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Obituary: VENCIL WELP, SR.

VENCIL WELP,

SR., 80

August 17, 1940 – August 30, 2020

Strasburg, Colorado

Vencil Welp, Sr. (80) of Strasburg, CO passed away on August 30, 2020. Funeral services were September 5, 2020 with burial at Mt. View Cemetery, Bennett, CO.

Vencil was born on August 17, 1940 in Wray, Colorado to Wilbert and Elizabeth Welp. He graduated from Vernon High School and The Parks School of Business.

Vencil married Shirley Hanlon and they had six children.

Vencil worked for Deister, Ward & Witcher, Inc. for 31 years. Vencil moved the family to the farm in 1977.

Survived by his wife of 58 years Shirley, children Clela (Chuck) Eggebrecht, Dalleen Welp, Karla Stratton, LaVell (Andy) Winsor, Jilonne (Brad) Schaffer, and Vencil Jr. (Pattie) Welp. Grandchildren: Jacob, Kade, Robert, Alyssa, MaKayla, Brayden, Briley, Olivia, Vencil and Axl. Siblings Dennis Welp, Estalene Wudtke, and Linda Welp.

Memorial contributions can be mailed to: Vencil T. Welp Sr. C/O Love Funeral Home, P.O. Box 188, Limon, CO 80828. Memorials will be distributed.

Obituary: Gary Hoyt

Gary Hoyt, 76

October 1, 1943 – September 10, 2020

Mullen, Nebraska

Gary Kim Hoyt age 76 of Mullen, Nebraska, died September 10, 2020 at the Great Plains Health Center in North Platte, Nebraska.

Memorial services will be held on Wednesday September 16, 2020 at 2:00 PM mountain time at the Lariat Auditorium in Mullen with Pastors Luke Storer and Bob Teters officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date in the Whitman Cemetery. Cards of remembrance or memorials may be sent to Carolyn Hoyt, PO Box 364, Mullen, NE 69152 to be decided at a later time. A visitation will be held on Tuesday September 15, 2020 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Mullen Funeral Home. Words of encouragement may be left at www.govierbrothers.com. The memorial service will also be livestreamed at www.govierbrothers.com.

Gary Kim Hoyt was born at Hyannis, Nebraska October 1, 1943 to Lawrence and Barbara (Bump) Hoyt. He grew up on the family ranch north of Whitman Nebraska attending grade school at District 151 in Cherry County. Gary attended and graduated from the University of Nebraska School of Agriculture in Curtis Nebraska.

On January 14, 1961 he married Carolyn Messersmith in Whitman Nebraska and continued to live on the family ranch until he retired and moved south of Mullen in 2011. He loved the daily routine of ranching and being a strong steward of the land. He also enjoyed coaching wrestling and shooting sports, auto body and mechanic work, competing in motocross and demolition derby’s, music, fishing, playing cards and spending time with the grandkids.

Gary loved his family, always making sure he was available to help and encourage them. He was a kind and generous man. He had a great sense of humor and a passion for kids. He was always willing to help them whether it be wrestling, shooting or just everyday life.

Gary was very active in activities and received many special awards. He was the organizer for kids wrestling for the USA Wrestling Federation, Nebraska State Kids Wrestling Director, National Kids Wrestling Director from 1986-1988 and a 6 State Regional Wrestling Director. He served as a Member at Large on the National USA Executive Wrestling Board and was inducted into the Nebraska Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 1987. He was named USA Kids Wrestling Man of the Year by USA Wrestling in 1979-80. He received the Governor Kay Orr State Award for working with Nebraska Youth in 1989. Gary was inducted into the Nebraska Figure and Demolition Derby Hall of Fame in 2015. He received the Daisy Award for coaching shooting sports for 20 years in 2018.

But by far his greatest awards were found in the smile of a child or athlete. He hoped he had instilled in them strong work ethics, positive values and lifelong skills, productivity and willingness to help others.

He was proceeded in death by his parents, sister Sheri Jamison, brother in-laws George Younkin Jr., Pat McGinn, and Tom Messersmith. Sister in law Donna Messersmith and Mother/Father in-laws Jake and Violet Messersmith.

He leaves his wife Carolyn Hoyt of 59 years. 5 children; Phil and Susan Hoyt, Todd and Rhonda Hoyt, Mitzi and George Kramer, Katie and Vic Perez, Kyle and Denise Hoyt.3 sisters: Vicki Peden, Becky Younkin and Karen McGinn. Brother in-laws Joe and Pat Messersmith. He also leaves 14 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren.

