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50 years of Cow-Calf Days

Three generations in one family portrait, with elder couple in front (man wearing cowboy hat), the next generation and their children standing behind
Philip and Ruth Abrahamson (front) with their daughter, Julie, son-in-law Keith Ekstrom, and their children

Philip Abrahamson of Sunnyslope Angus in Lanesboro is 83 years old, but he still wants to know what’s new in research and ideas. “The world is always changing,” he says. “I try to keep up.” 

Livestock production requires reliability and commitment, characteristics which have endured in this family through at least five generations. In 1973, Abrahamson attended the very first University of Minnesota Extension Cow-Calf Days. He spoke at the recent 50th annual event in Oronoco, this time as a guest of honor. 

“Philip and his wife, Ruth, have ties to the U of M going back to the 1960s, working alongside researchers and spreading the word about genetics and performance testing,” says Eric Mousel, Extension livestock educator. “Their family has made their mark on quality Angus beef and continues to do so.” 

Philip and Ruth’s daughter, Julie Abrahamson Ekstrom, and son-in law, Keith Ekstrom, lead day-to-day operations now as they raise the family’s sixth generation. 

Cow-Calf Days in history 

In 1974, the Upper Great Lakes Commission awarded Extension a grant to continue what they started the year before: demonstrating profitable ways of organizing beef enterprises. Working with locals, Extension secured six demonstration farms where producers and researchers could work together to apply recommended practices while maintaining detailed records on costs and results. Tours to the demonstration farms enabled other producers to observe and bring tested ideas and practices back to their own operations.

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