H.C. “Ladd” Hitch and Kenny Monfort were inducted into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame (CFHF) during its second annual Induction Banquet in Denver.
A third generation cattleman, Ladd Hitch took over the family operation in 1945 after his return from World War II. Upon his return, he insisted that the operation, established in 1884, experiment with new approaches to cut costs and make the business more efficient. Ladd built the Henry C. Hitch Feedlot in 1953 on the family’s Guymon, OK-based ranch headquarters. Through his leadership and vision, Ladd built the Hitch cattle feeding business to three commercial feedyards with a combined one-time capacity of more than 150,000 head.
Kenny Monfort and his father, Warren, managed Monfort, Inc. in Greeley, CO, during the early growth years of the cattle-feeding industry. As a young executive in the family business, Kenny expanded the firm’s feeding operation, making beef available year-round instead of only in the fall when cattle were traditionally rounded up. In the 1960s, he moved the company’s packing plant to Greeley, to be closer to the ranchers and feedlots, and began fabricating beef in-plant, a radical departure from shipping “swinging beef” to retailers or butcher shops.
In addition, CFHF presented an Industry Leadership Award and Distinguished Service Award.
The Industry Leadership Award was presented to Richard McDonald, retired president and CEO of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA). During his TCFA tenure, McDonald worked diligently on behalf of cattle feeders and was instrumental in helping pass a number of tax-relief measures for cattlemen, as well as working with other beef organizations to obtain important legislative victories on the state and national level. His ability to analyze issues for both the potential short-term and the long-term effects on the cattle feeding industry, in addition to a strong work ethic and high integrity, were among his many admired traits.
The Distinguished Service Award, which honors feedyard employees, was presented to the family of the late Arturo Armendariz, a long-time employee at Poky Feeders of Scott City, KS. Joe Morgan, general manager at Pokey Feeders, called Armendariz “the ultimate employee” and praised his hard work and dedication to the feedyard; he passed away in August 2008. Armendariz spent nearly three decades at the feedyard, helping grow the business from 17,000 head to 63,000 head. Under his skillful management, the feedmill output reached 2 million lbs./day.
Personally and professionally, Armendariz was everything many people strive to be, making him the perfect namesake of the Distinguished Service Award, according to Jim Miles with Intervet Schering–Plough Animal Health, one of the founding sponsors of the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.