ONE OF A KIND CUSTOM CALF SHELTERS
Iron Ranch Mfg. was established in 2012 in Watertown, SD, and has developed a line of products which allow customers to work smarter, not harder. I have engineered my products so a single person can set them up faster, easier, and more safely. This is important because most cattlemen would agree they don’t have time to waste during calving season, especially during the cold winter months. I’ve taken my experience growing up on a cattle farm, my education in welding and manufacturing engineering, and the concern of local cattlemen to design and manufacture products meant for ease of use. I proudly engineer every product I sell. I spent the first 24 years of my life on a grain and livestock operation where I was the youngest of two boys, which meant I did all the odd jobs; opening the gates, filling the water tanks, spreading the straw, checking calves, etc. During calving season, it was my job to crawl in the shelters to check the calves and spread the straw around. As spring came around, this job got worse as I had to crawl on my hands and knees through the mud and manure to make sure the calves were staying healthy. As a kid, I didn’t question this process, because that’s what everyone did; we all had a similar design of shelters. While working on the farm and at a local manufacturing business, I grew a passion for designing and building things that made everyday life easier. I left the farm to attend college in 2004 and as time passed, I watched the chores get increasingly difficult for my dad as he aged. He really is my main inspiration. He talked to me a lot about using my skills and education to find a way to make cattle products more user-friendly. With his help and suggestions, we identified several problems with the shelters on the market at the time: they were hard to get into, hard to bed, often too dark, difficult to move, and didn’t have good ventilation. I went to work designing a shelter to fix these concerns.
In 2015, I started my calf shelter design which includes a walk-thru door, swinging gate, lifting bar, air vents, and sky lights. When I was designing this shelter, there didn’t appear to be another product on the market that had these elements. In early 2017, I started advertising my new design and sold my first production shelter in February 2017. I spent time researching design options, even contacting several veterinarians and a local collegiate animal science department to discuss the difference in front entry vs. end entry for calves. Based on my research, my current design, which is patented, includes:
ENGINEERED PRODUCTS FOR TODAY’S CATTLEMEN
These shelters are being delivered to South Dakota’s neighboring states. To legally transport them, I’ve designed them 8.5’ wide and in 12’, 24’, or 32’ lengths, all which will fit on a gooseneck or semi-trailer. I have also designed custom sized shelters based on the customer’s needs, including one for a goat operation, and another as a chicken coop. My main goal in this business is to provide a quality product that will last for years to come. I value the opinion of my customers, and have even designed new products based on their feedback. I plan to build a legacy of products that fill a need and deliver excellence. For more information, please follow us on Facebook or visit my website at www.ironranchsd.com