Past IJBBA President Spotlight: Stacy Hayes

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

Stacy Sproul Hayes
IJBBA President 2000-2001

Like many juniors who grow up in the International Junior Brangus Breeders Association (IJBBA), Stacy Sproul Hayes has extensive experience in the Brangus breed having been involved in her family’s registered Brangus operation in Isabella, Okla. Hayes was initially involved in the Oklahoma Junior Brangus Association, which led to her involvement at the national level, and she served as the IJBBA President on the Board of Directors in 2000-2001.

Sproul Brangus was a partnership between Hayes’ dad, Ron, and his brother, Wally. She traveled, hauled, showed with and competed against her brothers, Scott and Clint, and her cousins, Andy and Emily. The operation truly was a family affair, and they shared in each other’s accomplishments and big wins.

“Between five kids and one herd, I was just as excited when my cousins or brothers won as when I won,” Hayes said. “I was very fortunate that we didn’t have to go out and buy a lot of show cattle. We bred and raised them on our own operation, and that was a true blessing, I feel, for a ranch to support five kids showing very competitively where so many lessons were learned.”

In 1996, Hayes won Supreme Champion at the National Junior Brangus Show (NJBS) in Kansas City after winning her division and the Grand Champion Owned Female. The female was one that she and her family bred and raised. She also won Reserve Champion Senior Calf in the Owned Show in Lake Charles in 2000. But, the family was involved in more than just the show ring.

“I was as involved as one possibly could be,” Hayes recalled. “I was on the board for a long time, and I really enjoyed every minute of it. My first National Junior Brangus Show was in 1990 in Wichita, Kan., and I didn’t miss a national show until after my last one in 2002.”

Hayes was crowned the IBBA Queen in 1998-1999 and served on the Board of Directors in numerous capacities from 1997 to 2002. She participated in almost every contest she could including the poster contest, quiz bowl and salesmanship in which she was most competitive. Hayes said she gained so many opportunities and learned many life lessons while serving on the junior board.

“I feel like it helped me be a more outgoing person, and now I can walk into a situation and meet people,” Hayes said. “I moved from Oklahoma to Louisiana, and being involved in the IJBBA has helped me feel more comfortable being exposed to new and different situations. I even learned about the small things; the board taught me how to host meetings, travel as a group, navigate yourself around new places and how to be independent.”

Hayes obtained a degree in Elementary Education from Oklahoma State University in 2005. She now lives in Kinder, La., with her husband, Cody, and two young boys, Guy (six) and Gage (three), where she teaches fifth grade reading. The Hayes family lives on Cody’s family’s rice farm and is involved in showing pigs at the national level. Guy also has a steer he will show at Southern University in the spring after he turns seven.

“My goal was to be a positive role model for the kids I was setting an example for,” Hayes said. “Get involved and meet people both inside and outside your state because those people will remain contacts, and you just don’t know who you might need one day. Step out of your comfort zones and try new things because you never know what great experiences you might have.”

For more information about IBBA’s past presidents, visit www.GoBrangus.com/member.

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IBBA Recognizes Industry Leaders at Annual Convention

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) welcomed IBBA members, convention participants, and more than 200 international guests to Houston February 27 – March 2, 2013, for the IBBA Annual Convention hosted in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

During the convention banquet Friday, March 1, the IBBA recognized three influential industry members for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the Brangus breed.

Dr. Vineyard receives the Pioneer Award from John McKnight

John McKnight (left) presents Dr. Robert Vineyard with the Pioneer Award

The Pioneer Award recognizes an IBBA member, past or present, for his/her service, loyalty and contributions to the Brangus breed. Robert S. Vineyard, D.D.S., owner of Vineyard Cattle Company (VCC) in Wharton, Texas, was the recipient of this year’s award in recognition for more than 40 years of leadership and devotion to the breed, which still continues today. Vineyard was among the first breeders to utilize technologies such as embryo transfer, ultrasound, Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), and his Breeding Up to Brangus program has allowed VCC to introduce productive new genetics. He has served the IBBA in numerous capacities and was a past recipient of the Breeder of the Year award in 1989.

