Past President Spotlight: Eddie Blazek

The Past President Spotlight is a column we feature in our bi-monthly publication, the Brangus Journal. We hope you learn from these great leaders who have extensive experience and expertise in their respective fields.

Eddie Blazek
IBBA President 2004-2005


Having served the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) as a former president in 2004-2005, Eddie Blazek, owner of Mound Creek Ranch, has a positive outlook for the future of the breed and particularly for further developing international relations. Blazek and his team at Mound Creek near Leona, Texas, have developed successful working relationships with seedstock Brangus breeders and commercial producers from all over the world.

Mound Creek Ranch has an ongoing successful business relationship with Juan and Santiago Debernardi, some of the most reputable agribusiness leaders in Argentina and South America. When it comes to international markets, Blazek said Genex/CRI and the Debernardi family have been very instrumental in opening doors. Their understanding of protocols and procedures to meet export requirements is essential. Blazek emphasized having patience, courtesy and knowledge about your product is critical when developing international relationships.

“We go in with the mindset to build relationships first and marketing second,” Blazek said. “It’s fun to build familiarity with their customs and their needs. The interest and desire to increase quality in their beef cattle has grown exponentially.”

Blazek was involved in the cattle business at a young age with his father’s commercial cattle herd in Teague, Texas, which had very little Bos indicus influence. After he graduated with an agriculture business degree from Sam Houston State University in 1975, Blazek started out on his own business venture. He sought to purchase the best commercial cows he could find for the best price available. He purchased some commercial females from a herd liquidation sale; half of that herd was pedigreed Brangus females. Once he bred them to a registered Brangus bull he purchased from Harold Gore, the results were unbeatable.

“These Brangus females consistently outperformed and produced the best product,” Blazek said. “Bottom line they made more money.”

Impressed by the results that were produced by the Brangus breed, Blazek invested in the seedstock industry and purchased his first registered females in 1987 at the Genetic Connection sale hosted by Pete Raines and Ray Blair in Hunstville, Texas. Mound Creek now hosts some of the top averaging sales in the country. With the valuable experience and insight he has gained as a Brangus producer and effective leader in the seedstock industry, Blazek said the future of the breed remains positive and prosperous.

“As breeders, as members and as an association, the future of the breed is in our hands,” Blazek said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Brangus has more future and promise than any other beef breed, and it’s up to us to move it forward.”

Blazek’s foresight is supported by years of experience and involvement in the Brangus breed. His emphasis on implementing the latest technologies and highest quality genetics makes Mound Creek an innovative leader in the seedstock industry domestically and internationally. Mound Creek Ranch initiated a complete new genetics program in the mid ‘90s that is now their hallmark of quality Brangus genetics. Also, the Mound Creek program has a zero tolerance policy in the economically important areas of fertility, skeletal soundness, udder quality, and female accountability.

Not only did Blazek serve as president for the IBBA, but he has served as president for the Texas Brangus Breeders Association (TBBA) and several other regional associations as well. During his term as president, Blazek believed in effective leadership and made it a priority to unite the members of the association. In 2001, he was recognized by his peers as the IBBA Breeder of the Year. Outside of his involvement in the industry, Blazek participates in church missions and activities, and he helps develop programs that assist underprivileged youth.

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Georgia Cattleman Attends YCC Conference and Industry Tour

Andrew Conley, general manager at Blackwater Cattle Company in Lake Park, Ga.

Andrew Conley, general manager of Blackwater Cattle Company, was one of  more than 50 young cattlemen and women selected to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) 33rd Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC). Conley was sponsored by the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. The YCC program is a comprehensive, nationwide tour of beef industry sectors, created to enhance leadership skills in your beef industry professionals.

“YCC is a prestigious and competitive program designed to foster the future leadership of our industry,” said Forrest Roberts, NCBA chief executive officer. “The participants selected to attend YCC were chosen because of their exceptional contributions to the beef industry and their potential to be a strong voice in our future development. I look forward to seeing Andrew take an increased leadership role within NCBA and the beef industry.”

Conley grew up on a cow-calf operation in Blairsville, Ga., and was active in showing and judging livestock through 4-H. He attended Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College and Georgia Southern University.

Conley served the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association in 2011 as an Executive Committee Member and is currently the president of his local cattlemen’s association. Andrew also currently serves as General Manager at Blackwater Cattle Company in Lake Park, Ga., where he oversees 1,200 head of commercial and registered Brangus cattle.

