The Wise Maine-Anjou Ranch is operated by Leta Wise, along with daughters Deanna and Dallas Wise and granddaughter Keltey Whelan.
R.B. Wise passed away in February 1996, after 42 years in the purebred cattle business, 24 of which were as a Maine-Anjou breeder. Over the years, he earned a reputation for his ability to spot a "good" one and raise functional cattle and quality. Berwyn judged many prominent cattle shows across North America and became known for his straight forward, "shoot from the hip" honesty.
Leta Wise and her family come by their interest in breeding purebred cattle as honestly as
her father, the late E.J.C. Boake of Acme, who had the largest herd of Shorthorn cattle in the Dominion at the time of his death. Today, the reduced herd of 100 black Maines represent another family tradition. As traditions go in the beef industry, both Leta in 1949, and daughter Debra in 1969 won the prestigious Grand Champion Baby Beef competition at the Calgary Bull Sale- the first and only time a mother and daughter had won the D.E. Black Shield.
The family theme continues over the breeding philosophy as the Wises choose carefully the genetic lineage for their calving program. The naming of their females within "cow" families makes tracing lineage simple.The Wises breed for easy fleshing, moderate frame size, ease of calving, and longevity. Maines won the family over with their docility and their ease to work with.
The Wise Ranch has played an interesting role in the developmental history of Maines and other European breeds as a boarding location for some of the first animals that were imported into Canada during the early 70's. At the time, the family operated the Wise Custom Fitting Service. They boarded cattle, managed herds for clients and fitted them for shows and sales. The skilled activity of "fitting" had always meant putting the proper weight gain and condition on an animal, not clipping and grooming animals as it has come to mean in more modern applications.
Through the years 1976-1986, the Wise Ranch was home to hundreds of bulls of many breeds as they operated as a test station. In the early 70's, they purchased their first percentage Maine heifers from LK Ranches, the McKinnons of Bassano and it was the performance of those first cattle that led to the decision by the Wise's to purchase a herd of fullblood Maines, originally imported from England by Thunder Beef Breeders of PEI. At that same time Horton Helena, who became matron of the Wise fullblood herd, was purchased from Tom Morton of Strathmore, as well her calendar year heifer and her yearling daughter were also acquired.
The Wise Ranch featured fullbloods until their dispersal in 1984, that brought about the complete refocusing of their program, as they moved on to solid black Maines which continues to this day. R.B. Wise sought out his first solid black A.I. sire at Denver in '85, DF Midas. He bought up semen in a strategic move to position the Wise Ranch for future development of black Maine-Anjou cattle. R.B. believed strongly in the future of black segment of the Maine-Anjou breed. The moderate-framed, solid black Midas daughters and grand daughters formed the nucleus of the breeding program. Before his death, he was able to fulfill his goal of having 100 solid black females in production.
First Maine birth in Canada, R.B. second from left
ZTA Miss Black Ruby 224X, bred by
the Wise Ranch
Draft Pick, bred by the Wise Ranch