Red Angus honors members at national convention

The Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) honored members and industry friends at the 2011 Red Angus National Convention held in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Complete press releases on each of the award winners are available by clicking on the award name. Photos are available as indicated.

Breeder of the Year – Ludvigson Stock Farms of Cushing, Iowa, and Billings, Mont.
Pioneer Breeder of the Year – Leland Red Angus of Sidney, Mont.
John V. Robbins Distinguished Service – Martin Morgan of Leicester, N.C.
Commercial Producer of the Year – Kenansville Cattle Co. of St. Cloud, Fla.
Commercial Producer of the Year – Sun Ag, Inc. of Fellsmere, Fla.
Industry Service – Superior Livestock of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Greeley, Colo.
International Service – Doug Fee of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Melvin Leland Innovative Leadership – Melvin Leland of Sidney, Mont.
Personality of the Year – Mark Moxley of West Friendship, Md.
Outstanding Junior Member – Cassie Kniebel of White City, Kan.

 


Ludvigson Stock Farms honored as Breeder of the Year

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Ludvigson Stock Farms of Cushing, Iowa, and Billings, Mont., received the Breeder of the Year Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Craig Bieber of Leola, S.D., presented the award to the Ludvigson family.

“The Breeder of the Year Award best exemplifies the core values of the RAAA,” said Bieber. “There’s a lot to be said about what Ludvigsons have done for the industry as well as the Red Angus breed.”

The late Lars and Joan Ludvigson founded Ludvigson Stock Farms in the early ’50s in Cushing, Iowa. The original conventional farming operation also included a farrow-to-finish enterprise and a cattle feedlot. In the ’70s they added a commercial cowherd.

The summer of 1992, however, Lars and son Park, took a trip to visit several Red Angus breeders. That trip shaped the future of Ludvigson Stock Farms and they purchased their first Red Angus females that fall.

The next spring, they were immediately impressed with the Red Angus calves’ vigor, survivability and pounds at weaning time, as well as the cows’ milking ability, body condition scores and their timeliness of breeding back. They went on to add more Red Angus genetics to their operation.

Ludvigsons also recognized it was important to test their bulls in large Red Angus genetic pools. They sold their bulls as a cooperator to Leachman Cattle Co. in Billings, Mont., for seven years, marketing many high-selling bulls as herdsires.

In the fall of 2002, they began testing and marketing their bulls with Neo-Sho Farms of Southwest City, Mo., in order to enhance their strong customer base that was developing in that area.

Today, Park and his wife Darla, and their children Kellen, Keisha and Kari, manage the day-to-day operations in Iowa. Park’s brother, Ryan and his wife Jenny, live in Montana where Ryan manages the marketing, breeding and business planning. Ryan is also a past RAAA director. Joan continues to be active through her involvement in state and national committees.

Ludvigsons host both a spring and fall sale to accommodate the needs of their clientele. Their genetics are recognized throughout the beef industry for their low birthweight, growth, carcass and maternal characteristics and eye appeal.

“The relationships we’ve made in the Red Angus breed has been a great part of our lives,” said Ryan. “We appreciate the help from other breeders that have taught us a lot about the beef industry.”

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Leland Red Angus honored as Pioneer Breeders

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Leland Red Angus of Sidney, Mont., received the 2011 Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) Pioneer Breeder of the Year Award at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Frank Wedel of Leoti, Kan., and Kenda Ponder, RAAA member services director of Denton, Texas, presented the award to Melvin and Luella Leland.

“Melvin’s greatest contribution to the RAAA has been his leadership in initiating the breed’s first Strategic Planning session that provided the Association with a roadmap for the future,” said Wedel. Melvin served on RAAA’s board of directors and was elected President in 1992. In 1993, he chaired the first Strategic Planning Committee – a post he would man for the next 17 years. In 2011, Leland began the process of handing over the reins to long-time Red Angus breeder, Butch Schuler of Bridgeport, Neb.

“Melvin could not have accomplished so much without support at home,” said Ponder. “Luella’s patience, support, hard work, faith and love enabled Melvin to be an industry leader with a support system like no other.” In addition to handling the ranch’s bookkeeping, records, registration and transfers, Luella plays an integral role in the day-to-day operations along with son Todd and his wife Karla, who are partners in the operation.