Obituary: HENERY MICHAEL KARRE

HENERY

MICHAEL KARRE, 78

June 21, 1942 – September 13, 2020

Greeley, Colorado

Henry Michael Karre was born June 21, 1942 to September 13, 2020. Sadly, Henry passed away at Spring Creek Nursing Home in Ft. Collins, of complications from advanced alzheimer’s. Born in Ord, Nebraska to Howard and Gladys (Snell) Karre. He resided in Greeley for most of his life. He graduated in 1960 from Greeley High.

He married Carol Ann Peterson on May 26, 1962 in Greeley. They had a sheep farm and put up grass hay. They raised Registered Suffolk Sheep, Rambouillet range ewes and market goats. He knew good sheep and had many champion breeding stock as well as the market lambs he raised and sold, did very well. He loved rodeo, horses, always had a dog and barn cats.

He loved attending his grandkids’ sporting events. He enjoyed their 4H projects. He loved to travel, loved Dairy Queen loved lunching with his sister and brothers whenever he could. He enjoyed visiting his friends and traveling back to Nebraska to see his cousins.

They lost their son, Quint, in a tragic car wreck in 1995. Carol passed away from ovarian cancer in 2004.

He was a pipe fitter/welder by trade for 38 years. He proudly worked for UA Local 208, Denver. Henry was a life-member of 208. He was an expert craftsman and could build anything or fix anything, repair gates, family plumbing problems (busman’s holiday!), and enjoyed the details of building anything from scratch.

He worked at NCMC when it was still Greeley Hospital, the packing house, Kodak, all the major powerhouses in this area. He worked hard all his life. He had a tremendous work ethic.

He leaves behind two grandchildren, Preston Karre (Tana Wolfe) and Tyla (Marcus) Walker and great-granddaughter Quinn. Daughter-in-law, Kris (Tyler) Knez. His sister, Ruby Ogden-Darrington; brothers, Retd. Lt. Col. Bob (Janice) Karre, Gary Karre, Denny (Toni) Karre. Numerous nieces and nephews. Sister-in-law, Betty Hatfield; brothers-in-law, Rich (Jane) Peterson and Bill (Marsha) Peterson. Daughter, Holly King.

He was preceded in death by Pink and Larry Peterson.

We would like to thank the entire staff at Spring Creek Nursing Home in Ft. Collins, for their love, care, assistance for all they’ve attended for Henry.

Funeral Service 10:00 a.m. September 23rd, 2020 at Stoddard Funeral Home. Luncheon will be served at Z Ranch Event Center, 29251 Weld CR 53, Greeley, Colorado 80631 provided by his daughter-in-law, Kris and Tyler Knez to follow the service.

Cremation and Inurnment beside his wife, Carol and son, Quint as well as near his parents at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, donations can also be made to Pathways Hospice. Both, in care of Stoddard Funeral Home 3205 W. 28th Street Greeley, Colorado 80634.

A patchwork of pumpkin fun

A now-thriving business began as an experimental fluke in a weedy, hard-to-irrigate field. That was in 1995. My, what a difference a quarter of a century makes.

Rodney Anderson grew up on 80-acres in Loveland, Colo. When he was 9, his father sold off the dairy farm portion, concentrating his efforts on raising field corn, hay, some pinto beans; plus custom haying.

When Rodney was 20 or 21 and recently married, he decided to raise sweet corn on about five acres. That enterprise went so well that he continued selling his harvests at Farmers’ Markets from 1979 to 2001. Ten years of that was at his Loveland location.

In 1989, he moved to Windsor, doubling acreage and expanding crop varieties. That upgrade included 400-500 tomato plants annually, plus sweet corn. But there was this one sad little field that only produced a bumper crop of weeds as it was too difficult to reach with water, until…

“Try pumpkins,” someone casually recommended.

Anderson gave it a try, figuring he had nothing to lose but some seed sown in bone-dry soil. The results were amazing: an abundant, healthy crop as perfect as was his timing. Because that same season, Steele’s Market in Windsor lost its pumpkin supplier and was more-than-eager to accept Anderson’s big, orange orbs.

A LOT LIKE CINDERELLA

When Anderson, wife Patty, and their two sons again relocated, this time to Ault, pumpkins were as top-of-mind as the transformed one that carried Cinderella to the royal ball.

Starting in 2001, Anderson plants 40-acres of them, along with squash and minis. He now raises 40-50 varieties in myriad colors, some for eating (like as the star of yummy pies), others merrily decorative. And he’s always experimenting with new types.

For the first six years, he personally wholesaled to customers, delivering direct rather than through an agent. When approached by one customer to use a third party, for a more-than-paltry fee, he countered by saying only if that company came out to help grow and harvest his crop. The proposal was abruptly declined. He continues on making personal deliveries.

