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BIF elects new directors, officers

The Beef Improvement Federation elected new directors and announced new officers June 20 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Brookings, S.D.

Tommy Clark, Culpeper, Va., was introduced as the 2019-2020 BIF president during the luncheon. Joe Mushrush, Strong City, Kan., is the new vice president.

New directors elected to serve on the BIF board were producers Joe Epperly, Albion, Neb.; and Gordon Hodges, Hamptonville, N.C. New association representatives elected were Jackie Atkins, American Simmental Association; and Lance Bauer, Beefmaster Breeders United.

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.

The 2020 BIF Convention and Research Symposium will be June 9-12 in Kissimmee, Fla.

Hinkson Angus Ranch named BIF Seedstock Producer of Year

BROOKINGS, S.D. — 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., 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.

Northern Engineering Hires Wurster and Ungerman

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Northern Engineering Services, provider of civil engineering and land surveying services in Northern Colorado, has hired Aaron Wurster and Cassandra Ungerman as associate engineers. Wurster holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He recently served as an Air Force officer stationed at FE Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he was a base maintenance engineer in the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron. Wurster completed an internship with Northern Engineering through the Military Career Skills Program which prepares Airmen to transition from military to civilian employment. He lives in Fort Collins with his wife Hannah.

Ungerman is a 2019 graduate from Colorado State University. She holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering. Ungerman’s senior design project at CSU was to analyze intersections throughout the city of Fort Collins for accident rates and examine crash reports and data to explore options for redesign of intersections or signal timing. She also served as in intern on a master-planned community for commercial and residential development in Las Vegas. Ungerman is a Fort Collins native and will continue to reside in the city. ❖

FNC hires new real estate salesperson

Farmers National Company is pleased to announce that Jeremiah Unger of Yuma, Colo., has joined the company as a real estate broker.

Unger specializes in farm, ranch, and recreational property sales and leasing. As a licensed real estate broker, he serves the state of Colorado. Unger holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship, finance and real estate from Colorado State University, MiCP designation from The Lipsey School of Real Estate, and has been a licensed real estate broker since 2006. He joins the Farmers National Company sales team that has collectively sold over $2.23 billion in the last five years and sold more than 3,811 properties. Unger can be contacted at (970) 716-0243 or (970) 630-8986, via e-mail at JUnger@FarmersNational.com or visit www.FarmersNational.com/JeremiahUnger.

Faris earns BioZyme master dealer status

Riley Faris, Pueblo, Colo., has recently completed the necessary training needed to be named a BioZyme master dealer. As a master dealer, Faris completed multiple online training modules to further her education about the brands and product lines BioZyme offers. The master dealers will be able to share expanded knowledge of the BioZyme products with potential customers. “We are excited to certify this dealership knowing it excels in knowledge about our product lines, and it will be an excellent resource for all product needs and questions,” said Kristi Stevens, BioZyme marketing operations and communications manager. “Riley has taken the time to complete our strenuous training program, and has committed to stocking or is willing to order our full product line. Feel confident that she is one of the most informed dealers that our company works with.”

Terri Moore joins AFBF as VP, communications

Communications veteran Terri Moore will join the American Farm Bureau Federation July 8 as vice president to lead all aspects of the organization’s communications efforts. Moore comes to AFBF from her current position as vice president at Look East, a leading communications consulting firm focused on food and agriculture-related trust-building research and engagement strategies. She also serves as part of the Center for Food Integrity management team, contributing to CFI’s communications strategy, content development and digital engagement. Prior to these roles she served as deputy director of communications at the White House, director of communications at USDA, chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, and communications director for Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns. She began her career as a journalist and has 10 years of reporting experience with local affiliates of the CBS and ABC networks.

