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Articles from 2008 In October

Only Three More Days To The Election

I can almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the majority of Americans as this election comes down the final stretch run. Even the political junkies who love the intrigue, the money, the battle of ideas, the strategy and the urgency surrounding the electoral process are probably ready for the actual voting to take place.

Approaching the finish line, there seems to be less drama than normal. It’s possible that with some 11th hour news event, a gaffe by Obama, etc., that the results could turn McCain's way. However, the drama now seems to be simply whether Obama can capture states like Ohio and Florida and claim an overwhelming electoral win.

But the biggest impact from next week’s elections could be at the legislative level. Despite the fact the Democrat-controlled Congress has a lower approval rating (9%) than even President Bush, retirements and other factors could lead to the Democrats increasing their majorities in the House and Senate.

In a more narrow vein, neither presidential candidate has shown any significant interest in agriculture; the one major distinction being that Obama has been a proponent of continuing the subsidies, tariffs, quotas and mandates surrounding ethanol, and may actually increase them.

On the tax front, an Obama administration virtually ensures the end – at least for now – of the effort to repeal the death tax, while capital gains taxes are likely to increase significantly.

Things on the environmental front should heat up under either candidate, but more so with Obama. We can expect more attention and regulation in the areas of endangered species and environmental concerns, including dust, odor and greenhouse emissions.

The biggest focal point may be greenhouse emissions and carbon sequestering, an area in which ag may have a significant and profitable role to play in reducing carbon footprints. This shift of emphasis on the environment and climate change (“global warming” is no longer the proper term since the Earth starting cooling down) will likely contain a mixture of good and bad for ag, but will definitely have to be factored into one's planning.

Of course, the state of the overall economy will have a big impact on ag. Obama will inherit some significant financial problems with the cost of the economic bailout constraining his aggressive domestic agenda. That, along with the cost of the Iraq war, is expected to continue to fuel inflationary pressures.

Obama is expected to continue to largely ignore more drilling, clean coal and nuclear energy in favor of "greener" renewable fuel sources (electric, geo-thermal, wind, water, solar, biofuels). This means that, at least in the short term, we’ll continue to be highly dependent upon foreign sources, and the food vs. fuel debate will escalate even more.

Neither candidate has shown much inclination to address the impending collapses of the Medicare and Social Security systems, preferring to leave it to future generations. But both candidates have put forth major proposals in health care. Obama’s is a state-run system, while McCain’s would preserve elements of free-market competition.

In the end, however, Obama's reforms will be a difficult sale. Even if Democrats gain super majorities in both the House and Senate, health care remains a very contentious issue, with quality and cost being a tradeoff most people aren’t prepared to accept.

Trade will be another focus area. Obama claims he’s for free trade, but with labor and environmental considerations factored in. Yet, he’s been a sharp critic of trade agreements and a strong proponent of populist/protectionist policies regarding trade.

Whether the victor is Obama or McCain, we can expect significant departures from current policy in almost every area for livestock producers. Some of the impacts with be positive, some negative, some minor and some major.

At next week’s BEEF Quality Summit – Nov. 6-7 in Colorado Springs (visit – the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Burton Eller and Terry Stokes will be on hand for a firsthand post-election analysis and wrap-up from the U.S. beef industry perspective. I can't think of a more timely and pertinent discussion, as macro-policy issues have had a far more dramatic impact on ag the last several years than more typical supply and demand factors.

Depending on your perspective, it may be comforting or disheartening to keep in mind that historically U.S. presidents tend to drift to the center, enacting only a fraction of what they promised during the election. The next administration, however, could indeed be a watershed event, not only for agriculture but the country in general.

CNB Aims To Help Feedlot Workers Resolve Union Issue

Country Natural Beef (CNB) – a rancher-owned cooperative – finds itself in an unenviable position that serves as both a warning and reminder to livestock producers, especially those willing to brand a product all the way to retail: there are those in the world willing to sacrifice you for something they want.

In this case, it’s the United Farm Workers (UFW). You might recall UFW pressured Whole Foods to abandon CNB product last summer because they claimed CNB beef was fed at a feedlot – Beef Northwest (BNW) Feeders – that wasn’t allowing its employees to unionize. That was the claim.

