Ryan Lancaster grew up on his parents Jersey farm, Family Hill Farm in Ferndale, Washington. Freynie Lancaster grew up on her grandparents Guernsey farm in Tillamook, Oregon. Both Ryan and Freynie were involved with showing cattle from an early age. They were both members of their collegiate judging teams. Ryan graduated from Ohio State University in Dairy Science, while Freynie graduated from Oregon State University in Agricultural Business Management. Ryan outlines the logistics of their dairy operation. “We purchased our farm in Tillamook, Oregon in October, 2010. We farm 45 acres, milk 50 cows and have about 50 young stock. Our goal is show excellence, longevity and high components. We do most all the work ourselves, with one part time guy and help from Freynie’s dad.” Their family is growing right along with their dairy operation. Ryan and Freynie have 3 children, son Logan (7) and daughters Tatum (5) and Harper (1).
Living up to a regal prefix can be a challenge in itself but Freynie quotes Ryan’s breeding philosophy. “Big timers that last” And then she points out exactly what is his goal each time. “He swings for the fence with every mating! Pretty much he tries to make the next great one with every mating, while also concentrating on components and milk production. We love show cows that also milk well and have high components. It’s very important to build strong families, like our “F” family.”
Indeed the royal lineup at Royalty Ridge is the “F” family and the crown jewel of them all is Pleasant Nook F Prize Circus EX 97. “She is the greatest cow that Ryan has ever bred and owned. Circus was 2x National Champion in 2003 & 2006.” She is indeed a worthy queen to found Ryan and Freynie’s Royalty Ridge family.
Of course, it is gratifying to have this breeding and show ring success. “We have more AI interest in our operation all the time.” Freynie and Ryan report and add. “Semex just released Royalty Ridge Firepower. Firepower is a Tequila son out of Family Hill Comerica Firefly EX 93. Granddam is Family Hill Avery Fire EX 95.”
The Lancasters take specific care in choosing the bulls they use. “We are using Steinhauers Iatola Applejack and Hawarden Impuls Premier for our milk, component and udder bull. For our type bulls we are continuing to use are Tower Vue Prime Tequila and Bridon Remake Comerica. We use Tequila for size and stature. Comerica makes the most well balanced cows for us. Ryan’s program is based on having a purpose for each bull.”
Although their Royalty Ridge operation is young, the Lancasters have worked with quite a regal lineup which includes:
Royalty Ridge believes in marketing every day. “Royalty Ridge has a Facebook page that helps connect us with potential clients all over the world and recently we started using Twitter. Both can be found under Royalty Ridge. We have flyers made by Karen Bohnert that we take with us to the shows that showcase our cows for that particular year.”
A good foundation is what great breeding families and cow families are built on. Ryan and Freynie appreciate the growing demand for the Jersey cow and, as well, both Lancasters appreciate their own roots and mentors. “Our parents taught us the value of hard work, dedication and responsibility. After college, Ryan had the opportunity to farm with Pleasant Nook Jerseys in Ontario, Canada. Bill Fletcher taught Ryan the history of cow families, Jersey bloodlines and taking care of show cattle. Working with the Fletcher family was an invaluable experience for Ryan.”
Royalty Ridge has majestic experiences to support their regal prefix. At the top of that list has to be breeding and owning National Grand Champion Cow Pleasant Nook F Prize Circus EX 97. And that wasn’t a one crowning says Freynie. “We also owned World Dairy Expo Grand Champion Gloamin Ren Libby EX 96. No less than 7 All Americans were homebred by Ryan who has bred eleven EX 95 cows and 1 EX 97 point cow.” The stately history of Royalty Ridge Breeder of the only trio of sisters that are all scored EX 95. Also, breeder of the first cow in breed history to be third generation EX 95 with Family Hill Connection Faith EX 95.
Continually improving your breeding herd and show records is hard work even when you’re name is Royalty Ridge. Ryan and Freynie have a key piece of advice for breeding success. “Buy into great cow families versus buying into a great cow to breed from and start your herd. Great cow families are the foundation of Royalty Ridge.” For example, Royalty Ridge currently has had high success with flushing using sexed semen. Despite some people thinking that flushing is near impossible using sexed semen, they report considerable success. “ We have 55 embryos all made with sexed semen out of cows from the “F” family, Circus’ Vindication daughter and the dam to 2nd place Jr. At WDE 2013 Family Hill Tequila Ruby EX 91 (max). We just started working with AMS Genetics to start marketing these.”
Never losing focus on great cow families as their base, the Lancasters look to the future. “We plan to continue to breed and develop more show cattle. As well, we will increase genomic testing in order to market more bulls to studs. We have marketed embryos internationally for the last 5 years and will continue to market domestically and internationally.”
We wish Ryan and Freynie Lancaster well and congratulate and encourage them on their dedication and commitment to Royalty Ridge. “Reign on!”
Bullvine writer, Karen Hunt, is a dairy-farm wife who is an author, entrepreneur and champion of all things rural and family farm. Karen loves the wordy side of life. Husband, three children, eight grandchildren, thirty cows and Jack Russell terriers are her inspiration!