His intensive management practices have helped his operation excel in many areas to include health and reproduction, as Conley practices cutting edge husbandry techniques. Blackwater has also held the distinction of hosting four high averaging bull sales within the Brangus breed. Conley said YCC was an opportunity to learn more about the issues facing the beef industry in order to be a better advocate back home. Conley’s hobbies include fishing and livestock auctioneering.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to meet other producers and learn valuable tools to take back home to our operations,” he said. “It’s great to learn how we as producers can have an impact on policy issues as well.”

The eight day tour began at NCBA headquarters in Denver, Colo., where participants were given an organizational overview of NCBA and the Beef Checkoff Program. While in Denver, the group also heard from representatives of Cattle Fax and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. They toured a Safeway retail store and learned about Rancher’s Reserve brand beef marketing efforts. The group spent a day in Greeley, Colo., visiting JBS Five Rivers feed yards and processing facilities.

“It is really important for participants to see each sector of the beef industry – from farm to fork,” said Conley. “Traveling from a cow/calf ranch to a feedlot and processing plant really drives home the point that our industry is composed of many sectors, sectors that are all striving to produce a healthy end product.”

In Chicago, the group met with the senior management of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange at the Chicago Board of Trade. They had the chance to watch the activity on the trading floor and witness futures trading firsthand. Participants also visited Otto & Sons Industries, a family owned company providing quality products and custom solutions for the food industry since 1909. This tour offered a view of how boxed beef is turned into custom order portions for both major restaurant chains and some of the nation’s top steakhouses.

The group then traveled to Washington, D.C., where participants were greeted at a reception hosted by John Deere. The following morning, the group received an issues briefing from NCBA’s government affairs staff about policy issues currently facing the cattle industry.

Later in the day, these future leaders were given the opportunity to visit one-on-one with members of their state’s congressional delegation, expressing their viewpoints regarding the beef industry and their cattle operations. During their congressional visits, participants focused on issues including the 2012 Farm Bill, federal lands ranching and overreaching regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The group then traveled to Aldie, Va., for a tour and barbeque at Whitestone Farms, one of the nation’s elite purebred Angus operations.

For more information on the YCC program or to nominate someone for next year’s tour, contact your state cattlemen’s association or Marvin Kokes at 303-850-3339 or mkokes@beef.org.

Visit the IBBA website at www.GoBrangus.com to learn more about commercial marketing programs and to find a Brangus breeder near you.

Spitzer Attends Elite Beef Industry Conference

Ben Spitzer IBBA’s Marketing Programs Director

WASHINGTON (June 8, 2012) – Ben Spitzer of the International Brangus Breeders Association, was one of  more than 50 young cattlemen and women selected to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) 33rd Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC). Spitzer was sponsored by the Texas Cattlemen’s Association. The YCC program is a comprehensive, nationwide tour of beef industry sectors, created to enhance leadership skills in your beef industry professionals.

“YCC is a prestigious and competitive program designed to foster the future leadership of our industry,” said Forrest Roberts, NCBA chief executive officer. “The participants selected to attend YCC were chosen because of their exceptional contributions to the beef industry and their potential to be a strong voice in our future development. I look forward to seeing Ben take an increased leadership role within NCBA and the beef industry.” 

Ben Spitzer grew up in the cattle business in a family where beef involvement goes back several generations and has included both commercial cattle and registered cattle of several breeds. Spitzer attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) and majored in Animal Science with an animal production emphasis. Upon graduation from OSU, he made the decision to continue his formal education at Colorado State University (CSU) and enrolled in the Integrated Resource Management Master’s Degree program in 2004.

Upon graduating from CSU, he accepted the position of Communications/Member Services Director with the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) in Denton, Texas. Spitzer then took the position of General Manager of Salacoa Valley Farms, Fairmount, Georgia in July of 2007. Finally in June of 2010, Spitzer accepted the position of Marketing Programs Director at the IBBA. In this position he oversees IBBA’s Commercial Marketing Programs as well as advertising and promotion of the Brangus breed.

Spitzer was a founding member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Young Producers Council (YPC) and served as the YPC delegate to the NCBA Membership Committee. He served as Chair of YPC in 2010 and in 2011 served in an advisory role to YPC as Immediate Past Chair.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to meet other producers and learn valuable tools to take back home to our operations,” he said. “It’s great to learn how we as producers can have an impact on policy issues as well.”

