On July 2, guests, family and friends gathered at Windmill Angus Ranch in Haigler to celebrate the painting of its barn with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand logo.

Farmers, family members, neighbors and other guests shared a meal with the Peterson family as they watched paint dry near Haigler, a village in Dundy County in southwest Nebraska.

The gathering was the 21st of 40 barn paintings planned this year, as the Certified Angus Beef ® brand celebrates 40 years of bringing Angus beef to consumers. Painting the brand’s familiar logo on 40 barns is a tip of the hat to the farmers and ranchers who created the brand in 1978, organizers said.

The Windmill Ranch, which former owner Elmer E. Hester (a prominent Hereford rancher in the 1940s) called Cotton Wood Ranch, turned into an Angus business the day George and Richard Peterson bought it.

With only 15 cows, the father and son started a successful farmstead that, three generations later, is home to 600 Angus cattle in southwest Nebraska.

Richard’s son Alex leads the charge today, as he, his wife, Michelle, and other family members enjoy showing cattle across the country, hosting an annual sale that is coming up on its 45th year, and breeding heifers.

Cattle from their ranch can be found in nearly every state.

The Petersons’ barn was painted by Troy Freeman, of Free Sky Studios of Springfield, Ill. Freeman is an experienced large-scale painter for businesses, cities and townships, amusement parks, schools, residences and more, as well as the illustrator of 15 books and the founder of a graphics and web design business.

While painting barns for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, he enjoys meeting farming families and learning more about their unique stories, while celebrating their shared goals and values.

Painting takes 2-3 days at each barn site. The first barn was painted the week of Jan. 15 in Ocala, Fla., at Baldwin Angus Ranch, along Interstate 75.

The next barns to be painted will be in Montana, North and South Dakota, and ultimately conclude in October near the brand’s headquarters in Wooster, Ohio.

“This effort is a tangible symbol of the valuable, and interconnected, roles our partners play in guiding the Certified Angus Beef ® brand from farm to table,” saidTracey Erickson, vice president of marketing. “It’s an honor for us to join their efforts in honoring our roots: family farmers and ranchers who have always been at the heart of this brand.”