The year was 1928. Dutch immigrants Jake and Lutske Zilverberg needed a bigger place than their small farm at Wessington Springs for their five children. Jake bought a run-down ranch thirteen miles north of Holabird. In those days fences were few and far between. Cattle and horses both roamed at will. Sometimes Lutske would flap her apron to scare away bands of horses who ran through her yard. John Zilverberg, the second son, was fifteen at this time.

Most people around Holabird had Shorthorns, and the Zilverbergs sold Red Poll bulls. Later they crossed a Hereford bull on the Red Poll cows. In 1940 John purchased three registered Hereford heifers. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, John enlisted in the Marines and served in the Pacific. With the Japanese defeated, John married Dorothy Boehmer in 1945 and resumed ranching.

John held his first Bar JZ Polled Hereford production sale in 1950 at the Livestock Sales Pavilion in Miller, SD and beginning in 1953 in his own sale barn on the south ranch where Seth and Bridget now reside. In 1970 we purchased number 97 of 100 founding memberships of the North American Limousin Foundation. The American Polled Hereford Association inducted John into its Hall of Fame in 1994. While we have always emphasized genetic dehorning, DNA testing now allows us to select homozygous polled herd sires and offer homozygous polled bulls to our customers. We also DNA test for genomically enhanced EPDs and Limousin coat color. We AI nearly all of our cows and all heifers, and lately we have retained more replacements to keep up with the brisk demand for bulls. February 20, 2024 will be the 75rd Annual Production Sale of Polled Hereford, Limousin, and Lim-Flex bulls.

John Zilverberg was inducted into the National Polled Hereford Hall of Fame in 1994.

Don and Peg with Seth and Bridget provide all of the labor which keeps the ranch operating. Don focuses on feeding, Peg manages registrations and catalog, Seth chooses genetics, and Bridget manages the website in between caring for 5th generation ranchers Solanus and Avila. Cody, Wesley, Lydia, and Caroline live in Pierre and periodically help on the ranch. Fr. Kevin keeps us in prayer and helps with technology. Visitors are always welcome to view the cattle, and the coffee pot is always on.

Genetic Dehorning at Bar JZ

   John became accustomed to the benefits of genetic dehorning while raising Red Poll cattle with his father, Jake, in the early 1900’s.  When he started the Hereford herd, he immediately began breeding toward “100% dehorner” cattle as they were called at the time.  When Igenity made available the first homozygous polled test, we began DNA testing for polled genes and petitioned the American Hereford Association to recognize the test on online pedigree pages so that cattlemen searching for homozygous polled cattle could find them.  In time this wish became reality; anyone can now search the AHA database for homozygous polled Herefords.  We test all sale bulls for the homozygous polled trait and genomically-enhance their EPDs.  To the best of our knowledge, we offer the most homozygous polled tested Hereford bulls in America.