All the while, Anderson busily labored with additional endeavors. He still retains about four regular hay cutting customers, plus tackling his own 600-acres (spread over five different places), 320-acres of which are on his Ault home base.

Most days after morning irrigating, Anderson drives a semi load of hay to dairies. Some are local, others in Windsor, Mead and Fort Lupton. Besides home-grown, he sources additional hay to deliver as a by-order product to dairies as far afield as Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming.

Anderson employes two full-time workers to run the farm when he’s on-the-road, plus his 27-year-old son Tyler, plus 15-20 part-timers for the autumn peak season extravaganza.

When Anderson’s pumpkins originally morphed into an entire season of fun, he sought customers for a U-Pick field by setting up a roadside display.

“I wanted some ‘eye appeal,’” the ag entrepreneur said.

Each year the parking lot exhibit grew, adding hayrides and a one-acre hay maze replete with tunnels and a hay bale roof to — just in time for Halloween — make it deliciously spooky-dark inside. After the massive grassy structure now comprised of seven semi-loads of hay (gigantic bales 3-ft. X 4-ft. X 8 ft. and smaller 60-70-pounders) is hefted into place, let the merriment begin.

“Kids have a ball in there!” Anderson said, noting that some even refuse to come out! Most parents, on the other hand, refuse to go into the shadowy, cave-like maze. Then Anderson or one of his employees has to retrieve the teasingly errant youngsters.

Admitting it makes him feel old, 64-year-old Anderson mentioned that some of those playful children are now grownups bringing their own kids to his maze and U-Pick field. But age is just a state of mind when you own and manage such a joyful place.

Large groups, many of them extended families of up to 50 people, arrive each year to buy pumpkins for follow-up parties at which they carve their jack-o-lanterns, have chili cook-offs and more at someone’s house. Anderson expects even COVID-19 won’t halt that longtime tradition.

LOST IN (OPEN) SPACE

Anderson recalled one memorable crowd, a church youth group, from 2012. They requested a parking lot bonfire for dusk, after the U-Pick lot and hay maze closed. He first gave them a hayride to the field, where they picked their chosen pumpkins. After a return ride to the parking lot, the young people played in the maze of tunnels as he started up a small, cozy blaze.

After a total of about 2½ hours, sufficiently happy group members and their ‘punkins piled into their cars and left. Anderson’s busy day was done… or was it? He spotted a single car remaining in the lot with no owner anywhere in sight. Anderson again checked inside the intricate maze. Not a soul.

He quickly 4-wheeled out to the U-Pick field, worrying about who and where they were. There amongst the rows and rows of vines he found a young, stargazing couple who merely wondered why no one had come out to get them.

As the story unfolded, they said they’d arrived sometime after the final group left the field. The 20-somethings just wandered out and stayed on, admiring the beautiful, clear night and its stunning full moon.

Anderson sincerely apologized to them for not realizing they were out there, to which they replied, “Don’t feel bad. We had a blast!”

On a less romantic note that night, the youth leader’s wife lost her wedding ring — which, unlike the romantic couple, has never been seen again! ❖

— Metzger is a freelance writer from Fort Collins, Colo. She can be reached at ponytime47@gmail.com.

Beautiful babes

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” Carl Sandburg

My wife and I couldn’t have kids so we had thousands of them… baby lambs, calves, piglets, you name it, we’ve had them. Although I know a lot about baby lambs and calves, my knowledge of Homo sapien babies is woefully lacking. I’ll never forget the time I was looking at baby diapers in the grocery store and I saw the diapers arranged in order, such as 4-6 pounds, 6-8 pounds etc. I told my wife, “I had no idea that human babies pooped so much!”

I love holding human babies but I still don’t really know how and I think all babies at birth should be tattooed with humorist Dave Berry’s warning: “Gently lift baby to your shoulder. If you are holding the baby correctly there should now be vomit on your shoulder. If there is poop you’re holding the baby upside down.”

I’ll never forget the time I was engaging in one of my favorite activities while stuck in the hospital. I don’t think they do it anymore but years ago after a mother gave birth to her baby, when she wasn’t feeding it, they’d put the new baby on display and you could look through a window and see all the beautiful babes in pink and blue either sleeping or crying their baby brains out. One time at the window a proud father joined me and asked, “Which one is yours?”

“Oh, no,” I said, “I’m just window shopping. All my babies are at home.”

“How many do you have?” the father asked while raising an eyebrow and moving away.

“At the moment I think we have 340,” I replied proudly.

The next thing I know the father was pleading with a nurse to get his baby out of there, as if I was going to kidnap it.

I don’t know why we love babies so much and yet we don’t look upon the elderly with as much affection, after all, they have so much in common. They both have no teeth, no hair, they’ll eat anything put in front of them, they require babysitters, they’re always wetting their pants and they cry all the time. The only downside to human babies is they grow up to be teenagers and have lots of relatives.

