Terri Barber elected American Hereford Association president

Farm Forum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Terri Barber, Channing, Texas, was announced as the new president of the American Hereford Association (AHA) during the Annual Membership Meeting Oct. 28 in Kansas City, Mo.

Barber has been involved in the Hereford business since birth. Her family owns and operates Barber Ranch, Channing, Texas.

“Serving as our AHA president is a prestigious honor that both humbles and inspires me to serve our membership in the most effective and enlightened way possible,” Barber said. “One of the most rewarding opportunities all members of AHA can experience is serving your membership on the Board of Directors. There’s no better way to learn, grow and contribute to the all-important decision making processes that have and will continue to make our breed prosperous. Special thanks to those who invested your confidence and trust in my leadership when being elected to the Board in 2013 as well as your president this year.”

Founded in 1904, Barber Ranch was a 2004 honoree of the Texas Family Land Heritage Program for being in continuous family ownership for 100 years. Herefords have been the mainstay of the Barber program since the beginning, with the herd currently consisting of 350 registered females.

Barber said as president, she plans to continue to focus on programs that will help Hereford breeders produce genetics that will benefit from economically relevant traits highly sought in all industry segments.

“Our priority in genotyping to identify genetics that can build profitability will remain center plate as well as providing our staff and allied leaders the resources to maintain efficiency of member services,” Terri says. “Marketing value-based programs will also be a key component to ensuring Herefords are committed to industry demands whereby growing our Certified Hereford

Beef (CHB) brand. Equally important will be supporting our junior members, Hereford Youth Foundation of America and National Hereford Women affiliates and their unparalleled growth in ensuring the next generation stays committed and successful.”

The Barber family uses extensive artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET) in their efforts to offer customers the best genetics available. They host an annual bull sale in November in San Saba – the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Show heifer and donor prospects are sold in special sales in the spring and fall. To increase marketing efforts, the Barbers also exhibit at the national shows.

Along with assisting on the ranch as time permits, since 2007 Terri works for Elanco Animal Health as a territory manager in the Southwest region, including El Paso and New Mexico. She has also served as Elanco’s branded beef marketing associate and has worked directly with premier branded programs in the U.S.

“Every single person involved in our present state of success should be commended and thanked for their contributions in this monumental state of achievements in the Hereford breed,” Barber said.

“While we continue our growth and enviable positioning within the beef industry, we cannot lose sight of the dynamic efforts we have taken to position us where we are today, nor shall we become complacent,” Barber said. “Our breed is in what I would term as the best it’s ever been in my lifetime. It is with great gratitude and respect I thank those who have served on this AHA Board and staff for allowing me, my family and all of us in this rewarding business today to enjoy our livelihoods. I look forward to a phenomenal year of growth, profitability and success for all entities involved.”

Schultz selected vice president

Selected to serve as the 2016 vice president was Kevin Schultz, Haviland, Kan. Schultz manages his family’s Sandhill Farms, a seven-generation, diversified farming and cattle operation. Hereford cattle have been bred on their land since the mid-1900s.

The cow herd includes about 300 cows. With the maturity of Conservation Reserve Program acres, the Schultz family is in an expansion phase. Through the use of embryo transfer (ET), approximately 200 of the calves are registered, and the balance will be purebred commercial. The commercial cows have been purebred Hereford since the mid-1940s.

The family has fed out its steers at commercial feedlots for the past 15-20 years. Feedlot performance data, as well as individual carcass data, have been collected and tracked.

In 2008 the family started a spring bull sale. In the sale, all 5-year-old cows that are pregnant with heifer calves sell.

The Schultz family also sells commercial open heifers and customer-owned black baldie heifers each year in the sale. Sandhill genetics have been part of the National Reference Sire Program (NRSP) and the Circle A Ranch heterosis project. Schultz uses these programs to increase the accuracy and predictability of his bulls and to identify outliers that will help move the breed in the desired direction. Sandhill Farms is a Gold TPR Breeder; the family has been whole-herd reporting since the beginning of its registered cattle program.

Schultz was a longtime member of the Kansas Polled Hereford Association, serving multiple terms on the board and as president. He is a current member of the Kansas Hereford Association. In 2004, he was AHA’s nominee to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Sandhill Farms was honored with the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Seedstock Producer of the Year Award in 2010. Kevin and his wife, Vera, have three children — Brooke, Tyler and Courtney.

Directors elected

Delegates elected three new directors during the membership meeting. Joel Birdwell, Kingfisher, Okla.; Tommy Mead, Midville, Ga.; and Bruce Thomas, Gold Creek, Mont., will serve four-year terms on the 12-member Board.

Completing their terms on the AHA Board were outgoing president Sam Shaw, Caldwell, Idaho; Curtis Curry, McAlester, Okla.; and Jonny Harris, Screven, Ga.

Joel Birdwell

Hereford breeder Joel Birdwell, Kingfisher, Okla., grew up on a ranch in southwest Oklahoma, where his family homesteaded 114 years ago.

Birdwell raised and showed Hereford cattle in his youth and was involved in the state and national junior Hereford programs. He attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) and was a member of the 1995 livestock judging team.