Lelands’ other children, Tracey and husband Steve Koester, and Tana and husband J.J. Hovde, are also involved in the ranch. Koesters ranch near Steele, N.D., and raise fall-born bulls that are marketed through the Leland sale. Hovdes live near Sidney, Mont., where J.J. is a partner in a veterinary practice.

Lelands have five grandchildren who help at the ranch: Kacey and Shaye Koester, and Trista, Wacey and Cedar Hovde. Everyone in the family plays a role on sale day whether it is clerking, customer service, handling phone bids or running tickets to the office.

Tony Leland, Melvin’s father, staked his claim on the homestead in 1911 – 100 years ago. He passed away in 1948 leaving his wife Mary with three small children and a ranch to run. Melvin and Luella married in 1967 and took over the ranch. They introduced Red Angus bulls to their commercial operation that evolved into Leland Red Angus Ranch.

Lelands sold bulls by private treaty until 1984 when they started hosting an annual production sale each March. “Lelands’ commitment to excellence has never wavered,” said Wedel. “Their only goal was to provide commercial cattlemen with the best genetics available which is attested to by the number of dedicated customers that return to the sale year after year.”

Many of the active programs at RAAA were born during Leland’s tenure as chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee – Total Herd Reporting, the Feeder Calf Certification Program, Pro-Cow, Grid Master Awards, multi-breed EPDs, Young Guns symposium and the goal to maintain adequate financial reserves for the Association. Leland also helped institute prayer before each board meeting to ask for guidance in making decisions for the RAAA.

Leland’s leadership has not been confined to the Red Angus breed. He was a director and president of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, and currently serves on the N.D. Board of Animal Health where he is chairman.

“Lelands take pride in the traditional ranch lifestyle which embraces family, stewardship and excellent service to their customers,” said Ponder. “They understand the need to provide leadership to the industry that is their livelihood.”

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Morgan honored with John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award

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Martin Morgan of Leicester, N.C., received the John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Johnny Rogers of Roxboro, N.C., presented the award.

“When I think of Red Angus in the Carolinas,” said Rogers, “Martin is one of the first people I think of. He lead the resurgence of the breed in the mid-Atlantic area.” Morgan was a founding member of the Red Angus in the Carolinas Association and was the driving force behind the area’s first affiliate sale, The Stocking Stuffer Sale, held each December.

Morgan was elected to the RAAA Board of Directors in 2007 and the next year was named chairman of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee.

The governing documents of the RAAA had not been revised for the past 30 years and under the Morgan’s careful watch, the committee reviewed and revised the by-laws. They offered their first set of revisions at the 2009 convention and the final revisions in 2010.

“This revisions task certainly took a tremendous amount of time and dedication working with the staff, the Constitutions and By-Laws Committee and attorneys to make sure the wording was accurate,” said Rogers. “Martin’s dedication and attention to detail really put our association on solid ground going in to the future.”

“When I started in this breed, my sole goal was to forward the knowledge and recognition of Red Angus, especially in the eastern U.S.,” said Morgan. “As the breed continues to grow and expand in the East, so does our need to continue the education process with our commercial producers.”

The John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award recognizes RAAA members who show outstanding dedication and service to the Red Angus breed.

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Kenansville Cattle Co. named Commercial Producer of the Year

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Kenansville Cattle Co. of St. Cloud, Fla., received the Commercial Producer of the Year Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Butch Schuler of Bridgeport, Neb., presented the award to the Kelley family – Gary and Charlie Kelley, their son Alan and his wife Whitney.

“The Kelley family uses innovation, hard work and progressive management practices to improve their cattle, grazing lands and a ranch of sustainability for generations to come,” said Schuler.

Kenansville Cattle Co. is a production cow-calf outfit that runs approximately 1,200 head of beef cows over 10,000 acres in central Florida. They employ a structured three-breed crossbreeding system to capitalize on the advantages of heterosis.

Florida’s tropical environment dictates a necessary bos indicus influence in their cowherd but Red Angus traits such as early sexual maturity, maternal characteristics and quality grade improve the economically relevant traits in their herd.

