BIF honors individuals with Continuing Service Awards

Jun 17, 2011
by WLJ

The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) honored several individuals with its Continuing Service Award during the organization’s 43rd annual meeting and research symposium in Bozeman, MT, June 1-4. The award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Tommy Brown

Tommy Brown of Clanton, AL, has spent his entire professional career with the goal of educating cattle producers on the importance of performance traits in cattle selection. Brown, who retired after a 32-year career as a county agent and regional animal scientist, is credited with being the innovator who moved the Alabama cattle industry to a higher plane through the use of performance records and new marketing schemes.

Under his leadership, feeder calf sales were developed to market Alabama calves in truckload groups and special heifer sales featuring genetically superior females were established. Brown also established a bred heifer sale that continues to provide opportunities for both buyers and sellers to capitalize on the need for good cattle.

Brown has received numerous awards during his career, including the prestigious Richard Deese Award, which is given by the Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA) for outstanding service and dedication to the Alabama BCIA and its performance principles.

He has served two terms on the BIF board of directors and was elected president in 2008. He has been on the BIF program many times as a speaker or as a moderator at the annual convention. Brown has served as an advisor for the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC). He served two terms as a trustee of the American Simmental Association (ASA), where he was chairman of the Beef Improvement Committee.

Meadow Lane Farms, which is owned by Brown, is one of the early sources for quality black Simmental genetics in the southeast.

Meadow Lane has produced cattle that are in high demand.

He is currently serving as genetic and marketing manager at Sunshine Farms, which, under his leadership, has developed a reputation for producing outstanding cattle within a system where selection decisions are datadriven.

Brown is a graduate of Auburn University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He and his wife, Linda, are the parents of two children, Lee and Jill, and have two grandchildren.

Mark Enns

Mark Enns was born and raised near Enid, OK. During his youth, he gained valuable production experience working on his family’s wheat and cattle farm. In 1987, he received dual degrees in biology and natural science from Tabor College, Hillsboro, KS. A year later, following a stint in private industry, he began work on a master’s degree in animal breeding and genetics under the supervision of Jim Brinks in the Colorado State

University (CSU) Department of Animal Sciences.

Enns completed his doctoral studies under the co-direction of Rick Bourdon and Jim Brinks.

During his graduate studies, he worked as a research associate for the CSU Beef Cattle Improvement Center near Encampment, WY. His duties included development of breeding plans and supervision of data collection and database management for the 450-head purebred Angus herd.

Following completion of his doctoral studies, Enns served as a visiting research scientist for Landcorp Farming Ltd. in New Zealand.

While there, he developed genetic evaluation systems and breeding programs for the company’s deer, sheep, goat and beef enterprises.

Enns joined the animal sciences faculty at the University of Arizona in 1995 as an assistant professor. In 2001, he returned to CSU’s Department of Animal Sciences as assistant professor, where his appointment includes research, teaching and outreach components. He was promoted to associate professor in 2007.

From 2003-2008, Enns supervised the activities of the CSU Center for Genetic Evaluation of Livestock, which provides genetic evaluation system development and services to a number of U.S. and international clients. He teaches a number of graduate and undergraduate courses at CSU and has been a member of a multi-state faculty team that has developed a popular breeding and genetics online curriculum for graduate students. Enns represents CSU on the Scientific Council of NBCEC, where he’s provided leadership for a number of years.

His research program focuses on methods to genetically evaluate and select animals that fit their production environment, both biologically and economically. These efforts include development of new methods for evaluating and improving cow and heifer fertility, cow maintenance requirements, time to finish in the feedlot, and development of methods to better use economic information in selection decisions for increased profitability of beef production. His productive research program has attracted more than $13 million in extramural support.

Most notably, Enns was the project coordinator for the NBCEC Genetics of Feedlot Cattle Health project and is co-principal investigator on a recently funded $9 million project to investigate the genetic basis of bovine respiratory disease.

Enns has authored or coauthored and published 47 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, five book chapters, 54 conference or symposia proceedings, 53 abstracts and numerous technical reports and popular press articles. He has given more than 120 invited presentations and symposia to a variety of state, national and international audiences.

His expertise is recognized around the world as exemplified by his service as a peer reviewer for scientific journals and authors in Canada, South Africa, Australia, Europe and the U.S. He has served on a number of breed improvement and technical advisory committees.

Enns has been an active leader in BIF and a proponent of the BIF mission. He is an advocate of practical, modern beef cattle genetic selection systems. His contribution to BIF includes service as the western regional secretary and chairman of the Cow Herd Efficiency Committee since 2003. Enns was a leader and member of Colorado Host committee for the 39th BIF research symposium and annual meeting in Fort Collins, CO, in 2007.

Joe Paschal

Paschal is currently a professor and extension livestock specialist located at the AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Corpus Christi, TX.

