Beef Industry Vision Awards Announced
DENVER - The 2008 Beef Industry Vision Awards, presented by the National Cattlemen's Foundation, were announced Saturday at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Reno, Nev. The recipients were Robert Bruner, Bruner Angus Ranch, Huntsville, Texas; Paul Engler, Catus Feeders, Amarillo, Texas; James Herring, Friona Feedyard, Amarillo, Texas; Jackie Moore and Steve Owens, Joplin Regional Stockyards, Joplin, Mo.; H-E-B, San Antonio, Texas and Eldon Roth, Beef Products, Inc., Dakota Dunes, S.D.
The Vision Award, sponsored by Micro Beef Technologies, recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations in the cattle industry who have incorporated innovation into their operation in an effort to enhance not only their business, but also the industry as a whole. The award honors winners in all segments of the beef industry: cow/calf operation, feeding operation, livestock market, packer/processor and retail. Nominees were evaluated on the basis of effective use of technology, impact on production costs, ingenuity of implementation, innovative marketing, impact on the industry and optimum resource management.
The Vision Award is a pewter Longhorn piece designed by Kenneth Wyatt, Tulia, Texas, and serves as a tribute to the accomplishments of the recipients. In presenting the awards, National Cattlemen’s Foundation trustee and CEO of Micro Beef Technologies, Mark Shaw stated, “The Longhorn is a symbol of the Old West and represents the heritage and origin of the North American beef industry. The longhorn personifies the hardy characteristics of the Vision Award winners, which are grit, foundation, intelligence and strength.”
Cow/Calf Winner – Robert Bruner, Huntsville, Texas
More than 15 years ago, Robert Bruner recognized that raising quality Angus cattle was just the beginning of his contribution to the beef industry. He had the vision to realize that the industry had to get out of the "box" with regard to how young herd sires were developed and marketed. His drive was the source of momentum to establish the Beef Development Center of Texas. The success of the center led to a partnership with Texas A&M University to first utilize the Grow Safe System out of Canada to identify superior genetic merit for feed efficiency in bulls. The work that Robert has taken on will pay dividends to every producer in years to come. As he says, “We need to re-tool in every area of our business. Selecting bulls for feed efficiency was a good idea with $2.50 corn prices, and it is a great idea with $5.00 corn!”
Feeding Operation Winner (1 of 2 – tie) - Paul Engler, Cactus Feeders, Amarillo, Texas
Paul Engler is founder and chairman of Cactus Feeders. Engler has successfully built one of the largest cattle feeding companies in the U.S., at over half a million head one-time capacity. In addition to U.S. feedyards, Cactus also operates three ranches encompassing over 140,000 acres; raising over 30,000 head of stockers per year and 2,000 mother cows. The industry recognizes Engler for many of his accomplishments including the development of value-based marketing, enabling marketing processes that reward quality, consistency and signal true animal value throughout the beef chain. He is credited, along with others, with the introduction of large-scale commercial cattle feeding to the Texas Panhandle, resulting in an area today that produces over 25 percent of the nation’s beef supply. The Engler family developed the Cactus Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Through this plan, each of the more than 500 Cactus Feeders employees is an owner in the business. So every day, the decisions—big and small—are made by the owners of Cactus Feeders.
Feeding Operation Winner (2 of 2 – tie) - James Herring, Friona Industries, Amarillo, Texas
James Herring, President and CEO of Friona Industries, Amarillo, Texas, heads the fourth largest cattle feeding operation in the United States. Herring is recognized for his contribution to developing and implementing a vertically-aligned production system that creates a consistent, reliable, safe, tender and flavorful fresh branded product that is marketed in the top retail stores in the United States. Friona Industries began with the opening of the Friona Feedyard in 1962. Since then, the company has grown to four state-of-the-art feedyards with a total one-time feeding capacity of over 275,000 head. This production system facilitates the link between the cow/calf sector and the consumer at the retail level. Their philosophy remains the same...do the job right to help our customers make the most of their cattle investment.
Livestock Market Winner- Jackie Moore and Steve Owens, Joplin Regional Stockyards, Joplin, Mo.
Joplin Regional Stockyards owners Jackie Moore and Steve Owens built their new facility in 1995 and now own one of the most innovative market operations in the country. Joplin Regional Stockyards can hold up to 10,000 cattle and features a state-of-the-art sale ring. With a restaurant overlooking the 305 theater-style seats, the barn is very modern and producer-focused with drive-through unloading and 18 back-up docks. Value-added components are the signature of this livestock market. They include automated co-mingling to standardize lots that can be sorted up to 80 ways, video sales, and an extensive RFID (radio frequency identification) program. This market was the first to obtain USDA’s QSA (source and age verification) certification, allowing it to assist its customers in qualifying cattle for export to Japan. Former NCBA President Mike John, Huntsville, Mo., stated, “Jackie is one of the most producer-oriented market managers I’ve ever run into. He believes it is his mission to keep small producers in business through producer education and by helping them adapt to change for their benefit.”
Retail Winner – H-E-B
H-E-B is a privately held food, drug and general merchandise company with 305 stores in Texas and Mexico. In business since 1905, H-E-B is known for its customer service, low prices and friendly shopping. Living up to its slogan, Here Everything’s Better, H-E-B has a commitment to provide a shopping experience that is relevant to the customers in each and every neighborhood they serve. H-E-B’s innovative model in retail marketing has made them a leader in our industry. By customizing their meat case for the communities they serve, cuts of beef are matched to the consumer in specific markets. The H-E-B strategy has appeal to consumers, but it also has appeal to cattlemen, as H-E-B is works to ensure that consumers of all demographic types have access specifically to the type of beef product they prefer and at the price point their budget allows. The H-E-B strategy keeps beef front and center in the consumers mind and on their table and that’s good for cattlemen everywhere.
Packer/Processor Winner - Eldon Roth, Beef Products, Inc., Dakota Dunes, S.D.
Eldon Roth founded Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) headquartered in Dakota Dunes, S.D., in 1981 and has since built plants in Amarillo, Texas, Finney County, Kan., Waterloo, Iowa, and South Sioux City, Neb. Eldon developed a sophisticated process to convert low-value beef trimmings into a 95 percent lean beef product. The products from this process create over $250 million in added value to U.S. beef annually. BPI produces over seven million pounds of boneless lean beef per week, making BPI the world’s leading producer of boneless beef. In addition to these pioneering efforts and advanced technologies, BPI maintains its long-term focus on safety and has received numerous awards for its role in advancing the safety of beef. Eldon has a strong commitment of giving back to the industry. The Beef Bucks program in South Dakota, which promotes the beef industry and consumer education, notes that Roth’s support of its programs has been unparalleled. With a desire for excellence in everything he does, his saying of “Communicate and Cooperate” is firmly embedded in the minds of all BPI employees.