The Munger family has been farming and ranching in South Dakota ever since our original homestead in 1882 in southern Brown County. Steve and Debi Munger raised sons AJ and Nate on that original homestead and Steve and Debi continue to reside there today.
Our operation as Eagle Pass Ranch began in 1987 when we along with a partner purchased the ranch formerly known as Jennings Hyland Angus which sprawled over Hand, Hyde and Buffalo Counties in central South Dakota. Jennings Hyland Angus began as brothers Clayton and Ted Jennings came to the state from Iowa where they had worked as hog merchants. They had cash in their pockets during the 1930’s when cash was scarce among the original homesteaders in central South Dakota. This allowed them to accumulate a vast land holding, which they stocked with Angus cattle.
Their success breeding Angus was well known in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. They exhibited numerous Champion Angus bulls at the Chicago International. During the 1960’s they teamed up with the Les and Lee Leachman families who had come west from Ankony, NY with their own Angus herd. The Jennings and Leachmans combined to form Ankony Hyland and continued their dominance at major Angus shows.
Later in the 1960’s the ranch was sold to a California investment group which the Jennings operated for the new owners and the Leachman family moved on to Montana. In the 1970’s, the Jennings repurchased the ranch from the California group and resumed their cattle operation, however the Ankony Hyland cowherd also moved on in a separate sale to a Nebraska ranch and became known as Ankony Shadow Isle. After the split of the ranch and the foundation cow herd, the Jennings brothers were best known for their feeder cattle operation. They purchased thousands of calves from area ranchers and either backgrounded them or ran them on summer pastures.
When Eagle Pass Ranch purchased the property in 1987 we were fortunate enough to retain most of the employees from the Jennings operation. This accumulated experience has proven to be very valuable over the years. There have been some changes to the ranch over time. Some of the outlying property has been sold to fund buy outs of original owners, some of the range land has been converted to crop land. Many of the original buildings have been razed and replaced with new, modern structures.
The constant over time is that the ranch continues to be home to a progressive cattle operation managed by a family with a vision of the future. The Munger family ranching business is now a sixth generation operation with a seventh generation preparing to take over some day. Steve and Debi Munger remain active with the ranch. AJ, with his wife Emily and son Briggs, serves the ranch as marketing and records manager. Nate, with his wife Hillary and sons Rhett and Graham, serves the ranch as operations manager.