Angus Heritage Foundation inducts 4 industry leaders |

Angus Heritage Foundation inducts 4 industry leaders

On Nov. 6, during the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, four Angus industry leaders were added to the Angus Heritage Association. The 2017 inductees are Joe Elliott, Tennessee; Kelly Schaff, North Dakota; Clarence Van Dyke, Montana; and Cory Watt, posthumously, South Carolina.

Joe Elliott, Adams, Tenn., has been in the Angus business since age 9. An active 4-H member, Elliott was put in charge of the family herd performance records by his father. For more than 25 years, Robert Elliott & Sons Farms has hosted an annual production sale. They’ve also sold breeding stock in 15 states and were the first farm in the southeast to take live online bids and to host an online auction. The operation has been recognized twice with the Master Conservation Farmer award from the Montgomery County Soil Conservation District. The farm also received the Outstanding Forage Producer award from the Tennessee Forage Council. Elliott and his wife, Anne, have been married for 42 years. The couple has two sons, Lake and Bennett. Today, the family farm is a partnership with Elliott’s brother, William, and son, Lake, as Robert Elliott & Sons Farms with 245 Angus females.

Kelly Schaff, a fourth-generation rancher from St. Anthony, N.D., is a lifelong contributor to the Angus breed and the legacy of the world-renowned Schaff Angus Valley, along with his wife, Martie Jo, and daughters, Kelsie and Kourtney. Growing up in the Angus business, Schaff’s unbridled passion and enthusiasm for Angus cattle started at a very young age, taking on large responsibilities in the registered breeding program that was started by his grandfather, Paul Schaff, and carried forward by his father, Martin, and uncles, Joe and Paul Jr.

Clarence Van Dyke, of Manhattan, Mont., grew up on the farm where Van Dyke Angus still sits today. He served in the Army from 1951 to 1953 before returning home to marry his wife of 63 years, Marian, who passed in July 2016. The Van Dykes had four children: John (Elleen), Keith (Evelyn), Debra (Sid) Schutter and Lee (Shirlee). Van Dyke got his start in the registered Angus business in 1955 with the purchase of 35 cows. He became a test herd for ABS and was one of the first herds to widely use AI. Van Dyke’s sons all have been involved with the herd over the years, with Lee and Keith currently managing the herd.

While serving as chairman of the National Junior Angus Board, Cory Watt, Iva, S.C., was a natural leader. With a contagious smile and deep-felt laughter, he was quick to offer an encouraging word, lend a helping hand and spend time getting to know his fellow National Junior Angus Association members. Watt was humble, yet competitive. He was a perfectionist in the showring, who also knew how to laugh, and a true servant leader, more concerned with people than his own accolades. He always was determined to do his best, despite the pain it caused and the risk associated with pushing himself to the limit.

Angus Association awards scholarship

The American Angus Association launched the Future Angus Stockmen program to encourage the next generation of commercial cattle producers. This program awards a $1,000 scholarship annually thanks to support from Allflex. Catie Wharton, Syracuse, Kan., was awarded the scholarship during the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. Wharton is a freshman at Texas Tech University studying animal science with an emphasis in production. She fell in love with the beef industry as a young girl with her first Angus bucket calf and now aspires to become a beef producer. Wharton has served as treasurer, vice president and president in her county 4-H program and has taken grand champion accolades in beef, sheep, horse and photography projects. During her 4-H and FFA careers, Wharton has learned the value of utilizing high-quality Angus genetics. “Using genetics on the ranch is important because the cattle have to fit their environment while producing the product that the consumer wants,” Wharton said. Future Angus Stockmen participants can enroll each year and take advantage of Association programs such as the Beef Records Service, MaternalPlus, AngusSource or AngusSource Genetic at a reduced cost. Future Angus Stockmen also receive incentives for genomic testing.

