J. David “Dave” Nichols
J. David “Dave” Nichols has helped guide a 240-acre family farm in Adair County, IA, into a national full-service genetic provider in five states by using tough standards
, science-based technology and aggressive marketing.
In 1953, Merrill and Gladys Nichols and their son Dave, 13 at the time, started a purebred Angus herd on which they collected birth weight, feedlot rate of gain and yearling weight on every animal. Purebred Simmentals and specialized Nichols composite lines were systematically added, and the operation was formalized in 1980 as Nichols Farms Ltd.
Dave’s brother Lee passed away in 1982, and his father, Merrill, in 1987.
As the beef business evolved toward value-based grid pricing in the 1990s
, Nichols Farms’ 50-year history of feeding cattle served the family well, as they understood that genetic selections must include feedlot gain, feed efficiency and carcass merit in their breeding program. In addition, the Nicholses believed research and development were essential, and participated in research projects with six land-grant universities and the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.
Nichols Farms sponsored and managed the first Genetic Source Verified Auction in 1996, which took producers’ Nichols-sired calves and individually sorted them into predictable outcome groups. Later, they added Nichols Genetic Source Bred Heifers, and Nichols Alliance Feedlots as other programs designed to add value to customers’ investments.
In 1998, Nichols Farms sold its first franchise in North Carolina, the first to adopt this business strategy in beef seedstock production and marketing, and extend Nichols Farms genetics inputs and value-added programs to a multitude of commercial beef producers. Today, Nichols Farms has franchises in North Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri. Nichols Farms
genetic inputs extend well beyond the U.S., the company having exported live cattle, embryos, and semen to 30 countries.