In fact, according to Stacy Davies of the Roaring Springs Ranch, a CNB member, neither the rancher-owned cooperative nor BNW have encouraged or discouraged the feedlot employees from unionizing.

“The workers at BNW provide superb care to our livestock while they’re at the feedlot. We believe those workers have the right to the same freedoms and choices the rest of us have,” explains Davies, on behalf of CNB. “In this issue our sympathies are totally with the workers, who need to have a fair, credible democratic manner to choose whether they want organized representation or not. We will support they decision to unionize or not to unionize.”

So far, the process has been one-sided.

“In June of 2007, a UFW official contacted CNB and told us we needed to force Beef Northwest to immediately accept UFW as the feedlot workers’ representative,” explains Davies. “Since then, UFW has pressured our retailers to put pressure on BNW to unionize.”

Unbeknownst to BNW at the time, UFW organizers were throwing barbeques for the feedlot workers and encouraging them to sign union cards. It’s unclear whether the employees realized what they were signing up for. For that matter, it’s unclear how many actually signed cards; UFW won’t provide the information.

However, there’s evidence through signed petitions, interviews and a desire to retract signed union cards that many of the workers don’t want union representation. UFW used the same tactics to force a neighboring dairy to unionize. Reports are the workers there are less than enamored with what the union has done for them.

So, why can’t the feedlot workers and feedlot simply decide for themselves?

There’s a hornet’s nest of issues involved. Oregon, where BNW is located, doesn’t have farm labor laws in place to resolve union issues. As well, the National Labor Relations Act prohibits pressuring second-party entities in labor disputes, but that Act does not cover farm labor. The Catch-22 maze of laws that should apply but don’t, or should be in existence but aren’t, is mind-numbing.

CNB has tried everything to find a way for the workers to resolve the issue of being able to fairly choose whether they want to be unionized, something that apparently they never requested in the first place: requesting UFW to go to the feedlot with them and visit with the workers, which UFW refused; a sit-down with the state governor; hiring the dean emeritus of the University of Oregon School or Business to conduct a third-party survey of the workers; and working with ecumenical ministry of Oregon. All to no avail.

So, CNB has taken the matter into its own hands. They’ve adopted the National Labor Relations Act as a guide to settle the dispute. As such, they will conduct a third-party secret ballot election for the feedlot workers. The vote is scheduled for Nov. 9. CNB doesn’t know whether UFW will recognize the results of that election, whatever they are.

“BNW has signed a Memorandum of Agreement binding them to the outcome of the election,” explains Davies. “Representatives from CNB and several of our retailers met with UFW Oct. 22 and invited them to be a part of the process. They refused.”

Keep in mind, CNB has plenty at stake. Taking a stand for the feedlot workers could alienate customers as much as it could garner support. Left unchecked, though, letting UFW continue to run roughshod intimidating CNB retailers, neither CNB nor the BNW feedlot workers stand to gain anything.

South Dakota Couple Speaks Up For Agriculture

From the nightly television news to video streams via the Internet, one needn’t look far to find agriculture in the headlines.

Unfortunately, the stories often show an unflattering and misinformed view of the industry. But Troy and Stacy Hadrick, fifth-generation ranchers from Vale, SD, are speaking up to debunk those mistruths and teach others to do the same.

In 2006, the Hadricks formed Advocates for Agriculture, and they’ve been making presentations to farm and ranch groups about the importance of telling agriculture’s positive stories ever since.

“No one is going to tell our story for us. We [people in agriculture] need to do it ourselves,” Troy says.

A lesson learned. The realization came from their botched experience with the media.

After graduating from college in 1999, the couple returned to the family Angus ranch operated by Stacy’s father and uncle – Ed and Rich Blair – in western South Dakota. Stacy began her career as an Extension educator, while Troy worked on the ranch.

In 2002, the Blair Ranch was featured as part of The New York Times “Power Steer” article authored by Michael Pollan. Pollan’s premise was to purchase an Angus calf from the Blair Ranch and follow it through the production chain to a feedlot and packing plant. Troy was Pollan’s primary source at the ranch.

