In 1928 at the age of 20, Emil K. Hoffman purchased his first six registered Hereford heifers of Fairfax breeding. Since Emil was one of the youngest of five brothers and five sisters, prospects of taking over the homesteaded farm were slim. For a while he worked with his brother and in 1931 he purchased what was known as the Frost Ranch. There was no house and little for out buildings. The landscape was open prairie with no trees. When considering his purchase of the ranch, one of the main concerns of the day was a good source of water for livestock. The ranch had natural flowing springs and a very strong shallow well. The ranch wintered many outside cattle during the dry 1930’s.
FIRST SALES ~ Emil sold his first Hereford bull calves at a community auction sale in Long Lake, S.D., in 1933. One bull sold for $18 and the other for $12. The $12 bull was a partnership deal between Fred and Bill Fischer — they each paid $6.
SPRING HEREFORD FARM ~ Since most of Emil’s brothers and nephews had their own farms, sold Hereford bulls, and used the Hoffman name in their farm, Emil chose to use the name Spring Hereford Farm. Spring referring to the township name and the natural springs in the area. The SH prefix was used for registrations for many years. The hot iron brand SH was incorporated at this time and is still used today.
The Spring Hereford Farm name was gradually phased out and the Emil K. Hoffman and Son name was used as Emil’s son, Gerald, become more actively involved in the management. The SH prefix was changed to HH in the 1980’s.
EARLY HERD SIRES ~ Some of the main herd sires used from the 1950’s through the 1970’s were Beau Modest 10, Lodge Advance , Pioneer 22nd, and SH Beau Modest 45. Cattle were sold privately and at special consignment at sales like the “Key” sale in Pierre, the “Big One” at Miller, and the Watertown Winter Farm sale in Watertown. The first annual production sale was held at the ranch in 1959.
ADDING POLLED OPTION ~ The herd has basically been closed, with few exceptions, since the very first purchase made by Emil K. Hoffman in 1928. From the 1960’s, Gerald Hoffman and son, Colin, had taken on day to day activities. In May 2001, a Polled Hereford herd was purchased from Ray L. Johnson of Lake Bronson, Minn., to offer our customers both horned and polled genetics. Today, Colin Hoffman continues the operation.