Image: Lone Mountain Wagyu herd, 2015
The Lone Mountain Ranch has been in our family for over 50 years. From the 1960s through the early 2000s, the family raised various breeds of conventional cattle.
Image: Lone Mountain Wagyu Ranch owners Bob and Mary Estrin
It wasn't until 2004, when Ranch owner and President Robert (Bob) Estrin had his first taste of Wagyu beef at a Santa Monica restaurant, that the future of Lone Mountain began to unfold. Bob was captivated by this delicacy and saw a new vision for the family business at the center of his plate. Lone Mountain Ranch was going to produce the highest quality, DNA-Certified, 100% Fullblood Wagyu raised in the United States.
In 2005, soon after his first Wagyu experience, Bob purchased his first two 100% Fullblood Wagyu bulls and nine 100% Fullblood Wagyu cows. This began the herd that has evolved to become one of the largest operations in the USA exclusively producing 100% Fullblood Wagyu.
The original cattle were all Tajima, one of the three bloodlines of the Japanese Black strain of Wagyu, which are known to cultivate the highest quality and most intense marbling. In 2007, 40 more cows were purchased. Within this group, there were animals with Shimane and Kedaka genetics. This brought more diversity to the herd, as these bloodlines are recognized for their larger frames and stronger maternal instincts than Tajima. This created a more balanced herd of Japanese Black Wagyu. (You can learn more about Wagyu strains and bloodlines in our blog post, You Know Wagyu, Now Let's Talk Tajima.)
By 2006, the entire herd had transitioned to 100% Fullblood Wagyu. The growth was supplemented through the purchase of genetics from Shogo Takeda, a master Wagyu breeder from Japan who brought animals to America during an open export window and sold embryos to domestic ranchers, Lone Mountain included. Bob immersed himself in everything he could about this majestic breed - traveling to Japan, studying historical texts, and meeting with ranchers around the country and abroad who shared his interests. He was determined from the beginning to develop a herd that was authentic and true to its Japanese heritage, never crossbreeding and maintaining strict documentation of the herd's lineage.
Image: Published article by Bob Estrin on his travels to Japan
Since then, Lone Mountain Wagyu has developed the leading, award-winning, 100% Fullblood Black Wagyu Cattle Ranch in the country. With multiple wins at the esteemed National Western Stock Show, including Grand Champion Fullblood Wagyu Cow-Calf Pair in 2012 and 2014, and the Reserve Grand Champion Fullblood Black Wagyu Bull in 2015, the herd has shown its continual improving quality which has been achieved through careful breeding and raising practices. In 2014, Lone Mountain made history, hosting the first $1 million Fullblood Wagyu live cattle auction outside of Japan.
As of 2016, the Lone Mountain herd is over 725 Wagyu strong, each and every one DNA-Certified back to its Japanese roots. The mission of the company, to produce the highest quality, DNA-Certified, 100% Fullblood Black Wagyu raised in the United States, remains at the forefront of every decision and continues to shape the herd today.