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Beef Improvement Federation gives out its 2019 awards

Hinkson Angus Ranch has been chosen as BIF’s 2019 Seedstock Producer of the Year.

July 3, 2019

7 Min Read
Martin Nagelkirk with Michigan State University Extension
SEEDSTOCK WINNER: Hinkson Angus Ranch, Cottonwood Falls, Kan., was named the 2019 Beef Improvement Federation Seedstock Producer of the Year during an awards ceremony June 20 in Brookings, S.D. Pictured are Burt Rutherford (left), BEEF magazine, award sponsor; Marilyn and Frank Jr. Hinkson; and Lee Leachman, 2018-2019 BIF president.

The Beef Improvement Federation presented Hinkson Angus Ranch, Cottonwood Falls, Kan., the BIF Seedstock Producer of the Year Award on June 20 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Brookings, S.D. This national award is presented annually to a producer to recognize their dedication to improving the beef industry at the seedstock level.

Hinkson Angus Ranch is located in the Flint Hills region of east-central Kansas, 12 miles southeast of Cottonwood Falls. This region is the largest portion of the tallgrass prairie left in North America. The ranch was purchased in March 1984, when Frank Jr. Hinkson, wife, Marilyn, and children, Trey and Tyla, moved from West Texas with 90 head of registered Angus cows. These cows stemmed from the original registered herd started by Frank Sr. in 1959 near Lazbuddie, Texas.

Today, Hinkson Angus Ranch is owned by Frank Jr. and his son, Trey, who is the fourth generation on the ranch and manages the daily operation. Hinkson Angus consists of 5,500 acres of owned and leased land, and 200 fall- and 175 spring-calving registered Angus cows. An additional 1,000 commercial heifers are purchased each year, with the majority coming from Hinkson bull customers.

The focus of the Hinkson family is to produce practical, balanced-trait seedstock that will work at an optimum level in all phases of the beef industry in a real-world environment. Over the years, the Hinksons have been early to adopt new advances and technology within the livestock industry. A small herd of registered Charolais cows was added in 2017, in response to the needs of some of their commercial customers to add terminal genetics. The Kansas Livestock Association nominated Hinkson Angus Ranch.

More than 500 beef producers, academia and industry representatives attended the organization’s 51st annual convention. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.

Additional awards presented at the annual meeting were:

Pioneer Award

The Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle and honors those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make a genetic change in beef cattle.

Pioneer awards went to Jim Gibb of Louisville, Colo., and Jerry Wulf of Morris, Minn.

Gibb has broad experience in animal science and the cattle business. He has been a leader at two breed associations, American Polled Hereford Association and American Gelbvieh Association; served the National Livestock and Meat Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; founded an animal genomics company; and taught beef cattle management at the University of Illinois. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and master’s and doctorate degrees from Colorado State University. Gibb is also a past BIF board member.

In business for more than 60 years, the Wulf operation spans across Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska, and is partners with Riverview LLP, a dairy enterprise. Wulf Cattle manages 2,000 registered Limousin and Lim-Flex females; finishes 100,000 head of fed cattle annually; and has a 12,000-head grass stocker operation in western South Dakota. The operation ranks in National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Top 25 Seedstock Producers.

Baker/Cundiff Award

The annual Frank Baker/Larry Cundiff Beef Improvement Essay Contest for graduate students provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding student research and competitive writing in honor of Frank Baker and Larry Cundiff.

The award was presented to Madison Butler of Cincennes, Ind.

Butler is working on her master’s degree in animal breeding and genetics at Kansas State University. Her essay was titled, “Review of Genetic Studies of Bull Fertility.”

Each year, winning essays are selected and published in the annual BIF Research Symposium and Annual Meeting Proceedings. Each winning author will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Ambassador Award

The Ambassador Award is given annually by BIF to a member of the media for his or her efforts in spreading the news of BIF and its principles to a larger audience.

This year’s award went to Eric Grant, the founder of Grant Co., which offers a unique blend of media, public relations, communications and advertising services for many clients with deep roots in agriculture, such as Merck Animal Health, Biozyme Inc. and Holstein Association USA.

Commercial Producer of the Year

The Commercial Producer of the Year award goes to a producer to recognize their dedication to improving the beef industry at the commercial level. Bruce and Tracey Mershon of Mershon Cattle LLC, a diversified crop and livestock operation headquartered on a Century Farm in Buckner, Mo., northeast of Kansas City. The Mershon family has deep roots in Missouri agriculture. In 1865, Bruce’s great-great-grandfather, Eli Mershon, settled in the Fort Osage area of Jackson County and purchased 160 acres shortly thereafter. The family has farmed there ever since.

Bruce and Tracey Mershon have owned cattle since 1993 and launched Mershon Cattle LLC in 2012. They purchased Sunny Acres Farm in Appleton City, Mo., in 2013 to expand the operation. The Mershon cow herd consists of 1,600 Angus-based, crossbred cows, which are bred to Hereford, Simmental and Charolais sires. This complementary breeding program allows the operation to produce efficient, high-performing offspring, and is paired with a sustainable grass management program to maximize environmental stewardship.

Continuing Service Awards

Continuing Service Award winners have made major contributions to the BIF organization. This includes serving on the board of directors, speaking at BIF conventions, working on BIF guidelines and other behind-the-scenes activities. As BIF is a volunteer organization, it is this contribution of time and passion for the beef cattle industry that moves BIF forward.

Scott Greiner, Christiansburg, Virginia, Extension beef and sheep specialist at Virginia Tech, is a Continuing Service winner. In this position, he provides research-based education and outreach on the science and application of beef and sheep production to livestock producers, Extension agents and allied-industry professionals. He received his bachelor’s degree in animal science at Iowa State University, his master’s degree in animal science at Michigan State University and then returned to Iowa State to obtain his doctorate in animal science (meat science).

Craig Bieber of Leola, South Dakota, was also presented a Continuing Service Award.

Bieber serves as CEO of Bieber Red Angus Ranch, managing sales and ranch activities. Bieber Red Angus Ranch has been breeding Red Angus cattle since 1968. The Bieber family manages 950 registered Red Angus cows and hosts four sales and three online sales annually.

Steve Munger of Highmore, S.D., is another Continuing Service Award winner.

Munger is managing partner of Eagle Pass Ranch, which he and his wife, Debi, own in partnership with sons, Nate and AJ, and their wives. Eagle Pass Ranch has been supplying the beef industry with progressive beef genetics for more than 25 years. The company annually markets more than 500 bulls and females to cow-calf producers across the United States, Canada and Mexico, along with commercial heifers, semen and embryos.

Roy A. Wallace Memorial Scholarships

These scholarships were established to encourage young men and women interested in beef improvement to pursue those interests as Wallace did, with dedication and passion.

Benjamin Crites and Taylor Nikkel are Wallace scholarship winners.

Crites, of Lexington, Ky., completed his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Kentucky in reproductive physiology. Crites’ master’s project focused on incorporating gender-sorted semen into fixed-time artificial insemination protocols for beef heifers and cows. Currently, Crites is continuing his education at UK with Dr. Bridges, working on a doctoral degree in reproductive physiology. Their lab is evaluating the selenium form regulation on fertility in beef cattle.

Nikkel, of Maple Hill, Kan., is this year’s undergraduate winner. She will graduate from Kansas State University in May 2020 with a degree in agricultural economics.

During her time at K-State, Nikkel has taken opportunities to learn more about agricultural policy and law. In the fall of 2018, she attended the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) leadership conference, which helped her connect with peers who had similar interests in pursuing a career path of agricultural policy.

Source: Kansas State University Department of Animal Science and Industry, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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