Alan carefully selects their program’s bulls based on performance, carcass EPDs, pedigrees and an in-depth consultation he has established with his seedstock providers.

“Alan’s passion for the beef industry is further evidenced by his involvement in co-founding Florida’s Heritage Beef,” said Schuler. The limited liability company is an organization of reputation Florida ranches that joined efforts and resources to collectively promote and market quality beef cattle from Florida. “They are willing to stand behind their cattle to the very end,” continued Schuler.

“The Red Angus genetics we use give us the ability to raise productively efficient animals that are profitable once they leave home,” said Kelley. “Through Florida’s Heritage Beef, I represent and follow the cattle through the process to make sure they perform like we say they will.”

The Kelley family’s dedication to customer satisfaction through sound business ethics and quality cattle has returned higher net prices on Florida Heritage Beef members’ calf crops and gives their buyers the assurance that they are purchasing high-quality beef animals.

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Sun Ag, Inc. named Commercial Producer of the Year

Sun Ag, Inc. of Fellsmere, Fla., received the Commercial Producer of the Year Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Butch Schuler of Bridgeport, Neb., presented the award to Jim Crawford, ranch supervisor.

“The ranch is located approximately 90 miles south of Orlando, Fla., and Jim Crawford manages one of the most unique cattle operations in the country as this ranch is on land reclaimed from Florida’s St. John’s marsh,” explained Schuler.

In the 1980s, water was pumped off this previously unproductive land and into a man-made reservoir on the property. This exposed nearly 12,000 acres of fertile, rich soil full of organic matter that is now the home of one of the largest contiguous citrus groves in the world.

Sun Ag, Inc. planted unique grasses suitable for grazing on the land not suitable for citrus production. That land now sustains Sun Ag, Inc.’s 1,000-head cowherd.

Sun Ag, Inc. implements a three-breed rotational crossbreeding system utilizing Red Angus, Brahman and Horned Hereford cattle. Their original cowherd was a nondescript group of cows weaning calves weighing 495 lbs. at 10 months of age. Today, they have increased their average weaning weight to 695 lbs. at 7-1/2 months of age – a 200 lb. increase.

They have also improved their stocking rate to 2 acres per unit compared to a more typical stocking rate in central Florida of 4 to 5 acres per cow-calf pair on managed grazing lands, or 10 acres per unit on native country.

“Sun Ag was one of the first southern Florida operations to successfully calve 2-year-old heifers,” said Schuler. Red Angus’ early sexual maturity and more heat-tolerant hair coats combined with the heterosis of their crossbreeding system allowed Sun Ag to improve their conception rate in their yearling replacement heifers by nearly 60 percent.

Sun Ag, Inc. sets the market for quality beef calves on Superior Livestock Video by topping the Florida video sale. Additionally, their Red Angus-influenced heifers not used on their ranch are marketed by private treaty to neighboring operations as replacement females.

“The use of the Red Angus breed in our three-way breeding program has allowed us to perpetuate our herd quality and produce an animal that is in demand,” said Crawford. “Our heifer program has been a plus for us as the majority of them are replacement quality.”

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Superior Livestock Auction receives Industry Service Award

Superior Livestock Auction (SLA) received the Industry Service Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Myron Edelman, RAAA director of added value programs, presented the award to Jim Odle, general manager of Superior Livestock Auction of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Greeley, Colo.

“The RAAA appreciates the high energy and marketing opportunities that we have with Superior,” said Edelman. The Industry Service Award recognizes nonmembers of RAAA who have a great influence on the success of the Red Angus breed.

In 1987, Superior Livestock Auction introduced satellite video marketing to the nation’s livestock industry and forever changed the way load lots of cattle were marketed. Today, Superior has grown into the largest livestock video auction in the U.S., marketing well over 2 million head of cattle annually.

In 2007, Superior hosted the first Red Angus special video section in Sheridan, Wyo., at the Big Horn Classic. The relationship between SLA and the RAAA grew and, the past two years, RAAA has been a sponsor at SLA’s three largest video auctions held in Sheridan, Wyo., Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Winnemucca, Nev.

