Thallman presented BIF Pioneer Award |

Thallman presented BIF Pioneer Award

Thallman presented BIF Pioneer Award

LOVELAND, Colo. — The Beef Improvement Federation presented R. Mark Thallman, Blue Hill, Neb., the BIF Pioneer Award June 21 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colo. Thallman is recognized internationally as a leading scientist in the areas of beef cattle breeding and statistical genetics.

His career is devoted to the application of technology to accelerate the genetic improvement of beef cattle. He has co-authored 49 peer-reviewed articles; one peer-reviewed book chapter; 40 conference proceedings; and 12 technical reports, manuals and theses. He is the first author of 29 of these 101 publications, has given 49 invited presentations and is frequently consulted by the beef industry on a variety of topics. Thallman co-leads the Germplasm Evaluation Program at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb. — the largest meat animal research center in the world. The germplasm program is recognized as the most comprehensive beef breed evaluation ever conducted, influencing the beef industry in the United States and worldwide. Thallman earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science (1981), master’s in animal breeding (1988), and a doctorate in genetics (1995), all from Texas A&M University. After working for nearly a decade for major beef cattle seedstock producers, Mark joined USMARC as a research associate in October 1996. He went on to become a permanent staff member in June 1998. Genetic evaluation has been a common theme throughout Thallman’s career. He has served as the USDA-ARS representative to the BIF board of directors since 2006 and has participated in most BIF conventions since 1983. He served on the Carcass and Live Animal Evaluation subcommittee to write guidelines for ultrasound technician certification in 1990 and the Emerging Technologies subcommittee of the BIF to write guidelines for use of DNA testing in beef cattle improvement from 2004 to 2007. He also served on the ad hoc committee in 2007-2008 to revise the BIF Guidelines, which is the most highly respected source that breed associations and other organizations rely on when setting policy related to genetic improvement. He also currently serves as the chairman of the BIF Genomic and Genetic Prediction Committee. He received the BIF Continuing Service Award in 2009.

Holt Presented BIF Pioneer Award

LOVELAND, Colo. — The Beef Improvement Federation presented Tim Holt, Fort Collins, Colo., the BIF Pioneer Award June 21 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colo. One of the challenges for beef producers in the western U.S. is environmental adaptability, whether it be for heat, scarcity of forage or other challenges. For those raising cattle above 5,000 feet, one of the greatest challenges is resistance to High Mountain Disease commonly called brisket disease. Holt played a pivotal role in the development and delivery of a veterinary test that predicts susceptibility to pulmonary hypertension — the underlying cause of HMD. Holt received his DVM from Colorado State University in 1988. He performed his first PAP test in early 1980, and has since collected more than 350,000 PAP observations. Much of his data has served as the basis for heritability estimates at a multitude of elevations and more recently for the development of PAP EPD and for identification of markers reducing susceptibility to HMD. Travelling more than 75,000 miles a year offering PAP measurement services from New Mexico to Montana, he is the key ranch expert for breeders and breeding programs across the region, providing advice, expertise, and approaches to reducing brisket disease and making genetic progress in high elevation herds. Holt also organizes a biennial PAP Summit training for post-graduate veterinarians. These continuing education events serve as the mechanism to train field-veterinarians and to keep them informed of the latest research results in this area. He is currently contributing to the development of PAP measurement guidelines for the BIF, has developed a heart-scoring system to determine levels of pulmonary hypertension and heart tissue remodeling at harvest.

Huffhines presented BIF Pioneer Award

LOVELAND, Colo. — The Beef Improvement Federation presented Craig Huffhines, Amarillo, Texas, the BIF Pioneer Award June 21 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colo. A native Texan, Huffhines received his undergraduate degree in animal science from Texas A&M University. He was then recruited to Colorado State University by Gary Smith to work on a study that showed the feedlot performance of Hereford-influenced cattle and palatability characteristics of Hereford beef. He was project leader for the CSU Hereford study, which formed the basis for the CHB program. Huffhines served as executive vice president of the American Hereford Association from 1997 to 2015. He initially joined the AHA staff in 1992 upon completing a master’s degree at CSU. His early responsibilities included director of feedlot and carcass programs for AHA’s Certified Hereford Beef program. He was named CHB director in 1995, launching a fully aligned, breed-specific, branded beef program into the retail and foodservice sectors. Under his leadership, AHA implemented the Whole Herd Total Performance Records program, developed the National Reference Sire program, moved toward a full multi-trait genetic evaluation, led the development of a Pan-American genetic evaluation and led the movement toward incorporating genomics to the AHA genetic evaluation. He has served in several industry leadership capacities, including president of the National Pedigreed Livestock Council from 2003 to 2006, chairman of the BIF Emerging Technology Committee from 2004 to 2007, chairman of the U.S. Beef Breeds Council and a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Animal Identification working group and USMARC advisory committee. Huffhines is currently executive vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association. Huffhines and his wife, Mary Jon, are the parents of three sons — Seth, Cole and Miles.

Crow presented BIF Ambassador Award

LOVELAND, Colo. — The Beef Improvement Federation presented Pete Crow, Greenwood Village, Colo., the BIF Ambassador Award June 21 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colo. Crow is the third generation of publishers to take the reins of the family business, Crow Publications, which was founded by his grandfather, Nelson Crow, in 1922. Their longest running publication, the Western Livestock Journal, boasts 96 years. Published weekly, the Crow family’s goal for WLJ is to provide ranchers the tools they need to do their business better with news that is concise, timely and relevant. WLJ offers breaking livestock market reports, the latest research on animal health, innovative management techniques and strategies, new findings on forage and range management and seedstock market reports. Crow has followed in his family’s tradition of making the WLJ the western rancher’s source for new ideas. Under his leadership, the paper has included more coverage of emerging technologies in breeding and genetics, special issues focused on artificial insemination and new equipment being developed, and semi-annual magazines dedicated to the unique concerns of both the purebred and commercial elements of the cattle industry. He was recognized with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 2011 Excellence in Agricultural Journalism Award. Crow and his father, Dick, were awarded the Livestock Publications Council’s Hall of Fame Award in 2015.

OTA hires farm policy director

The Organic Trade Association has hired Johanna Mirenda as its farm policy director, a position that is part of its regulatory team. She will begin her new post on Aug. 6. Mirenda has served as technical director for the Organic Materials Review Institute since 2015, where she has overseen OMRI Standards Manuals for review of materials to USDA’s National Organic Program regulations and Canadian Organic Regime standards. She has served as OMRI’s primary point of contact for governmental and regulatory bodies, among other duties. Previous to this position, she was policy director for Pennsylvania Certified Organic from 2012 to 2015. Mirenda earned a bachelor of science degree in horticultural science from Pennsylvania State University, with minors in biology and environmental inquiry. She subsequently earned a master of science degree in sustainable food systems from Green Mountain College, and wrote her thesis on strengthening the National Organic Standards board’s review of substances under the Organic Foods Production Act. She is a certified master composter and participates in regional composting projects, including composting systems at elementary schools and community gardens. As farm policy director for the Organic Trade Association, she will help develop policy strategy through producer engagement, serving as primary staff to its Farmers Advisory Council and building relationships with the organic farming community.

Mirenda will also serve as lead technical expert on issues related to crop and livestock materials and standards, and in-house technical lead in international standards evaluation and analysis. She will primarily work from her home office in Wilder, Vt., but will frequently travel to meetings and events to represent the Organic Trade Association. Mirenda will succeed Nate Lewis, who will be focusing more time on his certified organic farm in Washington State after serving four years on OTA staff. ❖

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American Angus Association names Retallick-Riley AGI president


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