While I think human babies are precious and are one of the wonders of this world, I don’t think I’ve seen anything cuter than a newly born Hereford calf hiding in green grass. The only thing cuter is if it’s curled up in snow. Baby ducks are also very cute, unlike a chicken which loses its cuteness after one day. I can watch a duck all day. They just crack me up for some reason. And if baby lambs don’t bring a smile to your face when they get together, twirl their tails and run helter-skelter all over the place then you truly are a hard-hearted human.

There is a downside to building an emotional bond with a newborn. I’ll never forget one Christmas when my wife and I were supposed to travel three hours away to spend the day with my grandparents. Before we left we checked on the cows and found one calf with a terrible case of scours. We threw everything in the book at that calf trying to save it and had to call my grandparents and tell them we wouldn’t be coming. They were understanding, but terribly disappointed. Later that day the calf died and my wife went home and took down all the Christmas decorations. It was a very sad Christmas.

That’s what the animal rightists are missing and why they’ve got it all wrong when they talk about stockmen. We aren’t a bunch of cruel and sadistic meanies whipping, hitting and otherwise abusing our livestock. The animal rightists haven’t seen us with a baby calf in our bathtub trying to warm it up, or a pair of bummer lambs on the hearth, or the back porch. PETA just doesn’t understand that we raise animals because we love them. We love the wonder of nature and all those beautiful babes. And we give these precious babies a life they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

I think that’s a winning argument for the preservation of stockmen and their beautiful babes in anyone’s book. ❖

Uncertain

Well, pilgrims, according to Mr. Webster, the definition of the word, “uncertain,” is not reliable, undependable etc. I can go with that because that is where you and I are in today’s world. We are uncertain and we are not sure how reliable the future is. I have been reading a profile of one George Soros in the fall issue of Range Magazine and it is very well detailed on what this man is all about. If I remember correctly his fortune is in the of $11 billion range. He is 89 years and is a Marxist. He has taken advantage of unsettled structures in government all over the world and has invested his money in such a manner that he once broke the bank of England! He works at creating chaos anywhere and everywhere as he is extremely wise when it comes to markets etc. and how to make money from the results of his deeds. He is responsible for much of what is happening in our world today and is proud of his accomplishments.

Not only that, he has folks under his umbrella from both sides of the aisle because of his desire to put money where it will do him the most good. Is there a racial divide in this country? Yes, of course, and it’s getting wider and wider. Look to George Soros, gentle reader, he is the one, according to this article in Range Magazine, that is mostly responsible for much of what you see on television and what you hear in the news. It is scary and makes one uncertain if and what can be done to stop this evil person from wrecking so many lives.

Do you remember in years past when we watched the “telly” and inside this deep, dark cave there was this evil being sitting on a throne of some sort and he was going to control the world. It’s scary how close that was to G. Soros. What makes a man like that? What makes anyone desire so much more than is even possible to obtain? Dear friends, we are in for a rocky, bumpy ride as these protests continue all over the country and much of it, if not all, funded by G. Soros’s many different organizations.

Let me jump away from this topic and catch you up on other uncertainties. I did not expect to run out of calendars so soon. I have none left. Again, I thank you guys, always my friends, I get orders from you each and every year. You have been so loyal to me I feel really special!

On another note, a little incident I would call unexpected or certainly, uncertain was this: When I went to feed the ponies during the snow and ice storm, my “perfect” horse was shivering and shaking even though he was under the shed out of the weather. I fed them and then went to the saddle room to get a blanket for him. When I approached him and started to unfold the blanket, he came unglued and started looking for a way out. The only way out was over me and thank goodness he decided not to run over me to escape. He is an old ranch horse and broke to death unless you want to put a full blanket on him. Larry did tell me the horse had dumped him on one occasion when he got spooked at something or another. Okay, so now I just need to pay attention and see if we can avoid the things that might cause him to “get spooked.” I reckon, he will just have to shiver and shake if he likes ‘cause I will not try that again.

Outside of those uncertain things, I reckon I will close this column for this week and hope you are all well.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, sorry about the calendars, keep yer head on a swivel, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖

Cow-calf producers need better price discovery

For too long, cow-calf producers across the nation have marketed our cattle with one hand tied behind our back. The culprit has been an ever-growing lack of price discovery.

In the free market, accurate pricing of a commodity depends upon the free flow of information up and down the supply chain. While beef consumers will always drive long-term demand, the economic reality is that packers drive the short-term demand for cattle.

