Past President Spotlight: John McKnight

John McKnight
President 1993-1994

 

IBBA President
1993-1994

John McKnight has extensive experience in a few different sectors of the beef cattle industry. He first began his ranching career more than 60 years ago in the commercial and registered Hereford business and kept thorough performance records on his herd. His knowledge of and experience reporting performance data would eventually prove beneficial in advancing the Brangus breed.

McKnight had his first hands-on experience with Brangus cattle when Spring Creek Ranch, a registered Brangus operation, moved their herd to Searcy, Ark., on some land neighboring McKnight’s. He said he was impressed with the breed’s adaptability and performance, and he started paying closer attention.

“I had always run commercial cattle with some Brahman influence and was familiar with Bos indicus cattle,” McKnight said. “I don’t think any breed does as well in the south and southeast as the Brangus breed.”

McKnight credits Joe Reznicek for getting him involved in the Brangus breed because of their similar opinions and perspectives on breeding cattle. McKnight bought his first registered Brangus bull from Reznicek after Reznicek began working at Cow Creek Ranch.

“We had similar views on cattle,” McKnight said, “and Joe was focused on producing cattle that could work good on forage, and before long, Brangus bulls were all I was using on my commercial cattle.”

McKnight said Bos indicus cattle have many advantageous qualities to provide to the beef cattle industry. He particularly emphasizes the Brangus female’s mothering ability and said when cattlemen begin to rebuild their herds, the Brangus cow will be desirable and in high demand.

“The Brangus commercial female will out perform any other breed with the beneficial mothering ability, longevity and parasite-resistance,” McKnight said. “The Brangus female fits our country and will out perform any other.”

After McKnight joined the IBBA membership in 1983, he served on a few committees and was instrumental in compiling and producing the first Sire Summary in which his experience with performance records proved beneficial. He was elected to the Board of Directors and served a term as the IBBA President in 1993-1994 while Neal Orth was IBBA’s Executive Vice President.

McKnight is well known for his support of the International Junior Brangus Breeders Association (IJBBA). He has dedicated his time and efforts to ensuring the youth’s success.

“It has always been a really good program and been a strongpoint for the Brangus breed,” McKnight said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have good leaders in the Junior association, and it has always been one of the best Junior programs of any breed association.”

McKnight said involvement in a youth program like the Junior association, allows students to develop a multitude of beneficial and necessary life skills. Participation in such organizations builds leadership, character and many other traits they will use throughout their careers, even if they choose to seek ventures outside the beef cattle industry.

Over the last 15 years, McKnight has focused primarily on raising Brangus commercial replacement heifers to supply to commercial cattlemen. He was recognized by the IBBA in 1996 as Breeder of the Year for his success in the seedstock industry, and in 2009, he was awarded the Commercial Producer of the Year award for his accomplished breeding program.

New Technologies and Old Techniques Key to Young Producer’s Success

By Brittni Drennan, IBBA Communications Coordinator

Most involved in the cattle industry are aware of a potential threat that began creeping up in the minds of producers across the nation and is gaining speed as it quickly approaches. The question lingering among farmers and producers is, “Who is going to lead the future of agriculture”?

While many producers are ready to hand down the reins of their operations, there are fewer young people willing to take over. However, that does not mean there are not still some out there willing to jump in and give it a try.

Brody Wallis grew up in Atoka located in southeastern Oklahoma and was always drawn to the agriculture industry. He was raised on his family’s small ranch in which a commercial cow-calf operation was in place to manage the property as well as keep family ties to the cattle industry. He then began taking more of an interest in the cattle operation as he was exposed to agriculture through 4-H and showing cattle throughout high school in FFA. He especially enjoyed visiting relatives on larger cattle operations in north Texas where he was able to watch and learn how large-scale commercial cattle ranches operated.

Wallis started college at Oklahoma State University with the intent of practicing large animal veterinary medicine. He later decided that he wanted to be in the beef industry in another capacity. He changed his Animal Science option from pre-vet to business and began taking classes in economics and range management to gain knowledge that would prepare him for a future in the cattle industry. His formal education helped Wallis form the basis for a small herd of cows on his family ranch.

“As a long-term goal, I want to be a producer who can make a positive impact in the industry,” Wallis said. “With an aging industry and aging producers, there are going to be more opportunities for young producers to introduce new ideas and perspectives to advance and grow the industry all while maintaining the values and beliefs that leaders ahead of us instilled.”

Wallis grew up around commercial cow-calf operations, but when he went to college one of his goal was to diversify himself within the beef industry. He worked for the OSU purebred cattle operation while obtaining his bachelor’s degree as well as worked for a year in the OSU meat laboratory on the campus in Stillwater. To gain valuable experience in the cattle feeding industry he worked as an intern for JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding LLC in Hartley, Texas. Wallis is now about to complete his master’s degree at OSU in animal science specializing in ruminant nutrition while doing his research in grazing stocker cattle and subsequent feedyard performance.

“As young people in the industry, we can bring advanced technologies and higher education back to introduce to the operation,” Wallis said. “And with my background and the mentors I’ve had, I want to provide quality genetics to commercial producers whether it’s Brangus bulls and females or crossbred females.

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NJBS 2012 Show Results

This year’s National Junior Brangus Show (NJBS) reported having an increase in the number of participants, and the quality of the entries far exceeded anyone’s expectations. Thank you to the sponsors and friends of the breed who helped make the NJBS another success and a great experience for those involved.

The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) reported 96 Junior members representing nine states participated in the week of events. Thirty of those participants were first-time exhibitors compiling a total of 168 entries.

“Really do marvel at the fact that the Brangus association kicks out so many good kids year after year after year that go on and contribute in so many avenues of our beef cattle industry,” said Aaron Cooper who judged the Bred and Owned Show.

Complete NJBS results, TBBA State Show results and Banquet Awards are published in the August issue of the Brangus Journal which can be viewed online at http://gobrangus.com/brangus-publications/.

Watch the videos posted below of the Owned Show and the Bred and Owned Show to see who was selected as Grand and Reserve Champion and hear judges’ comments on the quality of cattle and our youth.

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