Troy says he was excited about sharing the real story of raising cattle on a ranch through this nationally respected publication. But when the article was published, Pollan appeared to have his own agenda and depicted the cattle industry as abusive, inhumane and with no regard for the environment.

Troy says, “The most deflating thing was that we thought we had a great opportunity to tell positive things about the beef industry, and then it wasn’t presented at all how we expected.”

As a result of the article, the Blair family – and the Hadricks – lost a lot of faith in the media and received many negative phone calls from animal-rights people.

“It took at least two years before it wasn’t painful,” Troy says.

Stacy adds, “Wherever we’d go, the ‘Power Steer’ article seemed to come up.”

But also during that time, in the back of their minds, were thoughts on turning that negative media experience into a positive one.

A fellow industry advocate and speaker, Trent Loos, also encouraged them not to hide from the experience, but to share with others how important it is to get the true information about agriculture to the public.

And to convey the positive message of agriculture, Troy and Stacy realized that real producers are the ones who must deliver the story – not a biased New York Times reporter.

Becoming advocates. Thus, the Hadricks formed Advocates for Agriculture and adopted the mission of “promoting ag one story at a time.”

Through their presentations, they emphasize that one person can make a difference. Stacy says informing and educating consumers is as simple as, “each of us talking to one person about our own story in agriculture.”

She adds, “Farmers and ranchers don’t have to become professional speakers. You can talk about the ag industry and what you do at the grocery store, the post office, your local school, or sitting next to someone on an airplane. It’s about making that connection with consumers – so they realize you raise the food they eat.”

Troy also emphasizes that real stories about agriculture are what matters. “We want people in ag to realize we all have a story worth telling. Other than our experience with the New York Times, what we do on our ranch isn’t any different than other ranchers.” He says the important message to convey is how ranchers care for their livestock and land – and ultimately produce the safest food in the world.

“Our industry is never going to compete with the big budgets of groups like the Humane Society of the U.S. or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. But where agriculture can compete is in sharing real stories – that’s where we will win the fight,” Troy says.

He continues, “It’s easy for people to throw stones at agriculture, but when you are a real person with a real story, people can’t argue with you about your story. We’ve learned you’re not going to change the mind of someone who wants to argue, but if you can get people to start questioning some of the misinformation so they go looking for the right information – that can make a difference.”

Looking forward, Stacy says the agricultural community must also recognize that “we’re all in this together,” and work together to support and promote ag. She points out that everything from fruits, vegetables, crawfish and vineyards is agriculture.

As well, she says many people with a connection to ag aren’t working the land, but we all should accept the responsibility to speak up on behalf of the industry. “We need a unified voice in talking to legislators and consumers,” she says.

To assist in their mission of educating others about ag, the Hadricks developed a website and blog, which Troy updates almost daily. He calls out stories that feature misinformation about the industry or require more attention and advocacy by agriculturists, as well as spotlight positive stories occurring within ag.

In the future, Troy and Stacy hope to take their presentations about agriculture to more consumers and youth. They also have plans to utilize the Internet more through podcasts and possibly a “Year In The Life On The Ranch” feature on YouTube.

When asked what they hope to have accomplished five years from now, Troy says, “Ideally, we’d be out of a speaking job, because everyone is out there telling ag’s story.”

For more on the Hadricks and Advocates for Agriculture, visit them at

Temple Grandin Talks About Her Upcoming HBO Biopic

Temple Grandin seems a bit embarrassed, but simultaneously flattered, by all the hullabaloo about her life and accomplishments. A world-renowned designer of livestock handling facilities, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and one of the world’s highest functioning autistics, the most recent chapter of her life is being written right now, or filmed to be more specific, in Austin, TX. The completed work – a biopic on her life and experiences over the decades of the 1960s and 1970s – is set to air February 2010 in a two-hour production on HBO.

Grandin tells BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly that filming is about half completed, with a wrap-up expected in mid to late November, though she hasn’t actually visited the set as yet. She expects to visit the set later in filming and will appear in the film to provide an epilog on the years following the film’s period.

