OCA celebrates a great year

Ohio beef producers and industry leaders met to develop policy, learn about consumer preferences and demand for beef and to celebrate the many achievements of cattlemen at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, Jan. 25, 2014, at the NorthPointe Conference Center in Lewis Center, Ohio. More than 250 attended the event in which an expanded format offered a county affiliate leaders’ meeting and two breakout sessions in addition to the annual meeting and evening banquet. Sponsors who contributed to the success of the event include COBA/Select Sires, CompManagement, Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, United Producers, Inc. and Steve R. Rauch.

The day’s events began with a meeting hosted for county affiliate leaders to learn about opportunities available and to share with other county leaders. Following a luncheon, the first “Around the Water Tank” breakout session hosted a four-person panel. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George; John Lundeen, NCBA Senior Executive Director of Market Research; Pam Haley, OCA Board of Directors member; and Bev Roe, Ohio Beef Council Operating Committee member, shared with attendees on the positive impact the beef checkoff has had on the beef industry.

“Your investment in the beef checkoff has done great things for the safety of beef,” said Lundeen who adds that when consumers consider purchasing beef, safety is one of the top priorities. “Beef is the most successful of foods in America to reduce pathogens.”

During the annual meeting, Ohio cattlemen heard from Scott George who gave an update on NCBA activities and discussed many of the issues NCBA is working on for the beef industry. George shared with Ohio’s cattlemen the status of the Farm Bill and discussed the importance of additional trade agreements to the beef industry.

The 2013 OCA President Sam Sutherly of Troy, Ohio, coordinated the policy development portion of the meeting. These resolutions covered a broad range including, cattle health, nutrition and health, international markets and property rights. The 2014 OCA President Frank Phelps discussed the Ohio Beef Checkoff Referendum Vote Yes campaign to increase the checkoff from $1 to $2 per head.

In addition, OCA’s Membership Committee recognized the members of OCA’s Top Hand Recruiting Club. Purina Animal Nutrition and Quality Liquid Feed sponsored the awards. OCA’s officers reported that in 2013 the association set a membership record. Renewals for 2014 are on track with previous years. The Beef Improvement Committee gave an update on the Seedstock Improvement Sales and the Ohio Beef Expo.

Following the Annual Meeting, the second “Around the Water Tank” session featured a presentation from John Lundeen. He shared information on what consumers think about beef and discussed challenges association with marketing beef to millennial parents, the beef industry’s target market.

OCA members and guests reconvened that evening for the banquet to celebrate another successful year. An early highlight of the banquet was naming the 2014 Ohio Beef Ambassadors, a program sponsored by the Ohio CattleWomen’s Association and the Ohio Beef Council in which eight youth, ages 16 to 19 competed for the title. Kendra Gabriel, Pickaway County; Hallie Hiser, Greene County; and Demi Snider, Hardin County, were chosen to spend the next year sharing their story of agriculture and educating consumers on beef consumption and the industry.

Ten scholarships were presented to outstanding youth during the awards banquet. Steve R. Rauch Benchmark of Excellence scholarship recipients included Megan Hunker, Huron County; Sierra Jepsen, Fairfield County; and Lindsey Grimes, Highland County. Hayley Beck, Huron County; Brandon Klehm, Stark County; Laura Schmuki, Stark County; and Kelsey Sheeley, Highland County, were awarded $1,000 Tagged for Greatness Scholarships, which are funded with the sales of the Ohio Beef license plate.

Jordan Bonham, Fayette County; Hallie Hiser, Greene County; and Shyla Kreager, Licking County, received a $1,000 Country Club Scholarship, which was funded by the putt putt course at the 2013 Ohio State Fair. The Ohio CattleWomen’s Association awarded scholarships to Hayley, Beck, Huron County; Breanne Gabriel, Pickaway County; and Kelsey Sheeley, Highland County.

The banquet concluded with OCA presenting five prestigious awards to deserving cattlemen and supporters of Ohio’s beef industry. Phil and Barb Watts, Watts Farms LTD, Alexandria, Ohio, received the Commercial Producer of the Year award; Rod and Laurie Ferguson, Chippewa Valley Angus Farms, Rittman, Ohio, were awarded Seedstock Producer of the Year; Young Cattleman of the Year was Allen Gahler, Graytown, Ohio; John Albert, United Producers, Inc. Manager, Bucyrus, Ohio, received the Industry Service Award; and Mike and Beth Carper, Delaware, Ohio, were awarded with Industry Excellence.

Awards in these categories were sponsored by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association with “Farm and Dairy,” Farm World, “Ohio Farmer,” Brownfield Ag News, and “Ohio’s Country Journal” respectively.

Sutherly presented a gavel to the 2014 OCA President, Frank Phelps, Logan County. Phelps said he is looking forward to working with OCA members and thanked Sutherly for his leadership and serving as president for two years. He introduced the “Vote Yes” video for the Ohio Beef Checkoff Referendum, which can be viewed at www.ohiocattle.org.


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