A native of Corpus Christi, Paschal earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science and a doctorate in animal breeding and genetics at Texas A&M University (TAMU). He is a member of the animal breeding and genetics section of the TAMU Department of Animal Science and is on the graduate faculty at TAMU. He is also an adjunct/external professor of animal science at TAMU-Kingsville.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Paschal served as director of breed improvement and foreign marketing for the American-International Charolais Association (AICA). Upon completion of his doctoral degree in 1986, he served as a lecturer and undergraduate counselor in the TAMU Department of Animal Science.

Paschal began his extension career as a livestock specialist at the Fort Stockton, TX, District Extension Headquarters. In 1988, he moved to Corpus Christi to assume his current position, where his primary interests have been in applied beef cattle breeding and genetics (especially involving the use of production systems, and beef cattle growth and development.

One of his primary efforts for several years was as founder and director of the Texas A&M Ranch-to-Rail South program where consignors could have steers from their breeding programs evaluated under South Texas conditions for feedlot performance and carcass merit. As an outgrowth of that program, he established the South Texas Carcass Data Service.

Paschal has been involved in the American Brahman Breeders Association Carcass Merit Program, the Santa Gertrudis Breeders International National Steer Feedout, Beefmaster Breeders United Carcass Data Program, and the American Simmental-Simbrah Association Simbrah Steer Program. He has provided guidance to the Jim Wells County Beef Cattle Improvement Association Bull Gain Test and the Rio Grande Valley Association Bull Gain and Replacement Heifer Development Program.

Paschal has authored 13 reference papers, 16 Texas Extension bulletins, 39 Texas Extension studies and reports, 28 special industry/ commodity reports, 43 Texas Research publications, and 40 popular press articles.

He has been involved with BIF for more than 30 years, starting with his position with the AICA. He was part of the host committee for the 1991 annual BIF meeting in San Antonio, served as coordinator of the 2001 annual meeting in San Antonio, and will assist in coordinating another meeting in Texas in the near future. In 1995, Paschal became the BIF liaison for the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Extension Group.

Joe and his wife, Vickie, are the parents of daughter Helen and son Robert.

Robert “Bob” Weaber

Weaber grew up on his family’s cattle and sheep ranch in southern Colorado. After graduating from high school, he attended CSU where he received his bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1993. He then continued on in CSU’s Beef Industry Leadership master’s program, graduating in 1995. During a portion of this time, he served as a legislative affairs intern in Washington, D.C., covering congressional hearings on agriculture, appropriations, food safety and trade.

Subsequent to that, he served as director of education and research for the American Gelbvieh Association and then as the interim director of performance programs for the American Simmental Association.

In 2000, Weaber entered a doctoral program at Cornell University, graduating in 2004. Since then, he has been an assistant professor and state extension specialist in beef genetics at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). He has ac cepted and will begin a position with Kansas State University this fall.

Weaber has given more than 52 invited presentations at international, national, regional and state meetings and conferences. He has served on the BIF board of directors in many different roles since 2000; he has been the Central Region secretary since 2006, and he served as the leading organizer for the 2010 BIF annual meeting.

Martin “Marty” Ropp

Ropp grew up on a swine operation near Bloomington in central Illinois. From early on, he possessed a penchant and aptitude for livestock judging—an ability he has nurtured and honed over his lifetime and still utilizes to this day.

In 1987, Ropp graduated from Kansas State University where he was an accomplished member of the livestock judging team. While earning a master’s degree in animal science from MU, Ropp served as the coach of the university’s livestock judging team. He continues to judge livestock shows throughout the country and has volunteered countless hours in educating youth about showing and judging livestock.

Upon receiving his master’s, Ropp took a position as a regional livestock specialist in Missouri, and later as an extension swine specialist in Michigan.

In 1998, he began work at ASA as its director of commercial programs. Immedi ately upon his hiring, Ropp initiated and developed ASA’s young sire testing program along with Jerry Lipsey. He has since nurtured the program into the industry’s largest structured sire test, with hundreds of sires of several breeds being tested through the years.

Ropp wore many hats while at ASA. In addition to his initial responsibilities as director of commercial programs, he was later tapped to direct ASA’s field services. He worked to build bridges between all segments of the industry; cow/calf, feedlot, packers and seedstock producers were all focal points of his efforts. An accomplished speaker with a keen sense of humor, he is in great demand at field days, educational programs and seminars throughout the country. His strong communication skills and sound advice have earned him widespread accolades and respect.

Recently, Ropp left ASA to start Allied Genetic Resources (AGR). The business, owned and supported by a group of committed seedstock producers, is designed to promote their customers’ profitability. AGR owners are located in 15 states— from California to Alabama and Montana to Texas. Currently, they market more than 4,000 bulls a year. Ropp’s strong belief that the future of seedstock production will become more focused on customer service and increased profitability, and less about the tradition of just “selling” bulls, forms AGR’s core philosophy. — WLJ