The Red Angus Association of America’s board of directors recently announced the hire of Twig Marston, Ph.D., of Norfolk, Neb., as the new chief executive officer of the national association.
Marston assumed the leadership role beginning Jan. 20.
“Twig has built a grounded, practical, well-informed knowledge and appreciation for the RAAA and its principles through his combined experienced,” said Tim Whitley, RAAA president. “As an industry leader, communicator and team builder, he is excited to work with RAAA staff and membership to further the goals and visions of the association.”
Marston was born and raised on a diversified ranching outfit in Kansas where his family raised both commercial and purebred cattle. He earned an animal science degree at Kansas State University and returned to his family’s operation before working on a ranch in Nebraska. He earned his masters in animal breeding and genetics at K-State, and later, his doctorate at Oklahoma State University in ruminant nutrition.
Marston worked as a senior beef nutritionist at Hubbard Milling Co. in Minnesota then returned to K-State as an Extension livestock specialist and instructor of undergraduate beef classes.
For the past five years, he led the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Northeast Extension Center as its research and Extension director.
From 2002 to 2010, Marston served as the executive director for the Beef Improvement Federation, assisting with the standardization and application of performance data. During his tenure he played a role in revising BIF guidelines, developing the udder-scoring system, incorporating genomics into genetic evaluation and began work on residual feed intake. He also played an active role in planning and implementing the research symposium and annual meeting each year.
“My vision is to evaluate the opportunities that continue to position Red Angus in a relevant role in the beef industry,” said Marston. “Relevance creates demand and demand creates opportunities for Red Angus members and stakeholders.”
“I believe the foundation of the Red Angus breed is defined in the association’s core policies,” he said, “to seek out and implement new technologies based on sound, scientific principles. In addition, the true measure of the breed’s success lies in the financial well being of its customer — the cow-calf producer. These core policies define and identify Red Angus breeders and their dedication to the industry.”
While at K-State, his research program targeted increasing cowherd productivity, health and profitability. Studies on EPD verification, heifer development, reproduction and fertility, weaning systems, winter supplementation, disease prevention and post-weaning management were integrated into providing system-based information to producers. Marston had an extensive Extension program which targeted beef producers and consumers on a national basis.
Marston also spent a significant amount of time in the cooler collecting carcass data. “We would use ultrasound technology to determine harvest dates,” he said, “then quantify that information with the actual carcass data.”
“Red Angus has an extremely good product that fits many facets of the industry,” he continued. “Their maternal characteristics and environmental adaptability combined with consumer acceptance make Red Angus a very sought-after product.”
Marston and his wife Mary have two grown children. Daughter Katie is a senior sensory scientist for ConAgra Foods in Omaha, Neb., and son Andee and his wife Robin live in Pikeville, Tenn., where Andee works for Burns Farm. Their son, Trig, is the Marstons’ first grandchild. In addition to enjoying their grandson, Marston enjoys a good game of golf and Mary is a culinary artist and works in continuing education.
“I’m excited to rekindle with people I’ve worked with in the industry over the years as well as establish new relationships within the Red Angus breed,” said Marston. “I have a strong desire of service toward the beef industry — from conception to consumption — and I look forward to helping Red Angus stakeholders recognize and expand on the opportunities for the breed.” ❖