NWSS names Livestock Industry Leaders of the Year

Feb 1, 2013
by WLJ

The National Western Stock Show (NWSS) continues a 69-year tradition at this year’s 107th annual event by naming U.S. and Canadian Livestock Industry Leaders of the Year. The awards are jointly presented by the National Western and the Green Family Foundation.

The U.S. award was presented to Scott and Kim Ford of the Cross Diamond Cattle Company, Bertrand, NE. Kim’s mother, Linda Anderson, was named to the award in 2003.

Cross Diamond Cattle Company, located in southcentral Nebraska near the town of Bertrand, is owned and operated by the Fords. Their two daughters, Johanna, age 9, and Marie, age 6, are also involved in the operation. The Fords raise registered and commercial Red Angus cattle—about 450 mother cows of each.

The focus of the Cross Diamond Cattle Company breeding program is to raise sound, fertile, functional cattle with great longevity and dispositions. Fleshing and foraging ability are important traits in the Cross Diamond herd. Herd health and range health, low stress cattle handling, and an eye toward wise-use and conservation practices guide the management of the cattle and land. Strong faith prompts this focus as the Fords strive to be good stewards of the land and animals that are in their care.

An annual bull sale is held in December. The Fords, along with their cooperators market 200 coming-2-yearold Red Angus bulls and around 250 commercial Red Angus females. The backbone of the marketing program is to sell a great product, stand behind it and treat people well.

The Canadian honoree, presented at the Sunday evening Canada Night performance of the rodeo on Jan. 20, is the Mark Merrill Family and their Bar Double M Angus Ranch, Hill Springs, Alberta. Representing the family at the presentation was the second-generation managing partner of the ranch, Mitch Merrill.

The Bar Double M is a 54-year registered Angus operation, with three generations of family management actively involved, and a fourth generation in training. They are a devout Mormon family that is highly respected and recognized throughout the Canadian livestock industry. The ranch slogan says it all: “We might not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

The firm’s herd is focused on growth, soundness and great cows. There are many generations of cows on the ranch that are branded with the Double M prefix.

Livestock industry consultant Shane Castle of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, says “The Bar Double M operation is a true testament of a family operation where the whole family pitches in to get the work done. For 54 years, this work ethic has continually produced positive results for this industry and their customers.”

The awards were presented by National Western board member Dan Green, a livestock newspaper editor and industry historian. The award was originated in 1944 by Green’s grandfather, H.E. Green, with the first plaque going to Greeley, CO, cattle feeder Warren Monfort. Green’s father Harry presented the award from 1955 until the younger Green took over in 1979 with an award to retiring National Western General Manager Willard Simms. — WLJ