Farm Credit of Southern Colorado elects board members

COLORADO SPRINGS — Farm Credit of Southern Colorado recently held board of director elections by mail ballot. The stockholders of the association elected three board members. Incumbents Mark Peterson and Colin Durham were elected to serve another three year term. Newcomer Mike Shields was also elected to a three year term. Peterson’s agricultural operation consists of farming potatoes and malting barley in Rio Grande County. Mark and his wife Michele have three children and reside in Monte Vista. Durham is a practicing veterinarian and operates a cow/calf operation. Colin and his wife Elly reside in La Junta. Shields’ agricultural operation consists of a cow/calf and stocker operation and a hay ranch. Mike and his wife Sara reside in Westcliffe and have one child. The board of directors is comprised of 12 members: 10 stockholder-elected directors and two appointed directors. The board has authority and responsibility to direct the operations of the association. Elections were also held for the 2020 Nominating Committee. The following were elected to serve on the 2020 Nominating Committee: Mark Aldridge, Kane Cody, Robert Harlow, Dustin Ridder and Scot Schaefer. They will meet next spring to select candidates for the 2020 director and nominating committee elections. ❖

Lerner, Prill receive Larry Corah Graduate Student Awards

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry Graduate Students Annie Lerner and Lauren Prill were recognized Thursday, May 23, as recipients of Larry Corah Outstanding Graduate Student Awards.

Lerner, originally from Overland Park, Kan., received the Outstanding PhD Student Award, which includes a $1,500 scholarship. She is a graduate research assistant pursuing a doctoral degree in applied swine nutrition. Lerner’s research projects are related to the application of technology on commercial pig farms, feed safety, and nutrition and management strategies for finishing pigs. She served as the undergraduate research coordinator for the swine nutrition team and oversaw 17 undergraduate research projects. Prill was awarded the Outstanding Masters Student Award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship. She is a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant pursuing a master’s degree in meat science. Prill’s research efforts have focused on beef degree of doneness, how it is evaluated by consumers, and the impact it has on beef palatability. In her role as a graduate student coach, she has coached the Meat Animal Evaluation Team to two national championships and a reserve national championship, as well as the 2019 Meat Judging Team, Meat Science Quiz Bowl Team and the Kansas 4-H All-Star Livestock Judging Team. Prill, originally from Wichita, Kan., was nominated for the award by her adviser, Travis O’Quinn. Both the PhD and masters awards are presented in honor of Larry Corah, who served for 25 years as a K-State Animal Science and Industry Department beef extension and research specialist. After retiring from K-State, he went on to work for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as director of production systems and then served 17 years as the Certified Angus Beef LLC vice president of supply. The scholarships are supported from the Larry Corah Graduate Student Enhancement Fund. The award winners are selected based on scholastic achievement, research activity and success, teaching activities, faculty evaluation and overall contributions to the mission of the department.

High Schoolers present range management papers

Colorado high school students Ingrid Hofmeister, Josh Waller and Nathan Shannon were selected by the Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management to participate in the High School Youth Forum, an SRM sponsored youth activity held jointly during the 72nd Annual SRM annual meeting. This year’s meeting was held in Minneapolis on Feb. 10-14, 2019, with the theme “Gateway to the Prairie.” Hofmeister and Waller completed their junior year attending Branson and Hoehne High Schools respectively. Shannon is a sophomore at Kim High School. All three students were selected for the HSYF based on their outstanding achievements last year in Colorado FFA range judging and plant identification. In 1966, SRM recognized a need to involve youth with the range-related activities and education provided at this annual meeting. Since that time, the HSYF has been a highlight of the SRM annual meetings. As one of the more important activities, each delegate to the forum participates in a paper presentation competition with the content covering a range-related topic. The title of Hofmeister’s paper was The Desertification of Southeastern Colorado Rangeland. Her paper discussed the factors that contribute and interact leading to soil degradation and potential desertification. She highlighted that, through proper range management and prescribed grazing involving proper stocking and rotational grazing practices, desertification can be reversed. Waller presented his paper titled Improving Water Utilization on Arid Rangeland. He discussed ways to better use the limited water that ranchers receive on their rangeland. His paper focused on the main benefit of improving soil health through implementing proper grazing management. He indicated that improved grazing practices will allow more water to infiltrate, be held in the soil, and used by the plants that provide the many ecosystem services for ranchers and society. Shannon received fourth place honors for his presentation. His paper was titled Water: The Lifeblood of the Range. In his abstract Nathan stated: “The control of grazing is an important part of range management. Before ranchers can graze a pasture efficiently, a good livestock water supply needs to be developed. Many different methods can be used to supply the water. Good water management can benefit cattle as well as wildlife.” Visit www.cssrm.org to read all three papers presented by the Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management HSYF delegates. ❖

Thornton to leave Farm Bureau for Soybean Board

The United Soybean Board in Chesterfield, Mo., has hired Mace Thornton, executive director of communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation, as the soybean board’s vice president of communications and marketing.