Upon graduation, Birdwell was hired by OSU to manage its purebred beef cattle herd, which consisted of 500 purebred cows and five breeds. He was responsible for managing the artificial AI and embryo transfer ET programs, the student workforce, and the annual production sale.

In 2002, Birdwell and his wife, Bridget, moved to Kingfisher to help expand Bridget’s family’s farming and cattle operation. They run approximately 2,000 head of stocker cattle annually that graze winter wheat. They also have more than 400 commercial cows and utilize a three-breed cross breeding rotation of Hereford, Angus and Charolais genetics.

Birdwell partners with his father on 300 registered Hereford and Angus cows, which are on the family ranch in Fletcher, Okla. They utilize AI and calve both in the spring and the fall. Approximately 100 head of bulls and females are marketed through their production sale hosted in February as well as through private treaty.

Birdwell’s focus is to raise bulls and females that excel in the economically important traits — calving ease, marbling, fertility, fleshing ability and rapid growth to a moderate mature size.

Birdwell has also followed in his father’s footsteps and has been growing his purebred auction business for the past 10 years.

He is a member of the Oklahoma Hereford Association and has served as a voting delegate for the AHA Annual Meeting. Birdwell is also involved in the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association as district director and the American Quarter Horse Association and is president of the Kingfisher County Cattlemen’s Association.

In his community, Birdwell is a member of the First Baptist Church and is on the grounds and property committee. Birdwell and his wife have three sons, Jarret, 14, Judson, 12 and Jhett, 9.

Tommy Mead

Involved in the Hereford business since his youth, Mead and his wife, Valarie, own and operate Mead Cattle Enterprises in Midville, Ga.

Mead purchased his first registered Hereford in 1977, and at the age of 12, he began showing Herefords in 4-H. Although he has always lived in Burke County, he has a broad base of experience managing complex issues in both large and small operations. Mead manages the day-to-day operation of Mead Cattle Enterprises.

Mead Cattle consists of a base herd of 250 registered Hereford cattle, and it produces an additional 150 ET calves each year. Mead manages a vigorous ET program that flushes every five weeks from October to June. Semen and embryos are sold around the globe.

Mead began marketing cattle through production sales in 1985, and in 2000 the first Mead Program Sale was hosted at the farm. In 2017 Mead Cattle Enterprises will host its 17th sale on Memorial Day.

In 2009 Mead Cattle received the Conservationist of the Year award from the Brier Creek Soil and Water Conservation District.

Mead was a National Junior Hereford Association member for nine years, has been a member of the Georgia Hereford Association for more than 30 years, served two terms as its president, has been its sale chairman and has hosted and facilitated field days.

He has been involved with national, state and county shows not only as a member, but as a father, volunteer and sponsor. Mead and his daughter, Tommie Lynn, have attended many junior events at the state and national level.

Mead has served on the boards for the Burke and Jefferson County Cattlemen’s Associations and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, and is a 4-H advisor and consultant. Mead and Valarie have four children, Tommie Lynne Mead, C.W. Walker, Katelyn Walker and Jackson Walker.

Bruce Thomas

Montana Hereford breeder Bruce Thomas has been involved in the Hereford industry since birth. Thomas and his wife, Tammy; son, Kurt and his wife, Jessica; and his parents, Richard and Shirley, manage Thomas Herefords, Gold Creek, Mont.

The family’s registered Hereford operation began in 1957 and Thomas was brought up in the business. In the late 1970s, he started Thomas Custom Fitting, in which he fed, fit and showed Hereford cattle across the United States, culminating with winning grand champion horned female at the1984 National Western Stock Show. As his family began to grow, Thomas dissolved this business to be home with his family.

He then started a 25-year career in the timber and sawmill industry while helping with the day-to-day responsibilities of the ranch. During this time, Thomas had numerous responsibilities including being in charge of ranch sales, managing the operation’s human resources and ensuring the safety of 150 employees.

In the 1970s Thomas Herefords began to use AI, but the ranch became aggressive in using this technology in the 1990s when the Thomases also started to utilize expected progeny differences (EPDs).

Today Thomas Herefords maintains 250 head of registered Hereford cows and markets cattle private treaty throughout the United States and other countries. The ranch sells 75 bulls and more than 50 head of females annually. Its partnership with Accelerated Genetics has provided an opportunity for domestic and international semen sales.

The focus of Thomas Herefords is to develop cattle to meet the needs of commercial customers by producing sound, efficient cattle that can excel in all segments of the beef industry.

Thomas is a member of the Montana Hereford Association and has served numerous terms on the board of directors and held various officer positions including treasurer for the 2016 Montana Hereford Association Tour. He has also served as an advisor for the Montana Junior Hereford Association.

Currently, Thomas is vice chairman of the Watershed Restoration Coalition of the Upper Clark Fork River and is on the Powell County Planning Board. He is also a member of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Clark Fork City Church.

Bruce and Tammy have three children — Kurt and his wife Jessica, Amber and her husband Travis, and Heather and her husband Ben — and five grandchildren.