Bill Morrison receives the Breeder of the Year award from Larry Parker and other Brangus friends

Bill Morrison (second from right) receives the Breeder of the Year award from Larry Parker and other Brangus friends

Bill Morrison of Clovis, N.M., was the recipient of the 2013 Breeder of the Year award. Morrison has been in the Brangus business for 32 years and has been a partner with Joe Paul and Rosie Lack for the past 21 years who together own and manage Lack-Morrison Brangus. Morrison was born in Silver City, N.M., and grew up on his family’s diary operation in Hanover, N.M. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from New Mexico State University and has taught high school agriculture and been an FFA advisor for 35 years and retired six years ago. Currently, the Lack-Morrison Brangus operation includes 100 registered cows and markets 25 to 30 bulls annually.

Joy Reznicek presents Wes Williamson with the Commercial Producer of the Year award

Joy Reznicek presents Wes Williamson with the Commercial Producer of the Year award

The 2013 Commercial Cattleman of the Year award was given to Frank Wesley “Wes” Williamson, III, a third generation cattleman from Florida. Williamson Cattle Company, where Williamson is president, is a 60-year-old family owned and operated diverse agriculture operation managing approximately 10,000 head of cattle on 75,000 acres on the ranch headquarters in Okeechobee, Fla., as well as on ranches in Alabama and Texas. Their beef cattle business is complemented by citrus operations in Florida and catfish production in Alabama. Williamson has received state and national recognition for his environmental stewardship, leadership abilities and service to the industry.

“I think we found three very deserving recipients for these awards,” said Larry Parker, Chairman of the Awards Committee. “We are pleased to be able to recognize them and their accomplishments.”

Award recipients are nominated and selected by the IBBA Awards Committee and recognized annually at the IBBA Convention. See highlights in photos on the GoBrangus Facebook page. Please visit www.gobrangus.com for more information.

The Showman

This year will mark the 47th consecutive year of the International Brangus Show in Houston, Texas, where showman, cattlemen, producers and cattle enthusiasts from all over the world will gather to marvel at the best show cattle in the breed. Almost 50 years of tradition and fellowship follow the Brangus activities in Houston. This feature highlights a great showman and Brangus producer and was initially published in the January 2013 issue of the Brangus Journal.

Myron Saathoff5_1.2013 BJ_72dpi

Myron Saathoff enters the show ring grasping a lead rope in one hand and a show stick in the other trailing a line of perfectly fitted Brangus heifers. At the other end of the halter, Pearl glides alongside Saathoff following his directions. After getting set, Saathoff anxiously awaits the judge’s selection, knowing his heifer is bound to receive the prized purple banner.

Saathoff has stepped foot into many show rings over the last 40 years and is no stranger to the winner’s circle. He initially began showing heifers and steers in high school through FFA while growing up in Hondo, Texas. Now after two back surgeries, one hip replacement, and countless ribbons and awards won, Saathoff is unsure of how many more times he will be able to return to the show ring.

The earlier account was one of the most memorable moments of Saathoff’s show career. Pearl was the offspring of a champion that Saathoff bred and raised at JLS, Pearl’s dam, Tally, was awarded Show Heifer of the Year in 2003-2004, winning three of four major shows that year. Pearl was named International Champion and Show Heifer of the Year in 2009. The very next year, Tally had another daughter, Kelly, who was also an International Champion.

“I like being able to work with show cattle and demonstrate what you’re breeding and what you’re producing,” Saathoff explained. “It’s a way to advertise and showcase your operation to the public and showcase your best cattle.”

Myron Saathoff3_1.2013 BJ_72dpiUpon graduating from high school, Saathoff attended Texas Lutheran College in Seguin, Texas, on a baseball and football scholarship and finished at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He then began working at the local auction barn where his father worked before transitioning to the ranch management sector. He first worked for Larry Blackman of B2B Farms at 20 years old. He got involved in showing again this time in open shows. It was at B2B farms that Saathoff used Big Sir 75/6 and Justana 40/8 as clean up bulls, two of the Brangus foundation sires of today. Big Sir was the grand sire of Titan, who was the sire of Transformer, Big Sir also sired General, one of the maternal foundation sires of the breed. Justana was the foundation sire of Robert Vineyard’s 100 family. Both of these bulls can be found somewhere in most pedigrees popular today.

