Success Story

Adams Land & Cattle

Adams Land & Cattle has become a legacy company for family, employees, community and the cattle industry with a culture that is bigger and stronger than any one leader. 

Take a glimpse inside Adams today compared to when Russ Adams started it in the 1950s. Would he recognize the company today? No. Would he be proud of what he started by laying the building blocks of its values and culture? Absolutely! 

When Russ first started in 1951, he had 100 head of calves, milked cows and farmed. With a sustainability mindset and Russ’ guidance until his passing in 1990, Adams has grown into what it is today: 125,000 head of cattle in three locations in Nebraska (two in Broken Bow and one in Bertrand), 125,000 head in over 85 backgrounding locations across the U.S. and 6,000 acres of farm ground.

Often referred to as the technology company that feeds cattle, Adams has always been a disruptive force, aka a radical change in an existing industry, changing the way an industry looks at something and taking it in a different direction. Since 1951, the company has  used data, technology, innovation and now artificial intelligence, and has changed the dynamics of cattle feeding. This can be seen in partnerships with Climate-Smart Beef, Adams’ data company, Revoro™ and the use of sustainable practices. Examples of these practices include assessing rolled compacted concrete and using anaerobic digesters in a feedlot setting. 

Adams Land & Cattle did not have a long-term vision or strategy to grow from the original 100 head to the 250,000 head it has today. However, the company learned, developed and grew by seizing opportunities presented over the years.Three main causes that have resulted in change, expansion and evolution: growth (opportunity at a point in time), innovation (solve an issue or need) and black swans (outside negative events). 

Following are a few examples of these three main causes.


In 1971, Russ wanted to purchase 1,063 acres south of Broken Bow (at the start of what is now the South Lot) for dryland farming and convert it to irrigation for corn crops. He had a passion for developing farm ground, irrigation and backgrounding. He told his kids he would only purchase it if one of his four sons would help him. Sons Bill and Lawrence were still in college, and Dwayne was flying planes in the Vietnam War. Jerry told him he would help for a couple of years until one of the other brothers could come back.

Adams Land & Cattle was incorporated in 1973 and just celebrated 50 amazing years in the cattle industry. 


Russ was an innovative entrepreneur. He was the first to have a pivot sprinkler system and four-wheel drive tractor in the county. He developed automated feeding for the operation by putting in two belt lines that collected feed ingredients from the Herd King storage bins on a belt conveyor. At that time, he could feed about 1,200 head without starting a tractor.   

These characteristics were passed down to his sons, and they have continued to invent, redesign and incorporate practices to make Adams & Land Cattle a better, safer and more efficient operation. These include the mobile units to doctor cattle pen-side, a fully automated feed mill, a state-of-the-art load-out facility and the unique, proprietary software system, Revoro. This allows them to track each animal individually, from the day it enters the feedlot until the day it is processed, giving Adams a complete life history of that animal (from the time they purchased it) at their fingertips when decisions about that animal’s well-being need to be made.

Black Swans

Probably the first black swan was the price freeze in 1973. Due to rising inflation, President Nixon froze all wages and retail prices. If you wanted to sell cattle, you would call the butcher or packing plant to schedule and would manage profit or loss through that process. So, Jerry went to his dad and convinced him to feed the cattle out. They already lost $150/head, so they couldn’t lose any more. Jerry recalls his dad smiling and saying, “We could lose more, but if that’s what you want to do, they would do it.” 

They didn’t lose $150/head — they lost $300/head, which equates to $1,700/head today. This decision almost broke the Adamses. Therefore, Jerry said he’d stay until he figured out the cattle market — and he’s still there!

Throughout the years, the family has been side by side, building this great company. This includes the personal Adams families and the Adams operational family, which consists of more than 150 employees that make up the operation.

The Adams family, the employees, and their values and culture have shaped Adams Land & Cattle into what it has become today.