Grandin is portrayed in the film by Claire Danes, a Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated film, television and theater actress. Danes and Grandin spent a half-day lunching and visiting in Danes’ New York City apartment as part of Danes’ research, she says. Grandin’s assistant, Mark Deesing, who has visited the set during filming, told Grandin that Dane’s depiction of her is so convincing that it "sent a shiver down my spine."

Grandin says the script was developed via in-person interviews and her various published books and writings. The working title of the film is “Temple Grandin - Thinking In Pictures,” which also is the title of the 2006 book that chronicled her childhood and life with autism.

She worked with the writer to ensure the chronology on this latest project. “I read over the script and they changed things that I hated. I was adamant that they depict me as I was. I wouldn’t stand, for instance, for my character to swear in the movie because I don’t swear. I want to make sure that they not present me as doing something out of character,” she says.

Some fictionalization occurs in the script, she adds, owing to the fact that two decades had to be condensed into a two-hour movie. Thus, at least one character depicted in the movie is a composite.

Throughout the process, however, she has insisted that “the cattle have to be right. I don’t want Holstein calves or a situation like in the movie ‘City Slickers’ where the cattle weren’t right.” She says the producers even bought a parcel of Angus calves for the production in order to ensure authenticity.

Grandin says the story begins in the 1960s when she was expelled from her high school for throwing a book at a female classmate who had been tormenting her. The biopic ends in the 1970s after Grandin has established her business – Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, a vehicle through which she's designed one-third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the U.S.

Grandin says the experience has had its fun, and funny, times. One central scene that appears in the movie chronicles her experience in designing a cattle dip tank for a now-defunct Arizona feedyard. Once a common feature in feedyards, dip vats were long, narrow vats, about 7-ft. deep, filled with insecticide solution. Cattle were forced single-file into the vats to swim through the solution for lice and tick control.

Grandin’s design featured a tractioned ramp for the cattle to calmly walk into the vat; the cowboy crew thought the traction was unnecessary and removed it. The resulting slick surface caused cattle to panic with some calves drowning after ending up upside down in the liquid. Grandin replaced the traction and the crew was amazed at the calmness with which cattle stepped off into the ramp.

However, depicting such a scene involving live animals in the movie was problematic, Grandin says. So rather than use live (which isn’t allowed) or even dead animals, the crew built a remote-controlled robotic calf that weighs about 400 lbs. – think about the shark in "Jaws" here.

Incidentally, the dip tank used in the movie was built based on a photo of a dip vat used at John Wayne’s Red River Feedyard in Arizona.

Having her life of four decades ago recreated has been an interesting experience, Grandin says. For instance, the dorn-room setting for her undergraduate days at Arizona State University is replete with her posters of the day.

She expects to be doing promotional interviews in print and broadcast ahead of the spring release. “I have to remind myself not to get a big head,” she says. “You know what happens. Just look at statues of famous people; they all have pigeon poop on them.”

Want To Build A Packing Plant? Think Again

I got a call the other day from a university researcher looking for information about the beef-packing industry. She said she was helping to put together a feasibility study for a producer group that wanted to build a packing plant that would process about 100 cattle/day. I provided some information about the size of the industry and number of plants. I also felt it might be of value to mention the difficulties of entering the business.

First, I told her that in my 35 years of covering the industry worldwide, I had seen dozens of feasibility studies eat up millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, with hardly any new plants coming out of the studies. What was going to be different about this plant?

I next told her that North American cattle numbers are shrinking and are likely to do so for several years. Yet there’s already over-capacity in U.S. and Canadian beef processing. The result is that existing packers will compete even more strongly for every available animal, be it grain-fed, grass-fed or a cull cow.

Escalating costs. Then I told how the cost of building even a small plant has escalated in recent years. Steel and concrete prices have doubled over the past five years. I told her how equipment costs had increased, and how food safety has dramatically increased the cost of processing.

The biggest plants 20 years ago could slaughter and fabricate an animal for $60. Now the best do it for $150 or higher. JBS Swift is proud of the fact its processing costs have fallen to $164 from $212/head when it acquired Swift in July 2008. I told her that a small plant, without economies of scale, might have total processing costs of $250/head.

