After Notre Dame and a subsequent three-year tour in the Marines, Bill Foxley’s Foxley Cattle Company built a 15,000 head feedlot south of Omaha in 1962, with mill equipment developed on the west coast.
Much of what Bill learned about the business was self-taught and acquired through hands-on experience. During his storied career, Mr. Foxley has bought and sold ranch land, marketed hundreds of thousands of heads of cattle, developed new feeding techniques and led positive change to both his business and the industry at large.
Consulting nutritionist Jim Elam said the Foxley Cattle Company’s costs of gain were the lowest in the country. Handsome profits were locked in with hedges on the Mercantile Exchange’s new cattle contracts. In 1974, the company made a leveraged buyout of Fortune 500 meatpacker Flavorland Industries for less than its working capital during Flavorland’s worst loss year. The first year under new ownership was its best ever.
By 1980, the company-owned inventory was a quarter of a million head in its five feedlots in Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Washington – thanks to friendly bankers and long-term lenders who provided ten to one leverage.
His decisions were inventive and resourceful. Foxley built the 65,000 head Bartlett, Nebraska feedlot, with half-mile-long sheds over waste pits that were emptied twice a year to fertilize 10,000 acres of irrigated Sand Hills corn.
Foxley Grain Company acquired elevators in eastern Nebraska towns in the early 1980s. All company operations were successfully sold in the 1990s.
With the 1978 purchase of Charlie Russell’s “Wolves Attacking Cattle in a Blizzard,” Foxley put his cattle trading ability to use in building a major western art collection.