The shift towards value-based marking has brought improvements in consumer demand and supply chain efficiency. However, it has also significantly hampered the process of price discovery. For many years, the industry has struggled to develop a solution that preserves the benefits of value-based marketing while generating enough negotiated trade to have robust price discovery.

The Fed Cattle Exchange was created with this in mind and allows packers to purchase cattle through an online auction format early in the week to establish more negotiated trade. Unfortunately, this option has failed because packers consistently refuse to show up to the exchange and purchase cattle.

Independent economic research has established the level of negotiated trade necessary in each cattle-producing region of the country to provide robust price discovery, but it is simply unrealistic to expect packers to voluntarily increase competition to the detriment of their bottom line. Therefore, it is necessary to compel packers to purchase cattle through negotiated trade at regional levels supported by economic research.

The Holcomb fire and market response to COVID-19 highlighted this necessity and demonstrated the need for quick and meaningful action to finally fix the problem and put cow-calf producers on more solid ground.

To accomplish this, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association formed a working group of cow-calf producers who developed a policy on price discovery to guide our future efforts. The group held numerous meetings and heard from leading economic experts while forming the policy, which was subsequently adopted by the association. A key component of the new policy expresses the association’s support for “a solution that would compel the regular participation of all major packers in the negotiated market with cash trade minimums that reflect the volumes needed in different geographical regions to achieve robust price discovery.”

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and 21 other affiliates of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also brought a similar policy resolution to NCBA’s summer business meeting in Denver.

The resolution found broad support amongst cow-calf producers from around the country. However, it faced significant opposition from NCBA’s feeder affiliates and members, who advocated for much less stringent compliance by packers.

While leaders of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association have always favored voluntary solutions to our industry troubles, only one major packer was willing to meet to discuss a voluntary increase in negotiated trade ahead of the July NCBA meeting. With this, it was clear that pursuing the same failed policies of the past would result in the same failed outcomes that have stranded cow-calf producers in financial turmoil for years.

A marathon six-hour meeting of the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing Committee resulted in a compromise between the two positions. While not perfect, it will none-the-less put NCBA in a position to support solutions that compel packers to buy more negotiated cattle.

In short, the compromise policy created an NCBA working group that must make recommendations by Oct. 1, 2020, on the minimum percentage and frequency of cattle that must be purchased by packers in a given region to establish robust price discovery. The packers will then be asked to voluntarily buy that amount of cattle over the given period through negotiated trade, but if they at any time fail to meet the established minimums, it will trigger a change in the NCBA policy to support legislative or regulatory action to establish a minimum level of negotiated trade.

While it was a long and contentious process, the compromise policy on price discovery gives cow-calf producers nationwide a path forward and hope of action to finally alleviate a long-standing obstacle. Even so, our work is far from over. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and like-minded cow-calf producer associations across the country will work diligently to ensure the working group’s benchmarks are sufficient to establish robust price discovery, and most importantly, hold all the packers accountable.

The urgency we face in resolving our price discovery issues cannot be overstated. If we fail to follow through with an industry-driven solution, we will likely leave it up to Congress and federal regulators to develop a solution that we may not like.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will continue to lead the charge to ensure cow-calf producers can determine our own future. I am proud to be part of an organization that stands with my fellow cow-calf producers through thick and thin, and works towards real, meaningful solutions to the problems we all face. We will continue this fight because our livelihoods and future depend on it. ❖

Hereford Crossroads #6 celebrates northwest Nebraska’s heritage

Nebraska is cattle country, and one piece of that heritage will be honored this fall in northwest Nebraska, when Hereford Crossroads #6 makes its way to Crawford in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Crawford Hereford Breeders Association.

The Hereford Crossroads reunion will take place Oct. 10 at the Crawford Community Building, the sixth such event organized by Nebraskans for Hereford Heritage since the group’s inception in 2015. Former Crawford Hereford Breeders members will have memorabilia on display when the doors open for the 5 p.m. social hour. Other events that night include a meal at 6 p.m. and the annual Hereford Hall of Fame induction and special entertainment at 7 p.m. Typically, two Nebraska Hereford breeders and one Hereford bull are inducted into the Hall of Fame each year.

The Crawford Hereford Breeders Association was formed in 1920, with Clyde Buffington and Sam Swinbank leading the effort, said member and former sale manager Tom Lemmon. Both men were holding private bull sales but were interested in forming a regional association that could draw additional consigners.

Eleven breeders were involved with the organization when the first sale was held in March 1920, though not all of them consigned bulls that inaugural year. Without a sale barn, the association held its initial sale at the Crawford City Park, and early sales often took place in livery stables, according to a 1970 story in Nebraska Cattleman.

“They used hay bales for seats. It was a little bit western. They had some good saddlehorses to lead the bulls in and out,” Lemmon said.

