Beef Industry Vision Awards announced

Feb 13, 2009
Beef Industry Vision Awards announced

The 2009 Beef Industry Vision Awards, presented by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF), were announced at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Phoenix, AZ. The recipients were Lykes Bros. Inc., Okeechobee, FL; Lee Borck, Innovative Livestock Services, Larned, KS; Ellington Peek, Western Video Market, Shasta, CA; Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita, KS; Terry Caviness, Caviness Beef Packers, LTD, Hereford, TX; and Harris Teeter, Charlotte, NC. The Vision Award, sponsored by Micro Beef Technologies, Amarillo, TX, recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations in the cattle industry that have incorporated innovation into their operation in an effort to enhance not only their business, but also the industry as a whole. The award honors winners in all segments of the beef industry: cow/calf operation, feeding operation, livestock market, packer/processor and retail.

Nominees were evaluated on the basis of effective use of technology, impact on production costs, ingenuity of implementation, innovative marketing, impact on the industry, and optimum resource management. William C. “Bill” Pratt, founder and chairman of Micro Beef Technologies, started the company in 1971 with a commitment to innovation that has resulted in creating the broadest offering of fully integrated management systems technologies for all beef industry segments from the ranch to the consumer.

The Vision Award is a pewter Longhorn piece designed by Kenneth Wyatt, Tulia, TX, and serves as a tribute to the accomplishments of the recipients. In presenting the awards, NCF trustee and CEO of Micro Beef Technologies Mark Shaw stated, “The Longhorn is a symbol of the Old West and represents the heritage and origin of the North American beef industry. The Longhorn personifies the hardy characteristics of the Vision Award winners, which are grit, foundation, intelligence and strength.”

Cow/Calf Winner: —Lykes Bros. Inc.

Lykes Brothers Ranch was founded in the late 1800s by Dr. Howell Lykes, M.D., who left a medical career to begin ranching and producing citrus. Today, Lykes Brothers is the fourth largest cow/calf operation in the U.S. and is managed by Mike Milicevic, who is based in Florida. The operation consists of more than 20,000 cows and has been involved in every segment of the beef industry. Utilizing technology, they are dedicated to producing a high quality beef product, while improving profitability. Their production and marketing strategies include private treaty sales, the use of video markets and value-based practices including age and source verification programs, and preventative health management strategies to incorporate pre- and postweaning vaccination programs.

Proactively balancing environmental and regulatory requirements with production needs, Lykes Brothers has provided leadership and collaborated with state government agencies to develop positive working relationships resulting in program manuals. They exemplify the fact that cattlemen are the original stewards of the land.

Feeding Operation Winner—: Lee Borck, Innovative Livestock Services

Lee Borck is president of Innovative Livestock Services and chairman of the board of the Beef Marketing Group cooperative, which represents one of the most significant and unique feeding groups in the US. Borck conceived the business model, encompassing 15 independent feed yards located in Kansas and Nebraska. He has developed an approach to meeting customer needs through alignment between the producer and the meat case. He is an active member of the Kansas Livestock Association and served as president in 1992. He has served on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Board, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, and was president of Cattle-Fax in 1994. Borck also has provided leadership for his alma mater, Kansas State University (KSU), and in December 2007, received the KSU Medal of Excellence, the university’s highest honor.

Borck is forward-thinking in all aspects of life and has been quoted as saying, “There is a reason the rearview mirror is so small and the windshield is so big.”

Livestock Market Winner:— Western Video Market

California livestock dealers Ellington Peek and John Rodgers were looking for a way to help western ranchers more effectively market their cattle in 1989. Taking advantage of broadcast technology, including Dish Network, they formed Western Video Market, a satellite auction service which now sells nearly half a million cattle each year. Western Video Market is a confederation of auction yards and bonded livestock dealers representing cattle producers in 17 western states. By engaging local sale barns, they have established a marketing network whereby local sale barns can also participate in providing these technologies and services to their local producers. Western Video has added value, featuring Radio Frequency Identification, Age and Source Verification, and vaccination programs. Through Internet and video sales, buyers can bid on cattle in participating markets realtime from their home or office. They have a track record of higher prices and low commission fees, and enjoy the distinction of being the #1 video cattle auction in the West.

Packer/Processor Winner: —(tie) Cargill Meat Solutions

Cargill Meat Solutions is a processor and distributor of fresh beef, pork, turkey and value-added meat products. It operates 10 beef processing facilities, three caseready facilities, and 11 value-added facilities across North America. As the second largest fed beef processor in North America, Cargill processes 7.4 million head of fresh beef per year which is distributed to some of the nation’s leading retail chains, as well as locally owned grocery stores across America.

Cargill remains committed to food safety. In the last 10 years, Cargill has invested more than $1 billion in its facilities to provide the leading food safety interventions, including the development of the hide-on carcass wash. Another example of Cargill’s innovation is camera vision grading technology that tracks over 20 key attributes for its qualification process for premium branded beef programs. In collaboration with its retail customers, Cargill continues to create new ways to market beef products.

Packer/Processor Winner: —(tie) Caviness Beef Packers, LTD

Caviness Beef Packers is a progressive beef packer and further processor whose products are marketed worldwide. Pete Caviness, a lifetime cattle buyer, saw a need for an innovative beef packer in the panhandle of Texas and in 1962, bought a small locker plant in Hereford. In 1970, Pete’s son, Terry, took over the company.

For the past 46 years, the business has grown significantly in processing over 1,100 head each day. Today, with over 400 employees, the family business is owned and managed by Terry and his two sons, Trevor and Regan. From 2005 to 2008, they constructed state-ofthe-art harvest and fabrication facilities that are the most modern to date. Caviness has been aggressive in providing systems that ensure traceability for downstream programs, exemplify quality assurance, safeguard the industry, and meet consumer’s needs. They are known for having high food safety standards and are reputable suppliers to major retail franchises, including McDonalds.

Retail Winner: Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ruddick Corporation, a food market chain operating in 176 retail stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia. W. L. Harris and Willis L. Teeter shared the vision of opening their own grocery store and did so in 1936 and 1939, respectively.

After the merger of the two entities in 1958, Harris Teeter was formed. Development of the Harris Teeter Rancher Tender Verified brand and the use of basket technology have enabled them to prove that people buy their groceries where they buy their beef. They serve as a positive example to the entire beef chain in that they participate in an aligned production system which enables cattlemen, feeders and packers to produce a consumer-validated product.

The chain participates in delivering a promise through the Harris Teeter brand, which has verifiably put more money in the producers’ hands. —WLJ

John Rodgers, left, and Ellington Peek, Middle.