Charles W. Herbster

Charles W. Herbster, owner of Herbster Angus Farms, loves rural America. 

Passionate about agriculture, politics and business, Charles goes “all in” when involved with any endeavor. He learned early in life if you do what you love, invest your time and efforts in what you know and work hard, great things will happen. 

Herbster Angus Farms in Falls City, Nebraska, was homesteaded in 1847 by Charles' great-great-grandfather, William McKendry Maddox. Through the Depression and the Dust Bowl, the Maddox family cared for the land. Charles’ grandmother, Leta Meyers Carico, granddaughter of William Maddox, was an integral part of the farm’s operation from the early 1900s and throughout Charles’ life. Charles’ heritage runs deep in Nebraska agriculture. 

Leta Meyers Carico was Charles’ first teacher and mentor. A savvy businesswoman, she taught Charles the basic economics of agriculture and nurtured his entrepreneurial spirit as well as his faith. Growing up on the family dairy, Charles learned the value of a hard day’s work. He watched Grandma Carico invest countless hours managing the Holstein herd and making the farming operation thrive through both lean and good times.  She demonstrated an incredible work ethic and expected the same from Charles. Her guidance developed his character and his focused mindset. Grandma Carico was a master at strategizing how to maximize the dairy herd and farming operation, thinking “out of the box” to market milk, cream and eggs direct to the community. Charles was at her side from the time he could carry his own little bucket, and her knowledge rubbed off on the impressionable youth. As he grew, his responsibilities did, too. Seeing his passion for cattle emerge, when Charles was 11, his grandmother purchased a herd of 65 registered Angus cows. She knew this investment would to teach him responsibility and the basics of owning and managing his own agricultural business.                       

Carrying on his family tradition, Charles recognizes the need to pass on knowledge and the love of agriculture to future generations.  He has invested in the youth of the cattle industry by donating to the American Angus Foundation. In January 2017, for the fifth year in a row, Herbster Angus farms purchased the Angus Foundation Female at the National Western Stock Show. “Investing in our future leaders is a great way to give back to the agricultural community,” said Charles. “The Angus Foundation is an awesome organization that provides scholarships to kids who will impact the cattle industry in a positive way. I love helping our youth succeed.” 

Furthermore, Charles, like his grandmother before him, is helping raise an Angus protégé in Miranda Raithel, daughter of Ed and Mandy Raithel, who manage Herbster Angus Farms. Like Charles, she was “born and raised” at Herbster Angus Farms, learning hard work, dedication and the building blocks necessary to run a successful cattle enterprise. “It’s refreshing to see such a knowledgeable and dedicated young person like Miranda. She promotes our program by showing our junior cattle. I am proud of her accomplishments, and I am happy to give her the opportunity to shine both in the show ring and in the industry.”

Charles’ initial dream for Herbster Angus Farms was to own 100 of the very best Angus cows in the breed. Achieving this goal would take time and require a great blueprint. He knew exactly what he wanted to achieve, but needed the expertise of someone who shared the same passion with the ability to twist together the best genetics in the industry. Ed Raithel was and still is that man. Charles and Ed have invested their lives in Herbster Angus Farms. They create a dynamic synergy, and they are willing to make bold decisions to continue to move forward with their program.                          

Together, Charles and Ed are the heart of the operation and the masterminds behind every decision, whether it is purchasing the next great Angus bull or making mating choices on the top donors. They believe it is their responsibility to purchase and breed the right genetics, while enabling the Herbster Angus Farms customer base to reach new heights. “It’s apparent we don’t do average,” said Charles. “Countless registered and commercial breeders alike report that our genetics produce superior results. Nothing speaks more loudly or boldly than satisfied customers.”                            

The Herbster Angus customer base also sings the praises of the program. “In January 2017, 24 SAV Seedstock calves were born at McKellar Angus. They were problem-free, vigorous and calved very easily. The Seedstock calves exhibit very correct structure and strong breed character,” shared customer Joseph McKellar, Mt. Pleasant, Texas.                        

After building the basic structure and ideology behind Herbster Angus Farms, Charles began to invest in superior stud-quality bulls. To connect with his clientele and provide the pinnacle of customer service, he chose to market his semen in a breeder-to-breeder fashion. This technique brings another dimension to semen sales. Unlike large semen distributors, Herbster Angus Farms’ customers are asked about the goals of their program. Because Herbster Angus Farms utilizes their bulls in a real-world setting, they can make educated recommendations to breeders on which bull best fits their objectives.

Semen quality and conception rates are discussed, and the clientele are reminded that Herbster Angus Farms’ semen is packaged at 40 million cells per straw and sells for $40. Charles Boyd II, Mays Lick, Ky., said, “We use semen that has been put up at many studs. Without question, the Herbster Angus Farms’ semen, collected at North American Breeders, is the highest-quality semen we have ever used.”                         

Charles states, “Our focus has always been to help fellow cattlemen build better animals and contribute to their overall success. At Herbster Angus Farms, we honestly represent the genetics we market for the future of the Angus breed. Ultimately, we are investing in your success and providing breeders a program; not just selling a few straws of semen.”                         

Charles looks back today and is grateful for the life lessons his grandmother passed on to him, helping him succeed in business as well as the cattle industry. She instilled in him great business sense and demonstrated it to him every day. She had no idea the role that Charles would play in U.S. agriculture: owning Herbster Angus Farms, North American Breeders, the Conklin Company Inc. and serving as the Chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee for President Donald J. Trump. Charles continues to work with the Trump Administration in the Ag Chairman position and, as a farmer and businessman involved in agriculture, he is committed to do his part. Charles said, “When President Trump asked me to serve as the National Chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee, I was honored. I have had the opportunity to work with committee members to represent and serve agricultural communities from coast to coast. Many of these committee members have been elected to solve issues that impact rural America every day. I am proud to stand with these men and women working to ensure that the voice of agriculture will be heard and its interests served.”

Charles stated that the following issues are important for rural America:

* Treating agricultural issues as vitally important to national security and the U.S. economy. Too often, bad policies and needless government mandates harm farmers and make food and farm products costly to produce and more expensive for consumers who purchase those farm products.

* Rolling back devastating regulations such as WOTUS (Waters of the United States).

* Working tirelessly to gain American energy independence.  This means striving to bring all forms of energy into the market where consumers can drive energy decisions.

* Passing tax reform that will significantly benefit farmers and ranchers, especially eliminating the “death tax” that devastates the legacy of the family farm.

* Actively participating in writing the next Farm Bill and encouraging Congress to deliver it on time.

* Implementing and enforcing an immigration policy that will improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

Hard work, dedication and stewardship has been Charles’ focus his whole life.  His involvement in the youth of our industry and the current policies in Washington provides a stronghold for agricultural families far into the future.  “James H. Douglas, Jr. once said, ‘Our deep respect for the land and its harvest is the legacy of generations of farmers who put food on our tables, preserved our landscape and inspired us with a powerful work ethic.’ I think this is a powerful statement, and it’s how I would like to leave my legacy,” said Charles.  Throughout his life, Charles has been a champion for the rural lifestyle, its people and its conservative ideologies.