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MISSOURI FAMILY HONORED FOR HISTORIC HERD
Source: American Angus Association news release

The Historic Angus Herd Award is presented to Angus breeders or immediate families who have been in continuous production of registered Angus cattle for 50 years or more. To honor their dedication to the breed, the American Angus Association® is proud to recognize Gleonda Farms, Miller, Mo., as a Historic Angus Herd.

Leon Kleeman got his start in the Angus business at eight-years-old, when his dad, Bert Kleeman, gave him a bucket calf out of an Angus-cross milk cow. He later sold that calf to purchase a show steer, which began a lifelong love of the showring.

In the mid-to-late 1950s, Kleeman started buying registered Angus heifers for his herd. The initial purchase was from John and Cecilia Eck of Pierce City, Mo.

Kleeman's reputation for quality cattle quickly spread throughout the Ozarks. In 1961, when he was 20-years-old, he exhibited both the champion bull and female at the Ozark Empire Fair Junior Show in Springfield, Mo. Both animals were sired by an Earl Marshall bull. Also that year, Kleeman was honored with a Missouri State 4-H Proficiency Award and won a trip to Chicago.

Throughout the years, Kleeman has worked for many cattle operations, including the Equen Plantation, Minter, Miss., and Blue Sky Farm, Kearney, Mo. He became known for a keen eye fitting cattle, and while with Equen he fitted for the Texas circuit, where they showed the champion female and reserve champion bull, Equenmere 1406, owned in partnership with the famous actor Fred MacMurray.

Gleonda Farms hosted its first production sale in 1972. Managers J.B. McCorkle and Tom Burke made sure the day was a success, and cattle legends Ray Simms and Harold Henry served as auctioneers.

To continue efforts to expand and improve the herd, in 1973 Kleeman purchased 96 Wye-bred females from M.Q. Farms, Hastings, Neb. He was also a pioneer in the carcass data collection, and in 1994 harvested a pen of 44 Angus steers that graded 96% choice, 67% Certified Angus Beef®.

Kleeman and his wife, Glenda, raised two daughters on the farm, Gina and Lana, who both showed steers and heifers during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gina showed the overall champion steer at the 1983 Ozark Empire Fair, and Lana raised the most profitable pen of steers in the 1982 Southwest Missouri Feedout.

In 2011, Leon and Glenda received the 2011 Missouri Angus Pioneer award for their years of dedicated effort to the Angus breed. Today, Gleonda Farms is home to about 300 head and they continue to sell 50-60 registered Angus bulls each year.

Visit www.ANGUS.org for more information on the Historic Angus Herd Award and to view a list of awarded members since the program began in 1988.


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