Let’s assume the plant gets off the drawing board. Who is going to lend anyone $10-$20 million to build a beef plant under current financial circumstances? If it’s all state money, then taxpayers should be up in arms. Without giving away the location, it wouldn’t be a question of bringing jobs to an area that needs them. So what would be the rationale to use public money? What private investor would risk millions of dollars? Lack of equity has been an issue for the meatpacking industry for 20 years. That’s why JBS’s investment in the U.S. is so important.

Then I asked her how the owners of the new plant would be able to compete with other packers in the region. How would the new venture attract people experienced and talented enough to start up and successfully operate a new plant? Would the plant have fabrication and rendering departments? If not, it would automatically be at a disadvantage.

Next, how would the new venture differentiate its beef to avoid being trampled on in the marketplace by other regional packers and the Big Boys who churn out commodity beef with the efficiency of Toyota? How would the venture make enough money to pay the interest on its debt?

The big question is: “Why?” For the life of me, I don’t know why producers want to build or own packing plants. There’s an inherent conflict right away. Producers want to get the most for their cattle. Packers want to pay as little as possible for them.

I have seen producer-owned meat companies fail in New Zealand, Australia and in the United Kingdom. They have largely failed in the U.S. and in Canada.

Alberta producers and cattle feeders poured millions of dollars into a new plant near Edmonton called Ranchers Beef. The plant lasted a few months before it closed. Other smaller plants in Canada that popped up in the aftermath of BSE have also failed.

U.S. Premium Beef (USPB) is the most successful producer group to enter the U.S. packing industry because it aligned with an existing packer. It took a minority interest in Farmland National Beef. Both were cooperatives so there was a mutual understanding of how to balance producer expectations with commercial reality.

USPB eventually became National’s majority owner. Even then, it realized that the risk of owning just a beef packer is considerable. So it accepted JBS’s offer to buy all of National. The reality is, succeeding in beef processing at any level is difficult and will get even tougher. New entrants, be warned.

Halloween: Cowboy Style

Everyone loves Halloween. Harvest is nearing completion (unless you can't get in the fields because of all the rain like all my neighbors), the calves are weaned, healthy and eating like wolves in the feed yard, and for many, a big check will soon come your way when you market those calves and perhaps your cull cows. Maybe you aren't planning your Halloween costume (I'm going to be a pumpkin, by the way), but you might be eating all the candy that you bought for those little trick-or-treaters. And, speaking of pumpkins and the Halloween spirit, I have decided that, through this blog, I have some very interesting friends.

I have met so many wonderful people because of this blog, and it's only in its beginning stages. First, I have the Cosmo bachelor friend, then I have the friend that has triplet calves, I have my ambassador friends, and I have my aged with wisdom friends. I have my BEEF Magazine staff member friends, my presidential election savvy friends, and my friends that dislike Oprah. And in the spirit of the season, I have friends that do this...





Happy Cow-O-Ween, Beef Friends! :)


Don’t let BRD Turn Bottom Line from Black to Red

Help protect cattle investment with Pasteurella vaccination

DULUTH, Ga. — October 28, 2008 — In today’s tight market, cattle producers cannot afford even the smallest production setback. They must do all they can to help ensure cattle — and profits — will not fall victim to costly diseases such as bovine respiratory disease (BRD) this winter.

Confined and nonconfined cattle are susceptible to BRD, and can be hit by the losses, making prevention key in all cattle segments, according to Dr. Bruce Nosky, manager, Veterinary Services, Merial.

“BRD is one of the most economically devastating diseases in the beef industry. Losses range from veterinary and labor costs to reduced feed efficiency and even death,”1 says Dr. Nosky. “When profit margins are tight, producers are banking on cattle performing to the best of their ability — BRD can make that next to impossible.”

Dr. Nosky says the causes of BRD are multiple and complex, which is why it is important producers help protect cattle, and their investment, from all possible sources of infection.

“Stress, viral and bacterial infections are almost always involved in severe BRD cases,”1 he says. “Producers often vaccinate to help protect against viral agents, but bacterial causes are often overlooked. It is important that they prepare cattle to defend both.”