The first decade of sales saw an average that never went above $200, with the lowest at $99 in 1925. By 1927, the association had 94 head consigned, and topped that at 95 in 1929. A year later, the average price was $102, but founding member Clyde Buffington had the top-selling bull at $230.

As membership grew, the association built a barn in 1941 and added a sale pavilion in 1945, Lemmon said. The association held an organizational meeting in December or January to consign bulls, and had its annual meeting prior to its sale in March. By 1945, the association was also hosting Hereford shows.

The final show and sale for the Crawford Hereford Breeders Association took place in 1995, but the group boasted 150 members in those 75 years. Membership drew heavily from the northwest Nebraska region, but also from breeders as far away as Mullen, Lewellen, Bridgeport, Morrill and Henry, as well Edgemont, Hot Springs and Oelrichs, S.D.

From its earliest days, the association also supported local youth, starting a 4-H Calf Club in 1921, allowing youngsters to choose calves from the members’ herds and sell them in the association sale. Lemmon’s father, Cal, was one of the boys who drew lots for calves in 1921. He and fellow club members Beth Riggs, Gilbert Swinbank, Jim Buffington and Lawrence Tollman staged an all-Hereford show for President Calvin Coolidge during his 1927 visit to Ardmore, S.D., with the assistance of the association, according to a Sept. 4, 1947, issue of The Panhandle Digest.

“I still like the Hereford cattle,” Lemmon said. “In talking to descendants of members, they still have fond memories of the Hereford cattle and the association. They might run Angus, but that part hasn’t gone away.”

HEREFORD HISTORY

Hereford cattle were introduced to the U.S. by Kentucky statesman Henry Clay in 1817, though he crossed his with shorthorn cattle to avoid inbreeding, according to the Texas State Historical Association. The first breeding herd was introduced in New York by William Sotham. The American Hereford Cattle Breeders Association (later known as the American Hereford Association, was organized in 1881 and established its permanent headquarters in Missouri in 1920.

The Nebraskans for Hereford Heritage want to continue the tradition of preserving information about the Nebraska Hereford industry. The brainchild of Richard Brown of Lincoln, it was organized in 2015 with the goal of creating a Hereford museum.

“It is our long-term goal to have our own museum somewhere in the Sandhills, ideally in central Nebraska,” said Linda Teahon, one of the founding board members. At the end of the first meeting, the breeders at the meeting each contributed $100 toward the effort and began working on fundraising ideas. Hereford Crossroads, an annual reunion of Hereford breeders, was the result. The reunions take place each October, at various locations around the state. All former members of the Crawford Hereford Breeders Association, Nebraskans for Hereford Heritage members, 4-H and FFA members and other interested parties are invited to the Hereford Crossroads #6 next month.

While they work toward their goal of establishing a Hereford museum, Nebraskans for Hereford Heritage has curated an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, bull sale catalogs and American Herd Bull editions dating back to 1926. A rotating exhibit culled from that collection is on display at the Sandhills Heritage Museum in Dunning, which opened in 2017.

“Our collection of information is very valuable to the Hereford industry,” Teahon said. “We change (the exhibit) out regularly with artwork. We have to continue to promote our Nebraska beef, and that’s one thing we’re trying to do.”

Artist Brandon Bailey’s “Under the Shade Tree” is one of the premier pieces in the collection and has become the official “flag” of the Hereford Crossroads events. It is displayed at each reunion and on special occasions at the museum in Dunning. Teahon’s photo of the bulls along Goose Creek on the Benj Fink ranch near Elsmere inspired Bailey’s oil painting, which was auctioned off at the Old West Trail Rodeo fundraiser several years ago. Teahon won the bidding that night and has loaned the painting to the collection.

The group also has commissioned four pieces of artwork commemorating the role of landmark bulls in Nebraska’s Hereford history and also aided with the restoration and display of a metal sculpture of Golden Design 14, a noted herd sire owned by Warner Herefords of Waverly. The sculpture was commissioned by breeder Charlie Warner to honor his prized 1968 bull. When artist Arlo Bray completed the piece, it was 32 inches tall, 56 inches long and weighed 120 pounds. Nebraskans for Hereford Heritage has helped the piece be displayed in more than 40 communities. The Golden Design 14 sculpture is currently on display at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Museum in Chadron, where it will remain until Oct. 8, when it will be relocated to Crawford for the Hereford Crossroads reunion.

Tickets to Hereford Crossroads #6 are $30 each and can be reserved by mailing payment to Dixie Hoffman at PO Box 192, Thedford, NE, 69166 by Oct. 1. There will be no ticket sales at the door this year due to the pandemic. ❖

Raising rural voices: #Showing up on commissions and boards

At the Greeley stop of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s Rally for Rural Colorado, producers gathered to hear updates from CCA Executive Vice President Terry Fankhauser and Todd Inglee, executive director of the Colorado Beef Council. It was also where producers were able to ask some of the hard questions.

