Ohio cattlemen remember Roy Wallace, present top awards


COLUMBUS — A year ago, the U.S. beef industry mourned the death of Ohio’s Roy Wallace, vice president of beef programs at Select Sires, who died suddenly while attending the National Western Livestock show in Denver.

On Saturday, the Ohio beef industry celebrated Wallace’s life and contributions, as the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association awarded its Industry Excellence Award posthumously to Wallace.

The award was presented during the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association annual banquet Jan. 17 at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe in Columbus.

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Committed to genetics

A graduate of Ohio State University, Wallace started his career in 1967 as a beef field representative with the Central Ohio Breeding Association (COBA). Then, in 1969, he joined Select Sires as beef sire analyst. During his career at Select, he acquired more than 600 beef bulls from 19 breeds to be marketed worldwide.

Wallace helped found the Beef Industry Foundation and was recognized as a leader in sire evaluation, progeny testing and estrus synchronization. Today, the Select Sires female reproductive symposium, which brings together researchers of reproductive management from across North America, has been renamed in his honor.

Wallace’s brother, George, and Select Sires General Manager Dave Thorbahn accepted the award on Wallace’s behalf.

“He had a passion for serving the beef producer,” Thorbahn said of Wallace’s lifelong devotion to the industry.

Other awards

Four other awards highlighted the cattlemen’s banquet.

Perry County producer Dave Noll received the Commercial Cattleman of the Year award (the Noll family farm was profiled last week by Farm and Dairy, which sponsored the award). The farm also received the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Ohio Livestock Coalition last year, a testament to Noll’s focus on both cattle and conservation.

Maplecrest Farms of Hillsboro, owned and operated by John and Joanie Grimes and their daughters Lindsey and Lauren, received the Seedstock Producer of the Year award. Currently, the family has about 200 females, focusing on registered Angus genetics. The Grimes family is active in the show ring, participating in local, state and national shows to merchandise their cattle. The Grimes family also hosts a production sale each year.

Dave Felumlee of Newark, who owns Claylick Run Angus Genetics, received the Young Cattleman of the Year award. His Licking County farm is home to 150 brood cows and Felumlee uses artificial insemination and embryo transplants to develop his elite genetics. On the board of the Licking County Cattlemen and Ohio Cattleman’s Association, Felumlee also serves on the board of the Ohio Angus Association and was selected by the American Angus Association to participate in its young leaders program.

Former state representative Steve Reinhard received the association’s Beef Industry Service Award. Reinhard, who competed four terms in the Ohio House, served on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, among other assignments. Prior to being elected, he taught ag education and was an FFA adviser at Crestview High School. He is also active in the Crawford County Cattlemen’s Association.

National president

Gary Voogt, who takes office Jan. 24 as president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, spoke briefly to those attending the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association banquet.

The Voogt operation started with three calves and is now a nationally recognized source for registered Angus bulls. Voogt, a retired civil engineer, operates the farm with his adult son, Zach.

In his remarks, Voogt repeated the Chinese toast, “May you serve in an interesting year.”

“I don’t think that’s a toast, it’s a curse!” Voogt said, explaining that some have told him he couldn’t have picked a worse time to lead the national association.

And with good reason. Voogt ticked off a quick list of cattle industry obstacles: high input costs, low calf prices, dwindling export markets and fewer checkoff dollars. Plus, Voogt added, “the ‘greenies’, the environmentalists, think they’ve been empowered by this election.”

Nonetheless, the Michigan cattleman said, “I’m not worried about a thing.”

That’s because rank and file producers like those at the Ohio banquet are “good people.”

“I have no fears,” Voogt said. “I get a lot of strength by visiting folks like you.”

Focus on youth

During the banquet, Michelle Downerd of Delaware County was crowned the 2009 Ohio Beef Queen. During her reign, she will be assisted by first runner-up Ashley Skaggs of Fayette County and second runner-up, Jeri Wagner of Seneca County.

The evening also spotlighted the association’s scholarship efforts to recognize the state’s outstanding youth. Steve R. Rauch Benchmark of Excellence scholarship recipients included: Nicholas Leeper, Union County; Christina Enger, Richland County; and Catherine Shaw, Fairfield County.

Megan Greenawalt, Highland County; Bailey Harsh, Delaware County; Johnathan Schaeffer, Erie County; and Kyle Nickles, Ashland County, each received $1,000 Tagged for Greatness Scholarships, which are funded by sales of the Ohio beef license plate.

Evan Earich, Pickaway County, and Heather Bradford, Auglaize County, each received a $1,000 Country Club Scholarship, funded by the miniature golf course at the 2008 Ohio State Fair. The Ohio CattleWomen’s Association awarded scholarships to Johnathan Schaeffer, Eric County; Heather Kocher, Crawford County; and Mallory Earich, Pickaway County.

Counties are busy

In the annual competition of county associations, Highland County knocked off Fairfield County to win the Outstanding County Affiliate bragging rights for the next 12 months.

Fairfield County, which finished in second place, has won the honor for three consecutive years.

Crawford County was announced as the third place affiliate.

Stark County was named the Outstanding Membership Affiliate for 2008.

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