Ohio’s beef cattle industry salutes key leaders

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COLUMBUS – More that 300 beef producers gathered at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe, Columbus, Jan. 20 for the annual meeting and awards banquet of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.
New queen. A highlight of the banquet included the crowning of Kayla Alexander of Clinton County as the 2007 Queen of Beef.
Rounding out Alexander’s court are first runner-up, Alisha Hammond of Fairfield County, and second runner-up, Denelle Billman of Tuscarawas County.
Top awards. The O’Connor-Phelps Farm in Belle Center received the association’s Seedstock Producer of the Year award; Rick and Jayne Young of Belmont received the Commercial Producer of the Year award; Steve White, of Manchester, was named Young Cattleman of the Year; the Industry Excellence Award was presented to John King; and The Kroger Co. received the Beef Industry Service Award.
O’Connor-Phelps Farm. Since 1965, this jointly owned herd of registered Limousin cattle has been in production in Logan County.
Frank Phelps, and his father, Don, and their family jointly own the cattle with the O’Connor family.
The farm has 250 head of Limousin cattle and encompasses 1,200 acres, with 120 acres of pasture. Out of approximately 250 calves born each year, 50 to 60 heifers are kept back for replacements, 12 to 15 bulls are saved and the remainder of the calves are kept and fed out through the farm’s feedlot.
As recognition for their conservation efforts, they received the Logan County Farm Family of the Year for Environmental Stewardship and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Environmental Stewardship Award.
Phelps has also taken leadership roles across the state. He is the chair of Logan County Cattlemen’s Association, Logan Soil and Water Conservation District, Indian Lake Watershed Project, Ohio Beef Council and also represents Ohio on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
Commercial cattleman. Rick and Jayne Young of Belmont received the Commercial Producer of the Year award, jointly sponsored by Farm and Dairy.
The Youngs manage 2,783 acres of owned and rented land and a cow herd of 400 cows. In addition to their own herd, they background 3,000 calves throughout the year. (An article in the Jan. 18 Farm and Dairy profiled the Young operation.)
The Youngs also incorporate natural resources conservation measures across their farm and have been nominated for the 2006 Conservation Farm Family award by the Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District for their efforts.
Industry Excellence. The association’s prestigious Industry Excellence Award was presented to John King of Tiffin.
King earned the award for his involvement in Angus business and his commitment to Ohio’s youth who are involved in the beef industry.
King grew up on a diversified farm in Sandusky County. In 1957, his family started raising Angus cattle and the Kings have continued to increase and improve their herd ever since.
He attended The Ohio State University and received his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences with a minor in agricultural economics. After graduation he farmed full-time, producing corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and beef cattle.
In 1987, he joined the agricultural credit industry, while continuing to farm part-time. King is currently the senior regional credit officer for Producers Credit Corporation in Columbus.
He joined the Ohio Angus Association board of directors in 1992, and served as president in 2005-2006.
This will be King’s 15th year as a 4-H adviser, and throughout the years he has also played a key role in the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association BEST program by serving on the committee since 2000 and has been a chairman since 2004.
Other organizations he has served include: Ohio Young Farmers Association, National Young Farmers Educational Association and the Hopewell Church of God.
Young cattleman. Steve White of Manchester received the association’s Young Cattleman of the Year award.
White grew up in Adams County and was involved in 4-H and FFA, showing livestock and participating on the livestock judging team. After graduating from West Union High School, he received his undergraduate degree in education from Shawnee State University and a master’s degree from the University of Dayton.
White and his wife, Jennifer, built a house on his parents’ property and are raising their two children.
The home herd is comprised of more than 50 cows. They host an annual spring pasture sale traditionally held the second week in April.
White is currently a member of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Adams County Cattlemen’s director and a member of the Manchester United Methodist Church.
Industry service. The Kroger Co. received the 2007 Beef Industry Service Award.
Led by Meat Merchandiser Darren Caudill and Assistant Meat Merchandiser Robin Reilly, Kroger has developed close partnerships with the Ohio Beef Council and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.
As the only beef retailer member of the association’s Allied Industry Council , Kroger demonstrates how important it views the cattlemen who deliver their beef product. The company works to educate consumers and its meat merchandising staff about proper cutting and cooking techniques as well as emerging industry issues.
Kroger has also continued to support the industry’s youth as a long-time buyer at the state fair sale of champions and purchasing youth projects at numerous county fairs.
Policy efforts. During the annual meeting, the Beef Improvement Committee gave an update on the Ohio Heifer Development Program and seedstock improvement sales.
John Queen, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president-elect, gave an update on national activities and state president, Bill Sexten, Fayette County, coordinated the policy development session. Resolutions covered such topics as animal identification, ethanol, EQIP and marketing issues.
Following the annual meeting, an ethanol panel discussion was held.
Scholarships. Eight scholarships were presented to outstanding youth during the awards banquet.
Steve R. Rauch Benchmark of Excellence scholarship recipients included: Heather Noll, Perry County; Lisa Marie Buehler, Shelby County; and Nicholas Leeper, Union County.
Mallory Earich, Pickaway County; Heather Noll, Perry County; and Johnathan Schaffer, Eric County, each received $1,000 Tagged for Greatness Scholarships, which are funded with the sales of the Ohio Beef license plate.
The Ohio CattleWomen’s Association awarded scholarships to Sarah Hartschuh, Crawford County; Michelle Linder, Stark County; and Susan Stoll, Logan County.
Counties hard at work. The association also recognized county associations that incorporate new or creative activities to build stronger relationships with the state group, to promote beef, or to emphasize youth community involvement.
Fairfield County was announced as the top affiliate for 2006 and received a $500 check.
Crawford County was the second place affiliate and received a $300 check and Stark County was announced as the third place affiliate and received a $200 check.
Highland County received recognition for its membership efforts and received $200 while Licking County was announced as the Most Improved Affiliate and received a $100 check.

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