Thornton has worked for Farm Bureau for 34 years, with five years at the Kansas Farm Bureau and 29 at Farm Bureau headquarters in Washington. He will leave Farm Bureau on June 7 and begin his work at USB on June 10. In a note to the Farm Bureau staff, Dale Moore, the Farm Bureau executive vice president, noted that Thornton had recently overseen the Farm Town Strong rural opioid campaign, an effort that earned the Silver Anvil recognition from the Public Relations Society of America. That initiative was a unified effort of Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union. Moore also noted that Thornton will be inducted into the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame for career achievement by the Agricultural Relations Council.

Representing Colorado’s produce growers

Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Board Member Bruce Talbott, Talbott’s Mountain Gold, Palisade, met recently in Washington, D.C., as a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit & Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. Also on the advisory committee is Tom Lipetzky, Colorado Department of Agriculture. The committee is to act as a sounding board for the USDA to determine the effectiveness of their programs and to identify needs that are not being met. When Talbott was appointed last fall, he said he hoped to work through the committee to develop a better farm labor program that is “much less bureaucratic than the current H2A program and that treats both the employer and the employee very well and ultimately results in a safe and secure food supply continuing to be produced inside the United States.”

Diamond V adds dairy expert to serve western Iowa, eastern Neb.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Diamond V continues to expand, with Kari Leonard joining the company’s Midwest Team as a regional sales manager. She brings dairy wellness knowledge to the position, especially in the areas of biosecurity, genomics, milk quality and transition. “I’m excited to have Kari on the team,” said Diamond V District Sales Manager Mitch Deimund. “In this role, she will work closely with our technical experts to support producers, nutritionists, veterinarians, and feed production professionals.” Leonard was raised on a registered Simmental farm in west central Iowa. She has a bachlor’s degree in public service and administration from Iowa State University. After completing her studies in 1991, she joined The Upjohn Co. in northwest Iowa. Since then, she’s transitioned through several company mergers including Pharmacia, Pfizer Animal Health and Zoetis covering Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska. She is based in Holstein, Iowa, and can be reached at kari_leonard@diamondv.com.

Little to leave Roberts for NAMI

Sarah Little, communications director in the personal office of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., will leave to become the vice president of communications at the North American Meat Institute. Roberts announced Little’s departure and the promotion of two staff members. Little confirmed that she would join NAMI. In a news release, Roberts noted that “Sarah started on my staff as an intern from Prairie Village, Kan., 20 years ago” and had “worked hard on behalf of Kansas and the nation, especially following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and most recently for America’s farmers and ranchers.” Stacey Daniels, Roberts’ press secretary, will be promoted to communications director in the personal office. Daniels previously worked in the House of Representatives as a communications director. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and worked as a television reporter in Columbia, Mo., and Eugene, Ore. Meghan Cline, the Republican press secretary on the Senate Agriculture Committee for the past four years, has been promoted to communications director for the committee. Previously, she served as assistant director of communications for the National Pork Producers Council. Cline was born and raised in Dalton, Ga., and earned bachelor’s and master of science degrees in agricultural communications from the University of Georgia and Oklahoma State University, respectively. ❖

Bays’ 60th Anniversary celebration

Marvin and Mildred (Millie) Bay, Eaton, Colo., will be celebrating 60 years of marriage at a reception Saturday, May 4, 2-4 p.m. at the Eaton Evangelical Free Church, 1325 3rd St. The couple’s children and grandchildren invite community members to join them for the come-and-go celebration and also request gifts be omitted.

