KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jon Beever, Urbana, Ill., was honored with the Hereford Hall of Merit Award Nov. 3, 2008, in Kansas City during the American Hereford Association (AHA) Annual Meeting.
Hall of Merit inductees aren’t necessarily Hereford breeders but have, in their own ways, greatly influenced the Hereford breed and cattle industry.
Jon Beever has been working with the AHA for three years as a geneticist researching genetic abnormalities. In 2008 Beever established a test for idiopathic epilepsy (IE), a genetic defect in Hereford cattle after years of studying the patterns of inheritance and then isolating the actual recessive gene that causes the condition.
Beever is a molecular geneticist and associate professor at the University of Illinois. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois in 1986, 1989 and 1996, respectively, all in animal sciences. After earning his doctorate, he remained at the University of Illinois as a professor and researcher. His research emphasis has been on identifying genetic markers in animals, mostly cattle and swine, for diseases as well as economically important traits.
In addition to discovering the genetic defect IE for the AHA, Beever worked to identify and develop a test to screen for the molecular defect causing Spider Lamb Syndrome in sheep and the genetic defect causing Tibial Hemimelia in bovines, among others. He is currently working on identifying the genetic defect called “Curly Calf Syndrome” for the American Angus Association.
Beever’s dedication to helping the AHA and the beef industry deal with genetic abnormalities is much appreciated by AHA staff and cattlemen everywhere. AHA Director of Breed Improvement and Chief Operating Officer Jack Ward says, “His expertise in the area of molecular genetics has changed attitudes of cattlemen throughout the industry and has allowed breeders to make genetic improvement without the worries of incorporating genetic issues.”
Beever and his wife Stephanie live near Urbana, Ill. They have three children: Erin, 11; Taylor, 17; and Zachary, 19.
The American Hereford Association, with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the largest U.S. beef breed associations. The not-for-profit organization along with its subsidiaries — Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC, Hereford Publications Inc. (HPI) and American Beef Records Association (ABRA) — provides programs and services for its members and their customers, while promoting the Hereford breed and supporting education, youth and research. For more information about the Association, visit Hereford.org.
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