Top Notch Angus is owned and operated by Marvin and Patty Cross.
Marv and Patty married in 2013, merging two established herds of Angus cattle. The combination of the two herds resulted in a very strong cow herd with Marvin and Patty having very similar tastes in cattle. After the merger the herd was downsized to 85 mother cows as most of the labor is provided by Marv and Patty. They run all registered cows and market their bulls through Montana's Northern Premier Sale and heifers and some bulls private treaty.
The home place has been in Patty's family since 1895 when her grandfather, George Ramberg, homesteaded and purchased the land. George and Nettie raised 12 children; the youngest children were twins, Ray and Roy. Ray was Patty's father. George and Nettie raised a few cattle and wintered bands of sheep for other ranchers. George raised Percheron horses until 1920. He abandoned the horse industry when the market fell off after the war. He then turned his attention to cattle and sheep.
Ray Ramberg continued on the tradition of raising cattle and sheep. Ray started a registered Hereford business in the 1940s. Patty became very involved in the Hereford business at a very early age. She had her own small herd and continued to help on the ranch until her college years. Upon completion of college with a degree in Ag Journalism, Patty returned to the ranch. She was employed by the Havre Daily News for many years while living at the ranch.
Patty married Larry Nissen in 1986. Patty and Larry ran the ranch and Larry's family farm in Harlem until Larry's death in 2010. They bought their first registered Angus in 1989 from Knudsen Angus. Larry and Patty continued to grow their herd purchasing more registered females from Birdtail Angus, Westwind Angus, and others. At the time of Larry's death in 2010, they had built their herd to 200+ head. In 2013 that herd was split 50-50 between Larry's son, Jeff, and Patty.
Marvin started in the Angus business in 1991. His first registered Angus were acquired from Bob and Georgia Larson (Sunrise Angus). About this time Marv purchased Virgil and Vera Cross's commercial herd of cows. Over the next five years, Marvin phased out his parents' commercial herd and replaced them with registered Angus. By 1995 Marvin had sold all of the commercial cows and was running 40 head of registered Angus under the Top Notch Angus name. Most of his Angus cow herd was Sunrise Angus breeding. Marvin kept the cow herd small as his job as an engineer for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation kept him busy.
Top Notch Angus sold their bulls through the annual Sunrise bull sale until Sunrise dispersed in 1994. After that, the bulls were marketed through the Milk River Angus Performance Test Sale. KelMcC Angus and Top Notch Angus teamed up in 1998 and started what eventually became known as Montana's Northern Premier Angus Sale. The sale has grown to the largest Angus Bull Sale in the area and is expected to market 160 head in 2015. The sale is held the third Thursday in April at Bear Paw Livestock in Chinook, Montana.
Work demands and health issues were the pivotal reasons for Marvin to put most of his cows out on shares with Kim Peterson (Peterson Grain and Cattle) and Bruce Boyum in 2005. In 2012 Top Notch had a mature cow herd dispersion and all of the cows over two years of age were sold to Kim Peterson's daughter, Andee.
Marvin retired in May 2014 from the DNRC and now devotes his full attention to the cattle, family, and friends.
Patty also enjoys her small flock of sheep from which she sells several club lambs to 4-H members throughout Montana. Her lambs have won many championships over the last 20+ years. She has an annual sale on the second Saturday in April. Check out www.pattysclublambs.com.
Please feel free to call or stop in anytime! We love the company and the coffee pot is always on!
ABOUT TOP NOTCH ANGUS