Millie was raised in Eaton and graduated from Eaton High School. Marvin was born in Guymon, Okla., and raised in Cheraw, Colo. They met while attending Colorado State University and married April 25, 1959. Both graduated with degrees in agriculture.

The couple lived in eastern Colorado, Fairbanks, Alaska, Cripple Creek, Colo., and Gill, Colo., before purchasing Millie’s great uncle’s farm one mile west of Galeton in 1969. They raised their three daughters on the ever-expanding farm. Millie managed a sheep operation and minded the home. Marvin farmed and also started the aviation program at Aims Community College.

Cattlemen’s beef board names Hanes CEO

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB) has named Gregory Hanes of Colorado as their new chief executive officer, effective June 17, 2019. The Beef Board is a body that oversees the Beef Checkoff and works very closely with the USDA, state beef councils, contractors, beef industry leaders and cattle producers. As a result, the person who serves as the Beef Board’s operational leader needs to function in many different roles and in many environments. Hanes comes to the CBB from the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Denver, where he most recently was vice president of international marketing programs, and he led the marketing team through global strategic planning processes. Hanes also served as the USMEF liaison to the beef industry and worked closely with a variety of national and state beef organizations. From 2006 to 2009, he was the director of the USMEF’s Tokyo-based office, where he was responsible for all activities occurring in Japan. During his time as the USMEF Japan director, Hanes lived in Japan for nearly 11 years. Throughout his time overseas, he was the only foreigner in a Japanese company, and he held an additional position with responsibilities across Asia. Hanes currently serves as the chair of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council, a group comprised of 80 U.S. commodity trade associations, farmer cooperatives and state regional trade groups from around the country, representing the interests of growers and processors of U.S. agricultural products. In addition to a master’s degree in international management with an emphasis in marketing from the Thunderbird School of Management at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona, Hanes also holds a B.A. in economics from Colorado College. Hanes was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Indigo Agriculture hires Peterson

Indigo Agriculture, a Boston-based firm that develops microbial and digital technologies, has hired Laura Peterson as its senior director for government affairs. Peterson most recently led Syngenta’s federal and industry relations in North America and served as the chief of staff to Syngenta’s global chief sustainability officer. Before joining Syngenta, she was the director of federal affairs for the National Association of Conservation Districts and served as adjunct faculty at George Washington University in American politics. Peterson grew up on a family farm in Kansas and co-operates an angus cattle herd with her husband, Jess Peterson, residing in Billings, Mont. She holds a bachelor of science degree from Kansas State University and a law degree from George Washington University Law School. She is a member of the Kansas Bar. ❖

Livingston Ranch receives Colorado Leopold Conservation Award

STRATTON, Colo. — Mike and Julie Livingston of Kit Carson County have been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private conservation, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional farmers, ranchers and foresters. The prestigious award, named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is given in 13 states.

In Colorado the award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Livingstons will be presented with the $10,000 award on Monday, June 17 at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s 2019 Annual Convention held at the Steamboat Grand in Steamboat Springs.

Agricultural conservation practices have given Mike and Julie Livingston and their land the resiliency to overcome adversity.

When they bought their ranch near Stratton in 2003, its weed-filled landscape had been abused by years of over-grazing, severe erosion and drought. When rain did fall on barren spots of land, sediment would wash into nearby rivers and aquifers.

“We had owned the property for three years, and each year we reduced our cow numbers because the grass wasn’t recovering. What we were doing wasn’t sustainable,” Mike recalled.

Other challenges loomed on the ranch’s horizon. In 2009, a multi-state lawsuit took away their access to water for irrigation, and three years later a historic drought took hold. Their backs against the wall, they enrolled in the Ranching for Profit School. Mike said the “life-changing experience” opened his mind to agricultural conservation practices like cover crops, no-till and planned grazing.

NO TILLING AND COVER CROPS

Not tilling the soil and keeping it covered year-round with specialty crops soon led to better rainwater utilization and less soil erosion and runoff. The soil’s health rebounded as it retained organic matter left on the land as crop residue. This reduced the need for fertilizer, and resulted in higher yields from their wheat, milo, corn and hay fields.

