Two years ago, I was commissioned by Joe and Cyndi Van Newkirk of Oshkosh, Neb., to write a thorough history of their ranch to celebrate the family’s 125 years in the cattle business. It was an honor to be asked to write this book, and over the course of many months and countless phone calls, I really came to admire their tenacity, knowledge and passion for the Hereford breed and the beef business.
Van Newkirk Herefords is listed on BEEF’s Seedstock 100, and this summer, the family was honored at the Beef Improvement Federation convention as the Seedstock Producer of the Year.
Without a doubt, the Van Newkirks have blazed a trail in the Hereford breed. They are innovators and early adapters, but they also have perfected the formula for what works, and that’s how they merchandise 200+ bulls annually to producers across the country.
What really stands out to me about this family, though, is how humble they are and how quick they are to show their appreciation for the folks who have helped them find success along the way.
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During our interviews, they praised their hired men for their hard work. In fact, there’s an entire chapter in their ranch history about these working cowboys and their contributions to the operation. They are quick to acknowledge everyone from Joe’s mom for all of the babysitting and cooking she did over the years to their friends who pitch in on sale day or show up on branding day to help get the job done.
They know very well that it takes a village to raise kids and cattle, and like so many in the cattle business, they understand that good help is hard to find. So when you do, it’s important to recognize these folks and show your appreciation for their hard work.
In the last couple of weeks, BEEF and Durango teamed up to host a photography contest that honors the men, women, cow dogs and horses who help keep our ranching businesses running smoothly. Readers have shared some amazing images as a way to celebrate their best ranch hands.
View the complete gallery here.
The BEEF team narrowed down this beautiful collection to 15 of our favorite photographs. Congratulations to the following finalists: Rebecca Lee, Kristy Rogers, Koli Rossi, Lisa Kubik, Michael Hill, Alex Carone, Candace Cope, Hayley Moss, Lacey Namken, Lacee Sims, Kristy Maley, Koy Holland, Misty Giles, Deborah Creighton and Kenton McKee.
View the gallery of the 15 finalist’s photos and vote for your favorite by clicking here.
Now we need your help in choosing our champions! Voting will be open until 8 a.m. CST on July 30, and we’ll announce our winners on July 31.
The grand champion photographer will win a pair of Durango boots, and our reserve champion will take home a $50 VISA gift card. Plus, three voters will be selected at random to win a pair of Durango boot socks.
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Help your favorite photographer earn the top spot by voting every day from now until the contest closes next Monday. Thanks for your participation and congratulations to our finalists!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.