After working for B2B Farms, Saathoff managed several other operations including Escoba, T Diamond, Star J Ranch, and Star Creek Ranch owned by Curly Taylor where all the Brinks 392 progeny was developed. Saathoff tried his hand in sale management and consulting before settling in at JLS International owned by Jeff Smtih located near Devine, Texas. Now almost 13 years later, Smith and Saathoff together have more than 70 years of experience in the Brangus seedstock business.

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Past President Spotlight: Dale Kirkham

Dale KirkhamPresident 2009-2010

Dale Kirkham
President 2009-2010

It was not until 1989 this past president first started registering Brangus cattle and became a member of the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA). But once he had the opportunity, Dale Kirkham, who served as the 2009-2010 IBBA President, was eager to learn more about the breed and quickly became involved in the industry.

A Kansas native growing up on a diversified crop and livestock farm, Kirkham had little exposure to purebred cattle during his childhood. He worked in a sale barn and helped the neighbors with their cattle during his college days. However, it was not until 1984 that Kirkham gained familiarity with Brangus cattle.

Kirkham attended college at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kans., and after obtaining graduate degrees at the University of Wyoming and University of Missouri, he taught at small colleges in Indiana and southwest Missouri. After six years of teaching, Kirkham made a big decision to change careers and moved back to Kansas to begin working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). After working at three other locations, he moved to Eureka in 1983.  A year later, an operation called Brinks Brangus started leasing the ranch where Kirkham was living at the time. With the help of other Brangus breeders, Kirkham launched his own Brangus operation.

“I wanted to get into the cattle business, and I bought my first cows in 1985 at a sale in Manhattan with the intention of running a commercial operation,” Kirkham said. “Fellow Brangus breeders Ray Thompson and Ken Hughes encouraged me to get started with Brangus and helped me implement AI techniques.”

Beginning in 1990, Vern Suhn, former manager of Brinks Brangus, assisted Kirkham with genetic breeding decisions and offered advice on purchasing cattle. Kirkham said he used AI techniques and heifer synchronization to manage his small herd and implemented intensive grazing management practices.

“It’s important to maintain cattle on forages that are already available instead of relying on supplemental feeds and feedstuffs,” Kirkham said. “There are too many cattle that are pampered and can’t hold their own when they go out to the commercial man.”

After Kirkham started his own operation, he joined his dad and brother in stocker and feeder cattle operations for several years from 1985 to the early 2000’s. He said this gave him a different perspective on other segments of the beef industry, allowing him to better understand his customers’ needs. In order to gain more knowledge about the breed, Kirkham said everyone should have diverse experiences and seek out opportunities beyond their own surroundings. Kirkham suggests visiting with other breeders about what they are doing on their operations to gain inspiration, new ideas, and more insight of the beef industry.

The IBBA hosts the largest gathering of Brangus producers and IBBA members in February at the Annual Convention and Global Brangus Roundup, in which Kirkham is a frequent participant. Kirkham said the convention provides breeders the opportunity to have an active role in the association and allows for better communication among members.

“Convention gives you a perspective of how the association operates,” Kirkham said. “I never walked away without gaining more enthusiasm about what I was doing on my own operation. Everybody out there, breeders both large and small, has different ideas, and you never know what idea will be the one that moves the breed and association forward.”

Kirkham said the biggest thing he learned from serving on the Board of Directors was the versatility of the IBBA membership because members came from all over the country with different needs and desires. He advises leaders to look at the big picture and see how decisions affect everyone.

“What the guy from Georgia wants is different from what the guy from Kansas wants,” Kirkham said. “It’s a challenge to make sure everybody is communicating and keeping everyone informed about what’s going on. Firsthand participation in open discussions is a good path to effective communication. The convention provides a great way to communicate with others in the breed and with the staff. I think we underestimate the value of face-to-face communication.”

Kirkham currently serves on the IBBA’s commercial marketing committee and is actively involved in both the Oklahoma Brangus Breeders Association and the Heart of America Brangus Breeders Association. You can find Kirkham at the upcoming IBBA Convention in February.

