Angus Heritage Foundation Inductees
Phil and Ruth Abrahamson
A young boy named Iver left his Norwegian homeland in 1849 to seek a better life in America. After enduring a perilous voyage across the Atlantic, he was met with the fertile soils of the Midwestern frontier – a fresh start. In 1863, inductee Philip Abrahamson’s great-grandfather started purchasing parcels of land from the Southern Minnesota Railroad, establishing the farm that is known today as Sunnyslope Angus.
The fourth caretakers of Sunnyslope, Phil and Ruth have had a 50-year career with many highlights. They joined the Association’s Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR®) program in 1960. They also became the first breeders to work with University of Minnesota staff to develop a method for creating genetic advancement of his Angus cattle through scientific measurement rather than on phenotype alone.
Following in his footsteps are his daughter, Julie; her husband, Keith; and their three children. They help operate 200 cows on 700 acres, striving for continued success of docile, easy- calving animals that grow and grade well.
“We stuck with the Angus breed, we kept on, we persevered, and we’ve still got the Angus cattle today after 125 years on the farm,” Phil said. “I guess my hope is that’s going to be the future.”
I Am Angus: Philip Abrahamson
Philip Abrahamson tells about the farm's 150-year history in the bluff country of southeastern Minnesota.
First to Flight
The town of Lanesboro, Minn., celebrates 150 years in 2019
and is home to perhaps the longest running Angus herd in
Fillmore county. Sunnyslope Angus Farms also reached a milestone: 121 years of
consecutive operation with The Business
King, Lindsay. "First to Flight." Angus Journal, August 2019, pp. 48-51.
Angus Shine on Minnesota’s Sunny Slopes
The Abrahamsons share heritage
and home with Sunnyslope Angus Farm’s customers and friends.
Berg, L.J. "Angus Shine on Minnesota’s Sunny Slopes." Angus Journal, June/July 1999, pp. 195-197.
Banquet Honors Leaders
Angus breeders recognized at Annual Awards
Angus Journal, January 2013.
Sunnyslope Angus. Philip and Ruth Abrahamson, Sunnyslope Angus Farm, Lanesboro, Minn., know the importance of looking to the past in order to have a successful future. Sunnyslope has been stewarded by the Abrahamson family for nearly 150 years. Buildings that date back to the early 1900s still stand strong – telltale signs of the farm's historic legacy. Philip's grandfather, Peter Abrahamson, established Sunnyslope's herd in 1898 after purchasing an Angus bull, Duke of Lanesboro, and an Angus heifer, Ivy of Canton 2d. The first group of Sunnyslope cattle was sold in 1900, and the Abrahamson family has been in the Angus business ever since. Philip's grandfather was also instrumental in launching the Minnesota Angus Association in 1915, serving as its first secretary.
Philip is the fourth generation caretaker of Sunnyslope. In 1960, he studied under J.C. Meiske of the University of Minnesota to develop a method, modeled closely after the Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR®) program, for creating genetic advancement of his Angus cattle through scientific measurement along with visual perspective. That fall the first weaned calves were weighed and graded through AHIR.
As a result of 52 years of performance testing, the quality of Sunnyslope Angus cattle is recognized across the United States. In recent years, bulls from this herd have included SS Rito 8221 X01, commonly known as Super X; SS Rito 0715 0H3, referred to as The Mathematician; SS Traveler 6T6; SS Traveler 6807 T510; SS Objective T510 0T26, referred to as Objective; SS Traveler T510 2T22; SS Incentive 9J17, known as Incentive; SS Fast Track M719, also known as Fast Track; SS Surge 0T26 8J20, commonly known as Surge. Sunnyslope's SS Traveler 6T6 sold to Philip's neighbor and friend, Bob Miller of Miller's Viewlawn Angus, Mabel, Minn. 6T6 became an ABS sire and sired OSU 6T6 Ultra, the 1995 National Western Grand Champion Bull, for Oklahoma State University.
Sunnyslope's SS Objective T510 0T26 sold to ABS and Quaker Hill Farm of Louisa, Va. He has 173 sons listed in the 2012 American Angus Association Sire Evaluation Report, 31,362 registered progeny and ranks eighth on the all-time list for registered progeny. In 1998, the Abrahamsons celebrated a century in the Angus business, and production at Sunnyslope continues in full force today with their 36th production sale next summer.
Philip and Ruth's daughter, Julie, and her husband, Keith Ekstrom, joined the operation in 2010. Their other daughter, Jess, married to Jason Rebhahn, works as a news anchor at KTTC in Rochester, Minn.