“This sponsorship opportunity gives RAAA staff interactive face time with commercial cattlemen that are selling some 600,000 calves in these three sales,” said Edelman. “Jim Odle is a friend of Red Angus and SLA has forever changed the way this industry markets feeder cattle.”

“It’s always our privilege when a set of Red Angus calves comes on the screen,” said Odle in his video acceptance speech. “We know we will have good genetics, active bidding and that the cattle will top the sale.”

SLA has also produced the Red Angus American Rancher series that airs on RFD-TV.

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Fee recognized with International Service Award

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Doug Fee, retired CEO of the Canadian Angus Association (CAA) of Calgary, Alberta, received the International Service Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Canadian Red Angus breeder and BIF Canadian Beef Breeds Council Director Don McKenzie of Mountain View, Alberta, presented the award.

“During Doug’s tenure as CEO of the CAA, he made a lot of friends in the RAAA and worked very well with the Association,” said McKenzie. “If it hadn’t been for Doug, we wouldn’t have the good relationships that we have now.”

Fee served 17 years as CEO and took the Canadian Angus breed – both Red and Black Angus – from ranking fourth in Canada to a very solid No. 1 position, said McKenzie, who worked closely with Fee when he served as president of the CAA in 2004.

“All Angus breeders in North America – Red and Black, Canadian and American – owe a debt of gratitude to Doug Fee,” said Greg Comstock, CEO of RAAA. “He has been a great ambassador for the breed around the globe. His leadership helped bring the World Angus Forum to Calgary in 2009, and the CAA with Doug at its helm hosted an event against which all future meetings of the World Angus Secretariat will be compared to.”

Fee was also untiring in his efforts to ensure the compatibility of Canadian and U.S. genetic evaluation, said Comstock. “His efforts led to a decade of comparable EPDs between U.S. and Canadian Red Angus cattle.”  

“I am carrying something with me far more important than this award and that is the number of friends I have made in the RAAA,” said Fee. “I cherish all of you and I cherish this award.”

Fee’s successor as Canadian Angus CEO is Rob Smith.

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Red Angus honors Leland with Innovative Leadership Award

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Melvin Leland of Sidney, Mont., received the inaugural Melvin Leland Innovative Leadership Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Greg Comstock, RAAA CEO of Denton, Texas, presented the award to Leland.

“The Red Angus breed and our beef industry have collectively achieved much more because of Melvin’s mentoring, encouragement, ideas and leadership,” said Comstock.

This year’s RAAA awards committee chose to create a new award to honor individuals whose body of work has elevated the breed’s status within the beef industry. They named the award after Leland who, as President of RAAA, led the breed through its first Strategic Plan. Innovations resulting from that plan helped grow Red Angus from the 12th largest U.S. beef breed to the fourth largest in a 12-year period. 

“The cornerstones of our breed’s growth came out of the Strategic Planning Committee – a working group that Melvin envisioned and initiated when he was president of RAAA in 1993,” said Comstock. Those programs include Total Herd Reporting, the Feeder Calf Certification Program, Pro-Cow, Grid Master Awards, multi-breed EPDs and the Young Guns symposium.

Leland also advised the RAAA to build and maintain adequate financial reserves to guarantee a stable future for the Association.

“We were barely more than a blip on the radar screen,” said Comstock in reference to the RAAA status in the early 90s. “We were in a cyclical pattern of rising to the challenges, only to go broke as an association. We couldn’t sustain.”

The breed’s commitment to its Strategic Plan broke the ill-fated pattern and put the Association on a growth trend that has lasted the entire 17 years that Leland has served as its chair. The financial reserves safeguard against future adversities and allow continued investments for the breed’s future.

“Mel’s leadership provided the opportunity for Red Angus breeders to work together to create something extraordinary,” said Comstock. “This award will honor those people who carry on his vision for the Red Angus breed.”

Leland accepted the award with gratitude saying, “I would be amiss if I didn’t give credit where credit is due, and that is to God. He has directed this association and I am grateful that we continue to call on His divine guidance.”

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Moxley named Personality of the Year

Mark Moxley and his family of West Friendship, Md., received the Personality of the Year Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Clint Berry, RAAA commercial marketing director, presented the award to Mark, his wife Beth, and sons Stewart and Thomas.