 

Note: It’s not too late to register for the 2013 IBBA Annual Convention. Visit GoBrangus.com to download a registration form and a schedule of events

2012 Beef Tips Blog in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Southern Accent Farm Receives Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

Tallahassee, FL– Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam recognized Allen and Nicki Smith, owners and operators of Southern Accent Farm of Okeechobee, Fla., as the recipients of the 2012 Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award. Sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the award recognizes agricultural enterprises that demonstrate leadership in developing and implementing innovated and progressive techniques to safeguard the environment and conserve natural resources.

“Agriculture is not your stereotypical Norman Rockwell painting,” said Commissioner Putnam. “These operations are just two examples of how the industry is using high-tech solutions and innovation to maintain its position as one of the state’s strongest economic pillars, but also ensure that the natural resources Florida is known for are available for generations to come.”

Southern Accent Farm is a purebred Brangus and commercial cattle operation, which utilizes a full suite of water quality best management practices, allowing the farm to harness the natural pressure of an artesian well to supply a series of water troughs to their pastures. The ranch is also home to the largest commercial solar array in the glades Electric Coops territory, producing enough electricity for the operations of the 824-acre ranch.

Commissioner Putnam recognized Southern Accent Farm as well as Deroose Plants, Inc., with the awards at the Florida Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Annual Meeting October 24-26, 2012, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Thanks to the Florida Department of Agriculture for recognizing the Smiths and for providing the media content. For more information about the Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award, visit www.florida-agriculture.com/business/awards/agenviron/.

Visit www.GoBrangus.com to learn more about the benefits of Brangus genetics.

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Successful Brangus Producer Knows What Customers Want

By Brittni Drennan, IBBA Communications Coordinator

Don and Sherry Atkinson

Anyone who is an expert in marketing will tell you the key to a successful marketing plan is to know your audience. When you know who your audience is, you can better serve them and market a product that fits their needs. Don Atkinson may not claim to be an expert in marketing, but he knows exactly who his customers are and what kind of product will fit the needs of their operation.

“I want my customers to be successful in their endeavors,” Atkinson said. “I know my product and offer customers one type of cow that can thrive in their environment.”

A fourth generation cattleman, Atkinson knew at an early age what his calling was in life. Running cattle has always been a staple and a way of life in his family. Atkinson partnered with his father until his passing in 2001, and Atkinson took full ownership of the business and began ranching full time. His ultimate goal is to be remembered for creating a mother cow that thrives in her environment and maintains longevity.

Together, Atkinson and his wife of almost five years, Sherry, run 240 commercial Brangus cows and some registered Brangus cattle in Mullins, S.C. Atkinson switched to breeding Brangus when he bought his first bull in 1990 from Graham DuBose and John Spitzer. After breeding his commercial herd to the Brangus bull, he realized the advantages Brangus genetics had to offer, especially for the environment he was surrounded by near the east coast.

“People need to take advantage of crossbreeding to take advantage of all the opportunities hybrid vigor provides,” Atkinson said. “Crossbreeding allows producers to incorporate all the benefits of improved weaning weights, milk, [intramuscular fat] IMF and others.”

Shortly after buying his first bull and being pleased with his results, Atkinson went to Cow Creek’s Brangus sale in Mocksville, N.C., where he was introduced to Joe Reznicek’s breeding program. Atkinson has now been using genetics from Cow Creek for the last 21 years by utilizing artificial insemination (AI) techniques.

In 2010, Atkinson began breeding his Brangus cows to a registered Angus bull to create Ultrablack calves, following Reznicek’s model. According to Atkinson, his customers in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama want purebred Brangus to perform better in a harsher climate. However, Ultrablack cattle enable him to market his Brangus genetics to his customers farther north of the Gulf Coast states.

2012 Weaned Heifer Crop

“If I’m selling to a breeder in Florida, they need to be Brangus to withstand the heat and humidity,” Atkinson said. “Here, not as many people take advantage of the heat tolerance that Brangus provide. They want Ultrablack bulls with a little less percentage Brahman blood. Registered Ultrablacks allow us to introduce Brangus genetics to those who are skeptical.”

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