The eight day tour began at NCBA headquarters in Denver, Colo., where participants were given an organizational overview of NCBA and the Beef Checkoff Program. While in Denver, the group also heard from representatives of Cattle Fax and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. They toured a Safeway retail store and learned about Rancher’s Reserve brand beef marketing efforts. The group spent a day in Greeley, Colo., visiting JBS Five Rivers feed yards and processing facilities.

“It is really important for participants to see each sector of the beef industry – from farm to fork,” said Spitzer. “Traveling from a cow/calf ranch to a feedlot and processing plant really drives home the point that our industry is composed of many sectors, sectors that are all striving to produce a healthy end product.”

In Chicago, the group met with the senior management of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange at the Chicago Board of Trade. They had the chance to watch the activity on the trading floor and witness futures trading firsthand. Participants also visited Otto & Sons Industries, a family owned company providing quality products and custom solutions for the food industry since 1909. This tour offered a view of how boxed beef is turned into custom order portions for both major restaurant chains and some of the nation’s top steakhouses.

The group then traveled to Washington, D.C., where participants were greeted at a reception hosted by John Deere. The following morning, the group received an issues briefing from NCBA’s government affairs staff about policy issues currently facing the cattle industry.

Later in the day, these future leaders were given the opportunity to visit one-on-one with members of their state’s congressional delegation, expressing their viewpoints regarding the beef industry and their cattle operations. During their congressional visits, participants focused on issues including the 2012 Farm Bill, federal lands ranching and overreaching regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The group then traveled to Aldie, Va., for a tour and barbeque at Whitestone Farms, one of the nation’s elite purebred Angus operations.

For more information on the YCC program or to nominate someone for next year’s tour, contact your state cattlemen’s association or Marvin Kokes at 303-850-3339 or mkokes@beef.org.

Visit www.GoBrangus.com to learn more about Brangus marketing programs and take advantage of advertising opportunities.

From Kodi- “That’s Ranchlife”

Kodi the Cowdog

Kodi staying alert and guarding the ranch

Hi Y’all! Kodi here, head of security and all-around best pal at the Clem Ranch. It sure is a different June than this time last year when the drought already had us in its nasty grip. Mother Nature has been good to us lately, and we have been getting lots of rain, and all the ponds are overflowing. That is a good sight to see especially for my girls. They will have clean, fresh water to drink all summer long, and I will have plenty to run and splash in.

Now I haven’t gotten the swimming thing down just yet, but I sure do love to run along the edges of the ponds and splash in the cool water. When it rains and there are lots of puddles in the pasture, man oh man do I have fun in those. You know I just have to run sometimes, and when there is water to splash in well, that’s even better. I hit every puddle I come to going just as fast as my wiggly butt will take me and then head to the next one I see. Of course, when we get back to the house you know what’s coming my way, a bath of course. That’s ok though because by then I am ready for a little rest.

Since I am a little cowdog and have gotten pretty good at working with those critters, I have come to the conclusion that they do not always use good sense and can have a “mob” mentality after what happened the other afternoon. Now I do speak their language of “MOOOOOOO”, but even knowing that, nothing made sense about what they did. All started out great but went drastically downhill in a hurry. It was one of those days here in East Texas that made you want to be outside. There was sunshine, a blue, clear sky and a soft breeze blowing; it was that kind of day.

Well, Mama decided to go for a walk since we had been out of town for a couple of days and hadn’t gotten in our usual exercise routine. She called for me to see if I wanted to go, and of course I jumped at the chance. I knew that meant I would get to run and play and get in all the creeks and ponds we went by and bark at everything that moved. She and I took off leaving Daddy reading the paper and enjoying a cup of coffee out on the deck. Mama walked, and I ran and played until we noticed a group of cows and calves were following close behind. We were crossing a narrow dam when all those cows in that field came stampeding right up behind us. They were jumping and kicking and slipping and sliding. Mama yelled, and I ran toward them to try and get them to stop so they would not run us over. They stopped, but they all had that wild-eyed look on their faces. Mama called for me to come close to her, and we got off to the side of the dam as best we could to let them pass. They ran and jumped and bawled and bellowed and headed on to another field like the devil was behind them with a whip. I thought they were acting kind of crazy myself and for what reason. The grass was just as green where they had come from as it was where they were going.

Click here to continue reading and find out what happens to Kodi!