Huffines, Northcutt receive Continuing Service Awards

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 20, 2007
by WLJ
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) honored Craig Huffhines and Sally Northcutt on June 7 with its Continuing Service Award during the organization’s 39th annual meeting in Fort Collins, CO.

Craig Huffines

Huffhines has been the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Hereford Association (AHA) since 1997. He initially joined the AHA stall in 1992 upon completing a master’s degree in meat science from Colorado Slate University (CSU). His early responsibilities included director of feedlot and carcass programs for AHA’s Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) program. He was named CHB director in 1995, launching a fully aligned, breed- specific, branded beef program into the retail and foodservice sectors.
During his tenure at AHA, Huffhines has assembled a great team of employees, combining a blend of professionals representing decades of experience in pedigree registry work with a young group of agriculture professionals leading the charge in innovative technological and marketing advancement.

Under Huffhines’ guidance, CHB has become a true national brand. In addition, Huffhines’ team has instituted a fully aligned traceabilily system that tracks cattle from the ranch through the processing phase.

A native Texan, Huffhines received his undergraduate degree in animal science from Texas A&M University prior to his master’s training at CSU. He was project leader for the CSU Hereford study, which formed the basis for the CHB program. He has since served in several industry capacities, including president of the National Pedigreed Livestock Council from 2003 to 2006, chairman of the BIF Emerging Technology Committee from 2004 to 2007, and member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Animal Identification working group.

Huffhines has served on the BIF board of directors. During his tenure, he was instrumental in forming the present working relationship between BIF and BEEF magazine. Chairing the Emerging Technology Committee, his leadership has been instrumental in the promising field of molecular genetics. The Emerging Technology Committee has assisted USDA with the bovine genome project through the collection of DNA samples. In addition, Huffhines has helped organize and has led BIF efforts in molecular genetic information validation, use, and database development. Under Huffhines’ leadership, the committee has begun to establish marker assisted selection protocols. He and his wife Mary Joe are the parents of three sons—Seth, Cole and Miles.

Sally Northcutt

BIF also honored Sally Northcutt with its Continuing Service Award. Northcutt is the genetic research director at the American Angus Association. She works with the Performance Programs Department in data analysis and the modeling and application of the National Cattle Evaluation. Northcutt also works with universities across the nation to coordinate the expansive research activities of the association.

Under her supervision and guidance, the American Angus Association developed a suite of dollar value indexes ($Values). Since her arrival, the association has transitioned genetic predictions to an in-house system, developed online genetic evaluation tools like the Angus Optimal Milk Module, and established expected progeny differences (EPDs) tor Calving Ease Direct and Calving Ease Maternal.

Before her work at the American Angus Association, Northcutt was an Extension beef cattle breeding specialist for nine years at Oklahoma State University.

She is actively involved in industry organizations such as BIF, for which she has served in various leadership roles during the past 10 years. She has served diligently on the BIF board of directors and has helped with BIF activities, including guideline revisions, convention program planning, and general policy.

Northcutt was a BIF regional secretary and the chairperson of the Producer Applications Committee. She eagerly helped record minutes at every board meeting. As a standing committee chair, her programming provided BIF convention attendees with cutting-edge information on such topics as EPD/selection criteria, animal identification systems, production system management, and genetic/environmental interactions.

She is an avid golfer and runner, and she recently completed her first marathon.