American Angus Association names Angus Ambassador

Sydni Lienemann, Princeton, Neb., will represent more than 25,000 Angus breeders as the 2018 Angus Ambassador. A freshman majoring in animal science and agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lienemann competed against four other finalists for the title at the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. “I’m thankful I had the opportunity to judge this group of young people,” said Bruce Button, vice president and general manager, Lee Newspapers Inc. “It was a pleasure to see such well-spoken and driven young people in this industry.” Other judges for the competition were Jake Troutt, association regional manager; Mick Varilek, American Angus Association board of directors member; Annie Landry Viator, past Angus Auxiliary member and Angus breeder; and Dan Dhuyvetter, director of research and nutrition services for Ridley Block Operations.

Jordan Cattle Co. recognized for range management excellence

The Jordan Cattle Co. of Briggsdale, Colo., was given the Excellence in Rangeland Conservation Award by the Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management. The presentation was made at the annual meeting of the Colorado Section held in Pueblo on Oct. 31. The Jordan Cattle Co. was nominated for the Colorado Section SRM Excellence in Rangeland Conservation award for consistently demonstrating exemplary efforts in the stewardship of the rangeland resources under their management. Emmett Jordan was honored to receive the award on behalf of his family; wife Carrie, and sons Wyatt and Walter. The Jordan Cattle Co. ranch is located about 7 miles east of Briggsdale in northern Colorado’s high plains in a shortgrass prairie ecosystem. The average annual precipitation is 11 to 12 inches. The large fluctuations in timing and quantity of rainfall — from month to month and year to year — is a continuous challenge to range management. Currently, as put together by the Jordan family, the ranching unit consists of 10,740 acres. The ranch is operated as a cow-calf enterprise. A minor enterprise consists of developing and selling registered Angus bulls. The ranch strives for the cattle operation to be, as much as possible, a reflection of the natural processes that drive a healthy ecosystem. Managed grazing is the tool used on the ranch to improve soil and plant health; water absorption and retention; and nutrient and energy cycling. “We seek competitive business advantage through our grazing methods. Our sense of stewardship is that wise use is an ongoing process, not an end,” Jordan said. Jordan summarized his rangeland conservation ethic this way. “Our work is an expression of gratitude for the privilege to be on the land. Our strategy is to foster nature’s healing and regenerative powers. When we plan grazing and infrastructure, we strategize to balance our goals to improve the range; foster good animal husbandry; earn a profit; and to be enjoyable.”

VanMARK named FSA state executive director in Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. — The Trump Administration recently appointed Lois VanMARK as the new state executive director for the USDA Wyoming Farm Service Agency. VanMARK will begin as the Wyoming FSA SED on Nov. 13. VanMARK is a dryland wheat farmer and operates her family’s no-till farm in Goshen County, Wyoming. VanMARK served as the Wyoming FSA state executive director under the George W. Bush administration. As SED, VanMARK will use her leadership experience to oversee FSA programs in a customer-focused manner to ensure a safe, affordable, abundant and nutritious food supply for consumers.

Navarro named FSA state executive director in Colorado

DENVER, Colo. — The Trump Administration recently appointed Clarice Navarro as the new state executive director for the USDA Colorado Farm Service Agency. Navarro joined the Colorado FSA team on Nov. 13. Navarro was born and raised in southeastern Colorado, and lives in Pueblo, Colo. Navarro was first elected to the Colorado state House of Representatives in 2012, and she was a strong advocate for the agricultural community during her time as a legislator. She has a passion for rural America and Colorado’s rural way of life.

Clark named state director for Rural Development in Colorado

DENVER — The Trump Administration recently appointed Sallie Clark as the new state director for USDA Rural Development in Colorado. Clark begins her new role with the agency on Nov. 13. Clark is a former county commissioner representing El Paso County, Colorado, city councilmember, well-known small-business entrepreneur, served in leadership with Colorado Counties, Inc., and is past president of the National Association of Counties. Clark has extensive background at all levels of government, has a broad understanding of rural issues and federal agencies and has the reputation of a hard-working public servant. Clark and her husband, Welling, have made Colorado their home since 1985 and own and operate a successful business located in Colorado Springs, Colo. “It is an honor to be selected by the president to fill the extremely important role of state director of Rural Development in Colorado,” Clark said. “I look forward to working with the president, secretary of agriculture, and the assistant to the secretary for rural development to increase rural prosperity and enhance customer service through innovation and partnerships in our state.”