Mike and Julie, who farm and ranch with their children, Kari and Justin, and their families, also embraced conservation practices that benefitted their beef cattle and created wildlife habitat.

They implemented a planned grazing system with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Inefficient watering systems were replaced with 100,000 feet of new pipeline. Miles of new fencing replaced the configuration of 36 old pastures, with 119 pastures that are grazed less often. The extended rest period, coupled with planting cool season grasses meant two more months of green grass.

In addition to a 120-acre wildlife sanctuary the Livingstons created, hundreds of additional acres are left ungrazed from summer through winter to provide additional habitat for turkeys, prairie chickens, pheasants, bobcats, and herds of whitetail and mule deer. Hay fields are harvested with wildlife protection in mind, and cattle watering stations were designed for access and safety for birds, bats and other wildlife.

SHARING KNOWLEDGE

The Livingstons share what they’ve learned with fellow ranchers, academic researchers, business and youth groups.

Through hard work, holistic management, and perseverance, the Livingstons have built a ranch that is sustainable for generations to come.

“The 2019 Leopold Conservation Award nominees featured an impressive array of families and operations from around the state. The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust is proud of the conservation accomplishments of each of the applicants,” said Erik Glenn, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust executive director. “These applicants showcase the diversity of agriculture in Colorado and the dedication that farming and ranching families have to the lands they steward, their communities and their families. We are particularly proud of this year’s recipient the Livingston Ranch and the entire Livingston family.”

“Agriculture producers feed a growing society, domestically and abroad, through sustainable production practices that produce more by using less. This approach is the very backbone of stewardship that the Leopold Conservation Award honors,” said Mike Hogue, Colorado Cattlemen’s association president. “Congratulations to the Livingston family on their well-deserved recognition, and being leaders in Colorado’s conservation and ranching industry.”

“The Natural Resources Conservation Service has proudly partnered to support the Leopold Conservation Award in Colorado for more than 10 years. The families that are nominated each year illustrate the commitment Colorado farmers and ranchers have to implementing sound conservation practices. The NRCS congratulates the Livingston family for their conservation ethic and land stewardship,” said Clint Evans, NRCS state conservationist.

Among the many outstanding landowners nominated for the award were finalists: Cory Off of Del Norte in Rio Grande County, and Gregg, Chris and Brad Stults of Wray in Yuma County.

The 2018 recipient was Beatty Canyon Ranch of Kim, Colo.

The Leopold Conservation Award in Colorado is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Stanko Ranch, Gates Family Foundation, American AgCredit, The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, The Nature Conservancy in Colorado, and McDonald’s.

Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 13 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.

For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org. ❖

NCBA’s Frazier announces retirement

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO Kendal Frazier announced today that he will retire after four years in the position and 34 years in the beef industry.

“I’m a lucky man to have worked in the cattle industry, what a wonderful journey this has been,” said Frazier in making the announcement.

“It has been an honor to serve the men and women who make their living in the cattle business. I am confident that I’m leaving NCBA in a good place.

“Over the past several years, we have worked to strengthen NCBA’s relationship with our stakeholders, build the association’s financial resources and deepen our staff talent pool while ensuring we continue to meet growing demand for great tasting, high-quality beef at home and abroad and NCBA will continue its tradition of excellence long after my departure.”

NCBA will begin the search process to select a new CEO immediately, and Frazier will remain in place to assist with the transition process, until Dec. 31.

Sizzlin’ S of Montana raises $10k for Nebraska ranchers

After seeing the outpouring of support for his community following the 2017 Lodgepole Fire, Rod Paschke of Jordon, Mont., knew he had to do something for Nebraska ranchers devastated by flooding.

“That fire didn’t affect us personally. It came to within about 20 miles of our property line,” he said. Paschke’s wife Julie helped manage donations that poured in: lining up hay deliveries, helping arrange moving cattle, making sandwiches for volunteers. “We got to witness it firsthand. It was pretty devastating, but the stuff we saw, people shipping hay from Nebraska, Wyoming, it was coming in steady. It was really memorable for us.”

