Ohio Cattlemen’s Association looks to sustainable future

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Young Cattleman Award
Sixth generation farmer Ian Brinker of ASB Farm in Coshocton County was honored with the Ohio Cattlemen's Association Young Cattleman Award. Tom Karr, president of the OCA, presented the award. (Gail Keck photos)

LEWIS CENTER, Ohio — Empty meat cases during the pandemic may have given consumers a new appreciation for beef, according to Colin Woodall, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Woodall, who spoke at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting and awards banquet, said beef demand in the U.S. is currently at a 30-year high.

“I believe we are in the midst of a renaissance within the beef industry,” he said.

Beef preferred

The meeting was held Jan. 14, at the Nationwide Conference Center in Lewis Center. Woodall told meeting participants he’s optimistic about the future of the beef industry. As costs for all types of food have increased, consumers have shown they are still willing to buy beef.

“If you’re going to pay more,” he said, “Why not just get what you want?”

Consumers continue to prefer beef over other protein sources, he said.

The award winners recognized during the annual banquet have demonstrated what it will take to sustain the industry as it continues to meet consumer needs, Woodall said.

“Sustainability is not about more government involvement. Sustainability is not about more red tape added to your operation. Sustainability is about telling our story,” he said. “More importantly, sustainability is also focusing on the next generation of producers.”

Young Cattleman Award

Ian Brinker of ASB Farm, in Coshocton County, was honored with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Young Cattleman Award.

He is the sixth generation on his family farm and is focusing on sustainable beef production. The farm maintains a herd of 250 Angus and SimAngus cows and also raises calves. Brinker has worked with the local soil and water conservation district to install heavy use pads and to fence cattle out of the woods. He stockpiles grass and uses aerial seeding to plant forages on crop grounds for winter grazing.

Commercial Producer Award

W.J. Fannin, of Fayette County, was honored with the OCA Commercial Producer Award.

W.J and his father, William; his wife, Lanita; and their three sons, finish 800 to 1,000 beef cattle each year. The family also farms about 1,800 acres, raising corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa.

The cattle enterprise gives them an alternative way of marketing their crops and also provides manure nutrients to help fertilize the cropland.

Fannin credited the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Beef Exhibitor Show Total, or BEST, youth program with helping him get his start in the beef industry.

He was one of the first group of young showmen through the program and it continues to provide opportunities for young people to get involved in the industry, he said. “OCA has done an awesome job for the kids.”

Seedstock Producer Award

Cedar Lane Farm, in Greene County, was recognized with the OCA Seedstock Producer Award.

Jeff and Sue Winkle started their farm in 1985 on land that has been passed down through Sue’s family since 1886. They have carried on a tradition of raising Shorthorn cattle that had started in Jeff’s family in 1912.

The Winkles have worked to improve the genetics of their herd using embryo transfers from select herds. They focus on producing medium-size cattle for show stock, and the quality of their cattle has been proven in the show ring.

Most recently, a heifer from their herd was chosen as National Junior Heifer Show Shorthorn Champion.

Industry Excellence Award

R&C Packing and Custom Butchering, in Bidwell, Ohio, received the OCA Industry Excellence Award.

Jamie Graham and his wife, Amy, purchased a small meat packing plant in 2004 with the plan to expand sales of their own branded beef. They shifted their focus, however, to help other producers by expanding their processing plant.

R&C Packing is a fully inspected facility that helps producers add value to their meat with branded packaging. By participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program, R&C Packing makes it possible for customers to ship their products throughout the country.

The company recently received a grant to help expand its facilities through the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program.

Industry Service Award

United Producers, under the leadership of chief executive officer Mike Bumgarner, was honored with the OCA Industry Service Award in recognition of the marketing cooperative’s service to producers.

Outstanding County

The Muskingum County Cattlemen’s Association was recognized as the OCA’s Outstanding County organization.

The group, under the leadership of president Clay Scott, promotes beef through a steak stand at the county fair. The group has also conducted farm tours and cattle shows, and provides scholarships and grants to young cattle producers.

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Gail Keck writes from her family farm, near Raymond, Ohio, where she manages the hog and cattle enterprises. She has extensive experience writing about Ohio agriculture and is a graduate of Ohio State University. She can be reached at editorial+gkeck@farmanddairy.com or at 937-578-8534.

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