 160 acres where their son Ralph was born in 1889. In the 1920s, Ralph put together the Gardiner ranch which was passed on to his son Henry and wife Nan after Henry graduated from Kansas State.
Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University writes Kansas Profile. The weekly posts highlight individuals or companies in rural Kansas who are making a difference to their community and state.
The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is a public / private partnership between Kansas State University and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The mission of the institute is to help rural people help themselves. Learn more at www.huckboydinstitute.org.