The Personality of the Year Award recognizes an individual that is an outgoing spokesman for the Red Angus breed and epitomizes the core values of what the RAAA is built on, explained Berry. “They exhibit a champion-type feeling towards others and draws them in.”

“Mark is a dedicated, multi-generational cattleman who’s grown up around Angus cattle – both Red and Black – all his life,” said Berry.

Mark is the ninth generation and his sons are the 10th to raise cattle in Maryland. “I guess it’s in our blood,” said Moxley. “It’s our way of life and what we believe in.”

Moxley’s ancestors came to Maryland in the 1730s and, over the years, raised all types of beef and dairy cattle. For the last 35 years, however, they have exclusively raised Angus genetics. Mark’s parents operate as Dawn Acres Angus.

Mark, Beth and their sons call their farm Majestic Meadows and enjoy raising, showing and marketing Red Angus cattle across the nation. Their accolades include raising and owning the national champion bull, Majestic Lightning 717 SGMR.

“Mark is also an enthusiastic advocate of the junior programs and you can always find him there to support those events,” said Berry.

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Kniebel recognized as Outstanding Junior Member

Cassandra Kniebel of White City, Kan., received the Outstanding Junior Member Award from the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) at the Red Angus National Convention in Durham, N.C., Sept. 15-16. Dawn Bernhard, RAAA junior programs coordinator, presented the award.

“Cassie possesses a can-do spirit,” said Bernhard who worked closely with Kniebel when she served on the Junior Red Angus (JRA) board the past two years. “She excels in her scholastics and extra curricular activities, exhibits integrity, honesty and high moral ethics in all aspects of her life, and brings excellence, enthusiasm and energy to all her JRA endeavors.”

Kniebel served as first vice president and the fundraising director of the JRA. She played an integral role in planning and organizing the 2011 JRA Roundup that toured in Missouri and Kansas.

Kniebel also contributed her artistic talent to the JRA by creating a 3-D project of an original print by C.J. Brown entitled “The Reds At Lick Creek” that was auctioned off at the 2011 Red Angus National Convention.

In June 2011, Cassie was the undergraduate recipient of the Roy A. Wallace Memorial Scholarship granted by the Beef Improvement Federation.

Kniebel is a junior majoring in Animal Science and Agribusiness at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. She also maintains an active role in her family’s Red Angus operation.

“Cassie is a true ambassador and advocate for Red Angus and the beef industry,” said Bernhard.

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For more information, contact:
Ann Holsinger, American Red Angus managing editor
(940) 387-3502 •  ann@redangus.org

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Breeder of the Year – Ludvigson Stock Farms

Breeder of the Year – Ludvigson Stock Farms

Ryan Ludvigson and his mother Joan, (left) received the Breeder of the Year Award from Craig and Peggy Bieber at the Red Angus National Convention.

Pioneer Breeder of the Year – Leland Red Angus

Pioneer Breeder of the Year – Leland Red Angus

Melvin and Luella Leland (center) received the Pioneer Breeder of the Year Award at the Red Angus National Convention. Their daughter and son-in-law, Tracey and Steve Koester (left) joined them. Kenda Ponder and Frank Wedel (right) presented the award.

John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award – Martin Morgan

John V. Robbins Distinguished Service – Martin Morgan

Johnny Rogers (left) presented fellow breeder Martin Morgan with the John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award at the 2011 Red Angus National Convention.

Commercial Producer of the Year – Kenansville Cattle Co.

Commercial Producer – Kenansville Cattle Co.

Butch Schuler (right) presented Whitney and Alan Kelley of Kenansville Cattle Co. with the Commercial Producer of the Year Award at the 2011 Red Angus National Convention.

International Service Award – Doug Fee

International Service – Doug Fee

Don McKenzie (left) and Greg Comstock, RAAA CEO, (right) presented Doug Fee (center) with the International Service Award at the 2011 Red Angus National Convention.

Melvin Leland Innovative Leadership – Melvin Leland

Melvin Leland Innovative Leadership – Melvin Leland

Greg Comstock (right) presented the first-ever Melvin Leland Innovative Leadership Award to Melvin Leland (left) at the Red Angus National Convention.