Fankhauser said he can’t emphasize enough the importance of rural representation on boards and commissions, especially in light of the Gov. Jared Polis’ most recent appointment of vegan animal rights activist Ellen Kessler to the Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Gov. Polis defended his appointment of Kessler during a stop in Sterling on Sept. 11. He told Jeff Rice with the Sterling Journal Advocate that he supports 4-H but “we value diversity in Colorado, we just want folks who, in the case of veterinary medicine, are going to uphold the principles of animal health and veterinary medicine.”

One committee that he said will be particularly vital is the Reapportion and Redistricting Committee, which will be responsible for the redistricting of congressional and legislative boundaries through the formation of two separate commissions.

To apply for consideration, an online application, letters of recommendation, and resume can be submitted online. Fankhauser said applicants considered are typically interviewed with the expectation that appointees will make decisions based on the information provided to them, their own experience, and the merits of the two.

Upcoming openings on boards and commissions that may be of particular interest to those in agriculture and rural Colorado include: Property Tax Administration, Advisory Committee (Sept. 2020); Workforce Development Council (Sept. 2020); State Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Council (Oct. 2020); Water Resources and Power Development Authority (Oct. 2020); Colorado State Fair Authority Board of Commissioners (Nov. 2020); Board of Governors of Colorado State University System (Dec. 2020); Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp Committee (Dec. 2020); Air Quality Control Commission (Jan. 2021); Water Conservation Board (Feb. 2021); Agriculture Commission (March 2021); and an opening due to a resignation on the Ground Water Commission.

With an upcoming appointment to the Agriculture Commission, another point discussed at the rally was increasing engagement between Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg and the agriculture producers in the state. Fankhauser said this governor’s administration is less accessible than others he has worked with in the past.

“There is a need for open dialogue and being a conduit to assist through knowledge and communication,” Fankhauser said. “I look for a commissioner of ag to do that.”

Previous commissioners, he said, have brought in industry experts and have relied on them for their input but that hasn’t happened.

“Members are frustrated, and they want and need that access,” he said. “This isn’t drawing a line in the sand, this is stepping across and saying, ‘come on over.’ You pay the (Colorado Department of Ag’s) bills, they work for you and it’s by design that’s the case. We need to move forward.”

At a stop in Fort Morgan at Morgan Community College last week, The Fence Post asked Polis when the CDA might receive federal CARES Act funds that might be applied to assist small and mid-sized meat processors. Polis said he is working with the CDA to expand processing capacity in the state after hearing from ranchers who were unable to harvest cattle due to a processing glut due to COVID closures. A former co-sponsor of the PRIME Act when in Congress, Polis said he’s looking for ways processors can enjoy flexibility to benefit producers and consumers alike.

Polis said he is strongly supportive of direct to consumer marketing of local foods though he understands the interstate commerce and regulatory issues that plague the concept. He said he looks forward to collaborating with ranchers and recognizes how important the opportunity to reach consumers is.

During his visit to Fort Morgan, he toured the newly opened MCC Precision Agriculture facility and heard from multiple staff and students, including Quinton Draegert. Draegert explained the use of drones in agriculture and how it is applicable to his job for a local agronomy company. ❖

— Gabel is the assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 768-0024.

Denver’s NWSS: Closed for business

Producers, competitors and exhibitors in 40 states and 35 countries won’t be coming to Denver for the “best 16 days in January” after officials announced Sept. 14 the National Western Stock Show’s 115th event would be postponed until January 2022.

According to Doug Jones, board chairman of the NWSS, the show brings in 700,000 visitors and carries an economic impact of $120 million in January alone. Though the announcement was made early to allow for exhibitors to plan around financial losses, youth competitors already have their Denver stock being readied and producers who exhibit and display in the Yards have significant investment already made.

For Willie Altenberg, it’s a matter of lost business. Altenberg, a Simmental breeder in northern Colorado, said he’s been doing business in the Yards for 40 years and holds the liberal Denver mayor and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis responsible for the closure of the business done annually at the event. The economic impact to Denver, he said, is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the investment and return for stockmen there to do business.

“The only difference between social distancing on the ski slopes and allowing NWSS to remain open is that the ski resorts have better lobbies,” he said. “There are other surrounding states that value the business of cattle producers and they’re happy to have it. We’re not going to close for business just because the stock show is cancelled. That’s not what cowboys do.”

Despite his disgust at the closing of the NWSS for business in 2021, he is adamant that the staff of the event ought not be blamed for a decision that was out of their hands. For Altenberg, the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the urban mayors and Gov. Polis’ office.

