The Three Eras of Branch Ranch
1982 – 1995: The Beginning
The Branch Ranch was born in 1982 when Tommie Rogers purchased a small tract of land in Branch, LA and populated it with six Brangus cows and one Brangus bull purchased from Dr. Wayne LaHaye, then the President of the Louisiana Brangus Breeders Association.
Tommie set out to find a mutually enjoyable activity that would allow him to spend quality time with his daughters. He found just that when his daughters expressed an interest in their school’s 4-H program. For the next 12 years, Tommie and his daughters had great success breeding, raising and showing their Brangus cattle all across the country, with Tommie continually purchasing other genetic lines to enhance the herd base and produce superior show calves.
Although his daughters outgrew the 4-H program, by 1992 Tommie had a well-defined stock of quality Brangus cattle with which to move forward. From 1982-93 he grew his herd to 120-130 head of cattle, transforming the ranch from a family operation into a commercial business.
In 1994, recognizing he needed physical help running the Branch Ranch, Tommie hired ranch manager Lynette Lemaire, a highly respected breeding specialist whom Tommie had utilized as a consultant for years prior. Lynette and her husband, Doris Lemaire, joined the Branch Ranch team and worked together, co-managing the ranch.
In 1996 the Branch Ranch held its first production sale at Blackham Coliseum. The sale was a success, and Tommie decided to expand the cattle operation. But to do that, he needed a larger single tract of land.
1996 – 2009: The Expansion North
Tommie needed enough land to accomplish his goal of expanding the Branch Ranch. He also desired to move the ranch to a location more accommodating to the majority of the cattle industry. He found both in a large piece of property in Mansfield, right off I-49 and just outside Shreveport, LA.
For the next few years, both the Branch and Mansfield locations operated in tandem, but Tommie knew that eventually the larger Mansfield location would need to become the sole location. By the late nineties the entire ranching operation was settled in Mansfield.
Around 2003 Tommie’s other business, Rogers Oil Tools in Lafayette, LA, began to demand the majority of his time and attention, and for the next three years his personal involvement in the ranch was minimal. He left the expansion of the Branch Ranch herd in the capable hands of Doris and Lynette, who along with a small staff continued to pursue Tommie’s vision in his absence. They formulated a herd program based on the principle of natural selection, raising the cattle naturally, and breeding for durability and toughness – the basis of Tommie’s current Rough & Ready program. The idea was to produce a product the commercial cattleman could trust, and that would serve the long-term needs of the industry. The Branch Ranch began turning out lean, strong and hearty range bulls, which ran in opposition to the trend of the time.
In time, the Rough and Ready program gained commercial momentum through private treaty sales. Today the Branch Ranch is a respected and reliable source for quality Brangus product.
Although Lynette continues to work with Tommie as a consultant, in 2010 she and Doris retired to Lafayette. Ronnie Walters joined the Branch Ranch as Ranch Manager shortly thereafter. Ronnie grew up in the cattle industry. He obtained his degree in Agricultural Business from Northwestern State University and spent nine years managing the backgrounding operation for Gottsch Cattle Co. The Branch Ranch’s established reputation of excellence within the industry coupled with Ronnie’s knowledge, experience, and integrity affords the ranch the opportunity to offer a continuously refined Rough & Ready program.
Today, Tommie, Ronnie and the staff continue to perfect and improve the Rough & Ready program, working hard to ensure the integrity of their product and a structurally sound genetic base. Their efforts focus on meeting industry needs by raising Rough & Ready registered Brangus herd sires and range bulls. They are confident that their animals represent the future of the range bull and replacement heifer market.