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It All Started Here

The history of modern cattle feeding began right here in the Imperial Valley around the beginning of the 20th Century. With newly abundant water and rich soil to grow nutritious forage, the Imperial Valley was transformed from a desert into the one of the wealthiest producers of cattle. The product was shipped to hungry eastern markets via the new railheads in Southern California.


The Imperial Valley has a rich ranching history. First discovered by the Spanish and later populated by Mexico, these early settlers brought their traditions for raising cattle from Spain. After annexation by the United States, water from the Colorado River fed new irrigation systems that expanded production throughout the valley. During the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression, thousands of migrants were drawn to this area because of its abundance and healthy agricultural industry. They too contributed to the growth of agriculture and ranching, which ultimately produced scientific cattle feeding specialists — like Phillips Cattle Company.


Transition from Native Crossbred Cattle to Primarily Holsteins


In the 1970s and 1980s, the smaller, family owned Los Angeles packing houses fell victim to the emerging super-efficient large packing plants being built out in the country close to the cattle supply. At the same time, the nation’s Midwest corn crop was growing; and, as a result, feed yards began moving to the Midwest to be closer to the cheaper corn supply. This left the Imperial Valley feed yards with excess capacity.


Around the same time, in the 1980s, the aggregate California cow herd began transitioning from a majority of beef cows to a majority of Holstein dairy cows. The gap has continued to widen ever since leaving an ample supply of an animal — the Holstein Bull calf — that no one knew how to feed nor thought capable of being turned into a quality beef product.


Through much trial and error, Phillips Cattle Company and other area feeders figured out how to feed a Holstein for beef. The cattle feeding industry in the Imperial Valley was reborn. In addition, because the Holstein cattle went on a higher energy ration at a younger age than a native beef steer and therefore finished at a younger age than the beef steer, the flavor and the tenderness of the beef is of higher quality than the native beef steer.


Today, we often think of corn-fed beef from the Midwest, but the truth is otherwise. The scientific methods for efficiently raising cattle began in California. To this day, connoisseurs of fine beef recognize the Imperial Valley for quality and taste. Grown naturally with minimal use of artificial supplements, beef raised at the Phillips Cattle Company is among the best in the world.


The Phillips Cattle Company


For three generations, the Phillips Cattle Company has been efficiently and economically growing cattle and delivering them to market from their base in the Imperial Valley. The experience earned by weathering challenges and taking advantage of both market and scientific opportunities has earned them respect as a survivor in an otherwise tough business. Through these many decades, this family-run business has dedicated itself to fairness, quality and respect for clients and investment partners.


Phillips Cattle Company owes much of its success to the unique qualities of the Imperial Valley. Because of its lack of winter rain or snow and its mild temperatures, the valley turned out to be an ideal place to feed cattle. In addition, the Imperial Valley produced an abundance of by-product feeds — sugar beet pulp, citrus pulp, mill run — along with locally grown winter wheat.  To this day, conversions — the pounds of feed required to produce one pound of beef — are lower than any other cattle growing region in the world.


Today, Phillips Cattle Company raises stock for itself and for its customers. Their scientifically driven feed formulas are a proven success and sold throughout the Imperial Valley area. The experienced hands at Phillips Cattle Company treat cattle as an investment asset, to be nourished, grown and delivered to market at optimum prices.


Phillips Cattle Company is a proud supporter of the following professional associations:

Beef Quality Assurance

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

The Beef Board California Cattlemen’s Association

California Beef Council

Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business of Imperial Valley

Phillips Cattle Company, Inc.  502 East Barioni Boulevard, Imperial, California 92251  760.355.1175  phillipscattle(at)

Principal Photography by Bill Gates

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