Schemm named FSA state executive director in Kansas

WASHINGTON — The Trump Administration recently appointed David Schemm as the new state executive director for the USDA Kansas Farm Service Agency. Schemm joined the Kansas FSA team on Nov. 13. Schemm has been active in leadership roles from community, state and national levels. He served as both a school board member and president, as well as a member of the extension board. Additionally, he served as president of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. He has been an advocate for farmers for a number of years on the Field to Market Board, Ag Data Coalition Board, Heartland Plant Innovations, Ag Rail Business Council, and various other agricultural organizations. He is a third-generation Kansas farmer, who farms with his wife, son and son’s fiancé in Sharon Springs.

IDFA hires Wojno to head innovation

The International Dairy Foods Association has named Thomas Wojno as senior vice president of innovation and member advancement, a newly created position. In this role, Wojno will be responsible for identifying and implementing innovative strategies to enhance IDFA services, expand its membership and develop new opportunities for growth, IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes said in a news release. Prior to joining IDFA, Wojno served as vice president of member value and strategy for the National Restaurant Association, where he built a data-driven membership organization focused on member experience and sales development. Under his leadership, NRA’s new membership grew 300 percent and increased retention from 83 to 94 percent, IDFA said. Wojno also served as vice president of resource development for America’s Promise, an alliance organization founded by Gen. Colin Powell to support better outcomes in education, and held leadership roles within multiple initiatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Wojno began his career in business development at Bloomberg LP. Wojno received a bachelor’s degree in business and organizational communication from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn.

NASDA hires DeLucia for policy team

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has hired Aline DeLucia as associate director for public policy. Prior to joining NASDA, DeLucia served as a manager of federal government relations for Syngenta, where she was responsible for crop protection and biotechnology. DeLucia has three master’s degrees in agricultural science and business from Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Florida. DeLucia received a bachelor of science in animal science from the University of Sao Paulo.

Kusant is October Aggie of the Month

CURTIS, Neb. – Will Kusant of Comstock, Neb., is a leader among Aggies at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. He was named Aggie of the Month for October, 2017, by his peers, NCTA staff and faculty. Kusant is a second-year student majoring in agronomy, and also serves as an NCTA resident assistant for campus residence halls, said Jennifer McConville, NCTA associate dean. “We appreciate the leadership and team-building spirit that Will has for creating the fun, collegial atmosphere for student life along with academic success here on campus,” McConville said. The graduate of Ord High School was nominated for the monthly honor by Brad Ramsdale, associate professor of agronomy, coach of the NCTA Crops Judging Team and faculty sponsor for the Collegiate Farm Bureau. On campus, Kusant serves as president of the student Farm Bureau club, is a member of the award-winning crops judging team, and leads students as a campus ambassador in addition to being an RA. “Will is an excellent student and has maximized his learning experience here at NCTA,” Ramsdale said. “His involvement in Farm Bureau Club and competing in the crops judging competitions is evidence of his desire to broaden his knowledge and experiences in the agricultural field. Most of all, Will is a student with very strong character and integrity.” As Farm Bureau Club president, Kusant will be serving as one of two collegiate voting delegates at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation’s annual conference in December. Ramsdale notes that Kusant has been on the NCTA crops team for the past three semesters and was a member of the champion team in precision agriculture at a national contest last April. Kusant said he hopes to become a certified crop consultant after graduating with his associate’s degree next May. Aggie of the Month honorees receive a certificate from NCTA Dean Ron Rosati.

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