• cwonnenberg

“Know Your Ranchers” Lazy J Bar Ranch

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Ranch name & family members involved?

Lazy J Bar Ranch is owned and operated by John and Stephanie Jung and their two youngest boys, Kale and Jacob. John and Steph are both 4th generation ranchers.


Segment of the beef community:

We raise Registered Red Angus, a few Registered Simmental, dabble in the club calf business and run a small herd of commercial cows that get used as recipients in our Embryo Transfer program and of course we also have Boer Goats.


Where is your ranch located?

Our ranch is located in north central South Dakota near Mina, which is west of Aberdeen, South Dakota about twenty miles.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and about your ranch?

John was raised on a cattle and grain operation southwest of Roscoe, SD. They turned a commercial cow calf operation over to a registered Simmental herd in 1970, hosting a production sale each year until the early 1990’s when they decided to breed the Simmental to Red Angus bulls. In 1993 John purchased his first registered Red Angus females.


Stephanie was raised on a cattle, sheep and grain operation west of Bradley, SD. Stephanie’s love for red cows was formed when her dad brought home a red cow from the local livestock auction market. In 1988 she purchased her first registered Red Angus cows with a 4-H loan and has been in the Red Angus seedstock business ever since.


John and Steph were married in 2009 and have a blended family of four children. Alex and his wife Shelby own and operate Jung Cattle Co near Mina. Brooke works in the home medical field in Aberdeen, SD. Kale is a recent Groton Area High School graduate with plans to go to Lake Area Technical College in the fall and Jacob is a soon to be 7th grader.


We host an online heifer sale each fall and a spring bull sale each year. In addition to the cattle, we also run a herd of Boer Goats and also find ourselves keeping busy with part time jobs. John is a part time crop adjuster and also is a livestock nutrition consultant for the local Purina dealer in Aberdeen known as Livestock Specialists. Which means John is always on the phone so if you can’t reach him leave a message and he will get back to you!! Steph works part time at a truck company as the office/account’s manager. We also have a custom Artificial Insemination business that we have downsized over the past few years due to time restrictions in the spring. We both keep busy as 4-H Leaders/Volunteers and local livestock show coordinators and Steph is on the registration committee for the Red Angus Association of America with plans to run for a board position in September 2021.


What do you want consumers to know about the Beef industry?

As ranchers we want the consumer to know that they will get a quality protein, packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals in beef. As ranchers, we put our hearts and souls into raising these animals and caring for them in all sorts of weather conditions. This is not just a job to us. These cattle are a way of life for us that allows us to raise our children to know the value of hard work and responsibility at a young age. We spend many hours caring more for our livestock than ourselves at many times of the year. We do this because we want you to have a quality product and we want our animals to be well cared for. There is never a vacation day or a sick day on a ranch. When schools are called off due to blizzards, we are never in the house. We are out caring for the livestock and go endless hours without sleep to make sure they are safe. These animals absolutely come before everything and everyone else and we aren’t alone in this. This is what makes a good rancher!


One word to describe your life as a rancher and why?

There are many words that come to mind when it comes to being a rancher but quite honestly the first one that comes to mind is Blessed. Blessed to live where God is in control of our lives on a daily basis, blessed to provide a wholesome nutritious product for our consumer, blessed to raise a family where we can see the stars every night, sunsets and sunrises and see a clear sky for many miles and to know that this is how our family has lived for many generations before us, off the land. Blessed to be a part of an industry that is always mindful of the future, caring for the land and leaving it in better condition than we found it. Mostly we are blessed to be surrounded in an industry where we call so many friends!


Favorite beef dish?

Any time we serve beef, it is our favorite dish. We grill most of the year, even in a blizzard, steaks are at the top of the list but of course there really isn’t much of a recipe. We have included one of our favorite rancher recipes below!


Potato Tot Hotdish - Lazy J Bar Ranch

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef

1 small onion (chopped)

1-2 teaspoons minced garlic

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon seasoning salt of your choice

1 box stuffing

Frozen green beans or your choice of frozen vegetable

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Milk

Shredded or American cheese slices

2 cups potato tots


Instructions

Press uncooked hamburger into 9x13 lightly greased pan. Sprinkle chopped onions, garlic, pepper and seasoning salt over the beef. Then top the beef with one box of stuffing (your choice of flavor).

Next, add a single layer of frozen green beans to cover the stuffing. In a bowl whisk the soups and about 1 ½ cans of milk together and pour over the frozen vegetable and beef mixture. Add cheese to your liking and then top with a layer of potato tots.

Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 350°F for 45 minutes then remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.


Note: We all know that mealtime on a ranch is usually dictated by the livestock, so I usually do almost 2 cans of milk with the soup when I bake it in the oven. The only reason to remove the foil is to make the tots crispier.This recipe also works well in the slow cooker but use a little less milk if you choose this cooking method.




The South Dakota Beef Industry Council works on behalf of South Dakota beef producers through the $1 Beef Checkoff program. For more information on Beef Checkoff and statewide efforts visit www.sdbeef.org and www.MyBeefCheckoff.com or contact Suzy Geppert at sgeppert@sdbeef.org.

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