May's Ranch

When it comes to farming genes, Dan May is about as born and bred as you can get.

May grew up on a farm in southwest Wisconsin that had been in his family for 125 years. 

“I’ve been doing this all my life,” he said. “Born and raised doing it. It’s just in my pedigree. It runs deep in my veins.”

May followed his father’s footsteps and worked in show cattle for years.

“My dad raised and bred and exhibited champion steers in Chicago,” he said.

The show cattle life took May all over the country, and he eventually landed in Oklahoma.

“I got on the road and started working show cattle,” he said. “I was young, traveling show to show and sale to sale. Footloose and fancy-free and working hard. In the early 1980s, a guy near Shawnee wanted me to get into the show cattle business there. I was ready to try something different, so I moved to Shawnee. I was there for two years and decided I really liked Oklahoma.”

May eventually came to Stillwater and began growing his own herd and traveling around to cattle shows on the side. Eventually, he committed full-time to developing a well-bred herd. 

“The thing about the cow business is you can’t be gone all the time,” he said. 

Thanks to May’s experience in show cattle, he has plenty of knowledge on the best ways to breed and feed for optimal outcomes, and his passion for his cattle is evident in his day-to-day work and the finished product.

“We hand-feed the cattle every morning. It’s a mixture of all-natural ingredients that help carcass quality. It’s time-tested and you couldn’t pry it out of me for love or money,” he laughed. “We don’t spare a dime on breeding programs. We manage the feed and herd health very well.”

The cattle have access to the grain mixture, hay and plenty of pasture all day, and May buys his feed from local farmers. 

For years, May sold half-or-quarter-beefs to local customers, and processed his cattle through the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center on the Oklahoma State University Campus. 

One day in Summer 2016, one of the employees at FAPC asked May if he was sending any cattle to 1907 Meat Co. May began feeding out some cattle for 1907 Meat Co. and the first steer was in the meat case in October. May continues to supply quality beef to 1907 Meat Co. 

“I’m a firm believer that the good Lord puts you on different paths of life for certain reasons,” May said. “This partnership with 1907 is a timely deal. I think it’s a path-crossing connection that just feels to me like ‘the right fit.’”

Chris Peters