Rod and Julie, who ranch and operate an outfitting business, were in agreement that they ought to contribute in some way to their Nebraska ranching friends. He was thinking of writing a check but was hoping he could do more, somehow.

“My wife said, ‘can we raffle a hunt?’ and she had the idea planned out in no time.”

Sizzlin’ S Outfitters offered 100 online “raffle” tickets at $100 each, hoping to raise $10,000 quickly. Julie arranged the raffle with a little help from a Nebraska friend whose family runs a custom combining business. The friend, Tracy Zeorian, also runs her own online business, so she helped set up the ticket purchasing details.

Paschke said many neighbors who had been on the receiving end of donations following the Lodgepole Fire were the first to buy a ticket. But tickets also went to people from the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California and many more states.

The Paschkes posted their raffle on Facebook at about 5 p.m. on a Friday and by the next Tuesday, the raffle tickets were all spoken for. Eastman’s Hunting Journal promoted the raffle via their social media, reaching some people that the Paschkes may not have on their own.

Robert Schwier won the raffle. The farmer and rancher from Minnesota will enjoy a five-day all-inclusive trophy mule deer hunt. Paschke is throwing in the $700 tag as well.

“It’s all for the right cause, that’s the best part.” He said the $10,000 is going to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s disaster program. “They can do what they want, they can disperse as it needs dispersed. I realize it’s a drop in the bucket to the disaster down there, but it’s what we could do.”

Paschke appreciates Julie for her role in the fundraiser. “She did a heck of a job setting it up. I get to do the fun part – guiding the hunter.”

A salute to the Lynch, Neb., rural volunteer fire department

The town of Lynch is a small rural community of 250 people in Boyd County located in northern Nebraska. Laying between the Missouri and Niobrara rivers the entire region has been hit hard by the recent flooding caused by the bomb cyclone in mid-March.

Sixty homes and 13 businesses were flooded in Lynch. The entire area lost water, sewer and electricity but the community came together. People on higher ground opened their homes to the families displaced by rising water so everyone had a place to go.

The volunteer fire department stepped up to serve. “The night it flooded we were out at 11 p.m. going house to house getting people out. We hauled them out in the buckets of tractors, so they only saved what they had in their hands.” said Fire Chief Jim McBride. “My own house flooded and I was appointed the emergency commander, so that meant more phone calls and paperwork. Two girls stayed at the fire hall to help with that, the phones never stopped ringing from 5:30 in the morning till night.”

When the Spencer Dam on the Niobrara was washing out, McBride and his department spent hours on the phone making sure everyone was warned and later checking that all residents were accounted for. With all the roads and bridges washed out some of the 21 men on the department were unable to make it in to help and the town was virtually cut off. The firemen put their own lives on hold, spending every day helping their community. Daily from 6 a.m. to midnight they unloaded donations, delivered water and went door to door seeing what people needed. They helped residents get their medications and once the water went down they worked to clean out flooded homes and with the necessary demolition.

The department has also been part of the ongoing search for Kenny Angel, the Spencer man who has been missing since the dam broke; with at least two men sometimes five going out every day searching for his remains. The area is still very dangerous due to the amount of ice remaining along the river, in places 5 to 25 feet deep and up to a quarter mile wide. “Our fire hall became a command center, people would come in for coffee and information. Ranchers would come in the mornings and ask for help.” McBride said. “I told the guys to go home, have a day off, but no one would. It was a week and a half before I finally shut the fire department down and made them go home. We have water now but it isn’t safe to drink, and limited sewer so we all still have porta pottys.”

TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS

Since there is only one way to access the town and other communities are also cut off, their fire district has now grown extending into Knox County. There is little hope for things to get better for months, with the state hoping to have a temporary bridge built by August. School kids are unable to cross the Niobrara River to attend school in Niobrara and what used to be a 30 minute drive is now an hour and a half. “With all the roads gone it amazes me the lengths people went to deliver donations, they came from clear across the state and some even had to go up into South Dakota just to get here. We have had a donation of chest waders which will really help. During the flood we were out in the water and it was over our boots and extremely cold. We would try and dry our socks at night only to put them back into wet boots. Guys would come in and say they couldn’t get warm at night. We were pretty happy when the first donation of dry socks came in.” McBride said. “It amazes me all the people that helped.”