Two major bacterial pathogens associated with BRD are Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida.2 These two pathogens have been documented to be present in nearly 75 percent of all diagnosed BRD cases;3 however, a study suggests that the frequency of Pasteurella multocida is increasing.4

“RESPISHIELD HM is a good option for producers looking to vaccinate cattle against both major bacterial pathogens,” Dr. Nosky says. “It can be used on cattle of any age,* which can be especially useful this time of year when producers could have both spring and fall calves on the ground.”

He adds that the ability to vaccinate cattle of all ages* goes beyond convenience.

“BRD is traditionally recognized as affecting cattle in the feedyard; however, it also can affect the performance of cattle on pasture,” Dr. Nosky says.

A study of grazing stocker cattle found losses from BRD to be significant in both breeding and feeder cattle. Heifers that required two or more antibiotic treatments for BRD had a conception rate 19 percent lower than healthy heifers.5 In the same experiment, male calves with BRD-based losses had decreased net returns of 9.7 percent to 21.3 percent per animal.5

Curt Newlin, a stocker producer from Burlington, Okla., says RESPISHIELD® HM helps him protect his cattle from this costly disease and gives him peace of mind.

“I run several stockers each year, and I have to count on other people to take care of them, so it’s important that I can trust that the cattle will not get sick,” Newlin says. “I started using RESPISHIELD HM as part of my incoming processing routine to help cut down on sickness in the first couple of weeks after cattle arrive.”

Dr. Nosky notes that Newlin’s approach is one all cattle producers should consider this winter.

“Winter weather can dramatically increase the stress factor that contributes to BRD, but unfortunately, this is one stressor producers can’t avoid,” he says. “That is why producers need to be sure they are protecting cattle, and their bottom lines, against the other factors that contribute to BRD, starting with including RESPISHIELD HM in their vaccination routine.”

The results can help producers and cattle be more efficient. Newlin says RESPISHIELD HM helped him to cut down on pulls, chronics and death loss.

“I think it has helped cut down on death loss by half a percent, and chronics by a whole percent. Both numbers are significant when you consider the price of cattle and inputs right now,” Newlin explains. “When calves are costing as much as they do currently, I have to do everything I can to help them be productive. It is like an insurance plan for my investment.”

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2007 sales were nearly $2.5 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. and sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see

For more information contact:

Wendy Mayo

Bader Rutter & Assoc.

(402) 434-5307

[email protected]

*Calves vaccinated before 6 months of age should be revaccinated after reaching 6 months of age.6

1Batley CV, Matthews NJ, Snyder DL. Vaccinating to prevent pneumonia. Utah State University Extension Animal Health Fact Sheet. July 1997.

2Irsik M. Bovine Respiratory Disease Associated with Mannheimia Haemolytica or Pasteurella Multocida. Available at: Accessed July 25, 2008.

3Richey EJ. Pasteurella disease in beef cattle. University of Florida Extension.

4Welsh RD, Dye LB, Payton ME, Confer AW. Isolation and antimicrobial susceptibilities of bacterial pathogens from bovine pneumonia: 1994-2002. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 2004;16:426-431.

5Pinchak WE, Tolleson DR et al. Morbidity effects on productivity and profitability of stocker cattle grazing in the southern Plains. J Anim Sci 2004;82:2773-2779.

6RESPISHIELD HM product label and package insert NAC No. 11111050.

®RESPISHIELD is a registered trademark of Merial.

©2008 Merial Limited. Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. LAGEBRS813 (10/08)


Junior Angus Leaders Raise the Bar in Saint Joseph

Young Angus leaders who serve their respective state junior Angus associations and their advisors took the opportunity to participate in the Fall 2008 Midwest Raising the Bar Conference, Oct. 17-19 at the American Angus Association® headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo. Fourteen youth and advisors participated in the leadership training that is conducted by the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) and funded through the Angus Foundation.

Opening speaker Thane Chastain challenged each individual to form a two or three word personal goal and to be sure the goal was relevant. He referred to several leadership books including “Good to Great” while talking about raising the level of leadership in the NJAA and in the respective state organizations. Chastain also discussed time management as a tool for success, which he noted is not accomplished immediately.

