Stark County couple wins Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s Young Cattlemen of the Year

Stan Soehnlen
Stan (pictured) and Dana Soehnlen, of Navarre, Ohio, were awarded the Young Cattlemen of the Year award at the Ohio Cattlemen's Association awards banquet, held Jan. 13. (Submitted photo)

SALEM, Ohio — A family of veterinarians received one of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s prestigious industry awards at the group’s annual meeting and awards banquet, held Jan. 13, in Columbus.

Drs. Stan and Dana Soehnlen, of Navarre, Ohio, were awarded the Young Cattlemen of the Year award. The couple works together with Stan’s parents at Soehnlen Veterinary Clinic, where his father Dave is a veterinarian and his mother Lori is a vet tech, and also operates Soehnlen Cattle Company.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association held its annual meeting and awards banquet Jan. 13 at the Hilton Polaris Hotel, Columbus, Ohio.

Todd Wilkinson, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, joined members to present an industry update on policy issues. Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Brian Baldridge also spoke briefly about the current programs and new construction underway at the department.

The Young Cattlemen of the Year is presented to individuals or couples, typically under 40 years of age, who have demonstrated the initial stages of a successful beef operation and exhibited leadership potential. The recipient is also OCA’s automatic nominee to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference.

Soehnlen Cattle began 15 years ago when Stan was in 4-H and actively showing cattle. Stan Soehnlen completes the day-to-day operations of the farm while his wife completes the registration and record keeping. The primary focus of this operation is raising seedstock and club calves, focusing on maternal genetics and longevity.

Over the past year, Soehnlen Cattle Co. has invested additional time and resources into their manure holding and storage facilities to prevent runoff. They carefully use manure as a fertilizer, spreading it on fields as appropriate. They also gained more acreage in pasture and plan to frequently rotate cattle from pasture to pasture while incorporating silage into their feed rations. The Soehnlens have plans of not only expanding their cow herd but also growing the IVF embryo portion of their operation.

Industry Excellence

Steve DeBruin, DVM, of Millersport, Ohio, received the Industry Excellence award. This award is presented to beef producers who have worked throughout their careers for the betterment of Ohio’s beef industry. Recipients have contributed as volunteers and leaders to the success of OCA and, through their individual cattle operations, have been trailblazers for the beef industry creating new paths for other beef producers to follow.

Dr. DeBruin is a 1983 graduate of Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, DeBruin purchased the Feeder Creek Vet Clinic, primarily focused on beef cattle veterinarian work. He is now one of six practicing veterinarians at the clinic. DeBruin also served as president of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association in 2002. He helped establish the state’s Beef Quality Assurance program.


Kingsway Angus, based in Tiffin, Ohio, was named the Seedstock Producer of the Year. This award is presented to Ohio farms that have demonstrated breeding success through their registered cattle operations. These farms utilize performance information and the latest technologies available to increase the predictability of the cattle they raise as breeding stock for others, in addition to maintaining a continued focus on meeting and exceeding the expectations of beef consumers.

Kingsway Angus is owned and operated by John King and his wife, Mary Lou under the name of Liberty Ridge Farms LLC. They keep 55 to 60 head of registered Angus cattle and exclusively use artificial insemination in their operation. The majority of their marketing is focused on heifer calves and providing junior show projects for the younger generation.

Outstanding County

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association awarded the Darke County Cattlemen’s Association the Outstanding County award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement, industry education and consumer promotion efforts of counties from across the state. The Darke County Cattlemen’s Association president Erin Horst, leads the association’s eight-member board. The association sponsors and hosts hoof trimming clinics, BQA sessions and beef tours visiting different farms across the county learning about herd health, AI synchronization, and pasture management.

Additionally, the Darke County Cattlemen’s Association implemented marketing efforts to educate beef consumers including billboards on main roadways, as well as the association’s Facebook page which houses a Google Map allowing consumers to find freezer beef within the county limits.

Environmental Stewardship

LB Porteus Farms
LB Porteus Farms, of Coschocton, Ohio, received the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. (Submitted photo)

LB Porteus Farms of Coshocton, Ohio, received the Environmental Stewardship Award, which is presented to an Ohio beef farm that has demonstrated a strong commitment to being good stewards of their land, water and air resources.

LB Porteus Farms is a family operation run by Brent Porteus and his brother Knox Porteus, as well as Brent’s two daughters, Amy and Beth, in addition to Beth’s husband Cole Mullen and their two daughters Riley and Harper. LB Porteus Farms owns 250 commercial Angus cows that produce the cattle they feed for higher-end value-added branded programs. LB Porteus Farms implements environmentally friendly practices, including facilities with appropriate manure storage and management, as well as manure fertilization on cover crops.

In addition, they have implemented new systems with cutting-edge technology, like an aeration system that was created in Europe that helps to remove bacteria and reduce emissions. Also, they have added Lely’s Robotic Vector Feeding System to their operation that feeds the cattle automatically reducing fossil fuel usage, saving time and allowing for more focus on the health and well-being of the cattle.

Commercial Cattlemen

Goecke Farms, of Spencerville, Ohio, was named the Commercial Cattlemen of the Year. This award is presented to Ohio farms that have demonstrated success through their commercial cattle operations. These farms use performance information and the latest technologies available to increase the predictability of the cattle they raise, in addition to maintaining a continued focus on meeting and exceeding the expectations of beef consumers.

Goecke Farms, a family-run operation by Mark Goecke and his brother Steve Goecke, was established in 1999 when the transition from a dairy farm to a feedlot marketing operation took place. Goecke Farms markets their cattle through Nexus Marketing, selling six to eight 48,000-pound cattle loads a month. Mark is experienced with marketing cattle and maximizes his resources. Goecke Farms focuses on sustainability by feeding by-products from ethanol and wheat. They also demonstrate environmental stewardship efforts by planting cover crops, implementing grass waterways and using manure as fertilizer.

Industry service

Virgil Strickler, of Columbus, Ohio, received the Industry Service Award. The Industry Service Award is presented to those who have contributed to the betterment of Ohio’s beef industry through their careers or volunteer work. The award is presented for efforts made outside but complementary to beef production.

Strickler served the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair for 30 years, 20 of which were in the position of General Manager. Strickler was an important partner in the execution of OCA’s BEST Program, the Ohio Beef Expo, and the beef shows at the Ohio State Fair, all of which have provided youth the opportunity to be involved in the beef industry. Specifically, he was key in the success of the Commercial Cattle Show at the Ohio State Fair.


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