McBride fears there will be members of the community who don’t rebuild and will never come back. Some of those up higher from the river had flood insurance but it was unavailable to many. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has finally arrived in the community and will hopefully provide the badly needed assistance.

Boyd County Sheriff Chuck Wrede and his department worked jointly with the firemen. “I’ve been here since 1976 and I’ve never seen anything like this before. There are 8 foot holes in the roads after the water went down. The county is trying to fix the roads but there are big soft spots.” Wrede said.

When the Spencer dam broke it took out the main water district line and half of the county is without water. This has made it very hard on the feedlots in the area. With the poor roads it has been almost impossible to haul the cattle out, some of them are getting out by using irrigation wells. There is only one road open which is gravel and no semis are allowed on it. The livestock losses in the area are yet to be completely tallied as there is still so much ice but the numbers are expected to be tremendous. “We have a long road ahead of us, not a quick fix.” Wrede said.

Boyd County residents are still in need of bottled water as well as fencing supplies but above all they desperately need dry, warm weather. ❖

CSU facility pairs science and industry

Gary and Kay Smith are the namesakes of the new meats lab facility on the campus of Colorado State University. Smith was a faculty member in the animal science department for 20 years and was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Mrs. Smith was a supporter of the university and was involved heavily with students.

The JBS Global Food Innovation Center, built through a partnership between JBS USA and CSU and built in the Smiths’ honor, is a $20 million facility to advance best practices in food safety, meat sciences, and animal handling and welfare.

“From a meat science standpoint, he is considered the scientist,” said Bob Delmore, CSU professor of meat science. “There are a lot of us who have trained under Dr. Smith, so it was a fitting recognition. There is a large bronze with a picture of him and his wife in one of the new courtyards.”

Delmore said the culinary facility is significantly larger with more cooking equipment that will allow students to prepare and produce products in a variety of ways for both research or catering situations.

Additionally, the new facility boasts a production facility for cooked items like ham, bacon, sausage and the like. A separate, sanitary packaging room that mirrors industry facilities for the ready-to-eat items is likely the only of its kind among universities, he said.

Delmore said the cattle handling facilities were designed under the supervision of Dr. Temple Grandin, using one of her standard designs. The facilities follow the same principles students are likely to see in the industry in feed yards and processing facilities and have best practices at work in animal flow, gate position, and flooring to meet Grandin’s expectations and teach students and visitors what ideal facilities can be. Animal handling facilities are enclosed, allowing animals and handlers to escape the elements as well as allowing groups of students to evaluate animals indoors.

ENHANCED INSTRUCTION

As a meat science professor, Delmore teaches an introductory course that, with the addition of this facility, can have a laboratory element implemented to enhance instruction. Delmore’s meat processing course will also utilize the facility, which he calls second to none, in the preparation of meat products. His food safety course has been utilizing the facility in designing food safety plans for the facility.

“The other day, the students were able to go into the plant and see what the process flow is going to look like in the facility and incorporate that into their food safety plan,” he said.

This dedication to exposure to industry carries over from animal handling to retail, with the Where Food Comes From Market on site, carrying Ram Country Meats, produced by students.

Graduates from CSU’s meat science program are able to have experience in quality assurance in a processing facility, food safety, product development, research, operations in plants of all sizes, careers with companies in allied industries.

“Right now is a good time,” he said. “There are jobs all across the country for these students who have a familiarity with this. It’s a good time.”

Students in the meat science program are 70 to 80 percent female, many of whom come to CSU initially with hopes of becoming a veterinarian but may find an opportunity in one of the fields related to animal or meat science.

Delmore, a meat scientist by training, also serves as the director of undergraduate programs. Prior to coming to CSU six years ago, he was a faculty member at Calpoly, San Luis Obispo after working in the meat processing industry. ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.