“If you are failing from time to time, you are not raising the bar enough,” Chastain told the group.

Directors on the NJAA Board engaged the group in several workshops that included public speaking, parliamentary procedure, securing and retaining membership through the use of a mentoring program, fundraising, team building and goal setting. The interactive workshops allowed for the individuals from various states to exchange ideas and learn from their peers.

An afternoon of team building was spent at Camp Geiger, where the participants enhanced their problem solving, decision making and communications skills through a series of obstacles and challenges.

In addition to workshops, NJAA directors also navigated the young leaders through its Web site, to showcase the online resources for juniors. Bryce Schumann, Association chief executive officer, provided information about the Association and its entities before the group toured the Association and Angus Productions Inc. offices.

This is the second year for Raising the Bar that allows officers and advisors from state junior Angus associations to meet regionally. For more information about junior Angus programs and the NJAA, visit


A list of attendees follows:

Linda Egger, Columbus, Neb.

Jessica Clowser, Milford, Neb.

Emelia Heimsoth, Lathrop, Mo.

Taylor Short, Ava, Mo.

Garren Bellis, Orrick, Mo.

Tim Short, Ava, Mo.

Payree Short, Ava, Mo.

Rachel Frost, Tallula, Ill.

Kayla Widerman, Good Hope, Ill.

Chelsea Dickinson, Glasco, Kan.

Megan Fink, Randolph, Kan.

Hannah McCabe, Elk City, Kan.

Tyler Ottensmeier, McLouth, Kan.

Barry Santee, Langdon, Kan.

NJAA Directors:

Mallory Trosper, Hamilton, Mo.

Andrew Rogen, Brandon, S.D.

Robert Myers, Yamhill, Ore.

Bridget Driscoll, Williamsburg, Iowa

© Copyright 2008, All rights reserved.

Data Access and Use

American Angus Association®

3201 Frederick Ave.

St. Joseph, MO 64506

Contact us:

phone 816.383.5100

fax 816.233.9703

e-mail [email protected]


Messmers honored as 2008 Pioneer Breeder of the Year

Tony and Karen Messmer, Messmer Red Angus, of Richardton, N.D., were honored at the National Red Angus Convention in Cheyenne, Wyo., Sept. 17-19. Greg Comstock, Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) executive secretary, announced the award at convention.

For over four decades, Messmers have supplied the beef industry with superior Red Angus genetics. During that time, they have bred or owned herdsires who have graced the pages of A.I. stud catalogs and their herd has gained the reputation for producing problem-free, easy-fleshing range bulls who sired optimal levels of growth, milk and carcass performance.

Tony and Karen Messmer's love for their cowherd and commitment to the continued growth of the Red Angus breed is evident in the quality seedstock and after-the-sale service they provide to their customers at their annual bull sale. Their dedication to the breed is also apparent in Tony’s legacy of leadership in both local and national Red Angus associations. Tony represented his fellow breeders as Region B Director and First Vice President on the RAAA board, and served on the finance committee during a formative time. While on the finance committee, he helped implement the RAAA’s strategic plan goals to building cash reserves equal to 50 percent of the Association's annual budget.

Messmers’ belief in the future of the Red Angus breed extends to their support of junior Red Angus functions. At this year’s National Convention in Cheyenne, Wyo., the Messmers donated the "pick" of their 2008 heifer calf crop. The proceeds from this auction benefit the Junior Red Angus Association of America.

“This recognition of a lifetime's contribution to Red Angus is bittersweet for Tony and Karen,” said Comstock. Time has caught up and, without a second generation to take the reins, the Messmer Red Angus herd was dispersed on Oct. 20. “However, we can rest assured that the new herds that spring from this dispersal and existing herds that fortify with Messmer genetics will move forward with a solid foundation laid by these Red Angus pioneers.”

Messmers will host their annual bull sale in February in Dickinson, N.D. “We can be confident that the bulls with a Messmer prefix will continue to enhance Red Angus' reputation and build loyal customers out of Northern Plains' ranchers ... just like they've done for the last 46 years,” said Comstock.

For more information, contact:

Clint Berry, RAAA communications and member services director

(940) 387-3502 • [email protected]