Bryan Sidwell, a Hereford breeder from Carr, Colo., has been spending part of January in Denver his entire life and his parents did the same before him. The Sidwell crew displays and shows in the Yards and on the Hill. They took 10 display bulls last year and the timing of the event drives many of his management decisions to ensure the best foot is forward when cattlemen and women from all over the world visit Denver.

Preparation for Denver isn’t for the short-sighted. Sidwell said he’s had his eye on heifers to take since they were calves last summer. Investment in cattle aside, Sidwell said they invest about $10,000 in transportation, meals, and wages for their crew. Though Jones said the city of Denver sees a $120 million economic impact, Sidwell anticipates the value of business done by those in the livestock industry far exceeds that number. The major investment in the cattle by Sidwell has already been made and he said they’re making plans to attend the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo as simply staying home and abandoning hope for revenue isn’t an option.

Sidwell said there have been a number of Junior Nationals shows, including the Hereford Association’s, that have been affected by restrictions and were able to move to different venues and go forward with some guidelines in place. He anticipates the same will happen with the junior livestock and breed shows slated for the NWSS. Sources at the major breed associations all indicated that discussions are taking place now to make alternate plans, including moving shows to other states.

NOT THE FIRST CURVEBALL

Christy Collins, a cattle sale management expert who is well known in the cattle industry has been hosting the Embryos on Snow sale during the NWSS for 14 years. The 2020 Embryos on Snow sale grossed over $1.8 million to fund the La Prix Scholarship award’s five annual recipients.

Collins said the cancellation is unfortunate but it’s certainly not the first curveball thrown at the livestock industry.

“We may never know another Denver as we know it now,” she said. “The face and the shape of it will change and whatever it’s due to — politics or liberal cities or whatever — it could be a number of things, but the world is changing. As strong a community as we are, the show will go on.”

For Cody Cattle Company in Scandia, Kan., Denver is a major portion of their marketing in advance of their March bull sale. Lindsay Runft handles the purebred Charolais operation’s marketing alongside her husband, Cody.

“I always tell people who are not necessarily in agriculture, or haven’t been to the National Western, that for us, it’s like a trade show where we have our version of a product on display in our pen,” she said. “They can come through and learn more about our ranch, cattle, and our genetics and see them right there in the flesh. It’s a large part of our marketing. Of course, we market for our bull sale year-round, but things really start to heat up when we go to Denver every year.”

The exposure to large crowds from all over the world, who are in the Yards specifically to do business with other cattle producers is second to none. Runft said CCC bulls were sold in their 2020 bull sale into Canada after those buyers viewed the display bulls in Denver, expanding their customer base internationally.

The CCC crew typically brings 10 to 15 bulls to display in the Yards. The crew in Denver is about 15 people though there is a second crew back at the ranch calving and feeding cows. The investment is significant, but she said it is a wise one.

“When I heard Denver was canceled, I called my husband and asked him what we’re going to do and he said, ‘I don’t know but you’ll figure it out’,” she said. “My wheels are spinning on what to do and I think it’ll be interesting to see not just us but across the board.”

The club calf sire display in Denver is, she said, a major event and a who’s who of breeders and bulls. From the commercial guys to the purebred guys to the club calf bull guys, she said this might be the year to do something completely unexpected.

“It’s a big disappointment for sure but everyone in agriculture is used to the curveball and we’ll have to adapt,” she said. “In March Madness, the basketball teams have to survive and advance and that’s a little like what the cattle industry during coronavirus has felt like. You have to survive and advance.”

Dr. Samantha Cunningham guides the Colorado State University Seedstock Team who learn to market purebred cattle, in part, through displaying and showing cattle at the NWSS. Cunningham said when she was asked what her plan would now be in light of the cancellation she responded, “I’ll plan tomorrow. Today I’m mourning.”

Colorado Gov, Polis released a statement calling the NWSS “a proud tradition in our state and one of the ways we can all come together to celebrate agriculture in Colorado and across the west.” He said he enjoyed attending as a kid and now he enjoys “bringing our kids in proud support of ranching in Colorado.” Polis said he respects the decision and looks forward to attending in 2022.

The event was last postponed in 1915 as a result of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in livestock that closed transportation across state lines. The disease’s longest outbreak in the United States in 1914 necessitated the slaughter and incineration of the carcasses of infected animals. According to a technical bulletin released by the USDA in 1924, the outbreak that would have prompted the postponement of the 1915 NWSS stemmed from a plant where serum was produced to treat hog cholera. The viral disease was eradicated from the United States in 1929 and is not related to the disease of the same name common in children. ❖

— Gabel is the assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 768-0024.