by Jon M. Casey
Scott George, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and Wyoming dairy producer, began this year’s Award Banquet on March 28, with humorous encouragement from a cattleman who clearly understands the challenges that face beef producers across the U.S. With grain prices at unusually high levels following extensive drought conditions in 2012, George talked of added opportunity for Pennsylvania producers who were not as adversely affected as others were.
He told of how the NCBA is working to help protect the Beef Industry with research studies that will show the healthfulness of beef consumption as opposed to the reputation that beef products have been given that focus on human cholesterol and other health problems, without adequate clinical evidence. He said that after several years of data gathering and analysis, nutritional studies are now being peer reviewed before being released to the public as certifiable knowledge. Reminding the group that the beef industry is “in the cross-hairs” of groups like PETA and HSUS, whose agenda is to eliminate animal products from the human diet, he said that NCBA is attempting to inform the public of the value of quality beef in diets.
George recalled how the NCBA has worked with Congress to keep the $5 million exemption in Federal Estate tax laws and he said NCBA leadership finds it troubling for there not to be a Farm Bill in place for the coming year. With 80 percent of the funds in a farm bill going to entitlement food programs like WIC, food stamps and similar citizen-based food initiatives, there is not a lot of support in today’s governmental body for farmers and farm programs despite the need for an affordable food supply in this country. He said they are working to help fund research, environmental support, disaster crop insurance and other conservation program assistance to help farmers comply with an increasing amount of governmental regulation of various kinds.
He felt like an increase in demand for higher quality beef products from countries like Japan, will help keep prices here more affordable and increase the sale of beef worldwide in the coming months.
George said they are working with Congress to help draft new legislation regulating migrant labor and how farmers are affected when the government makes changes to worker programs without considering the farming community.
Honors and Scholarships
Following George’s remarks and a brief welcome from Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Matthew Meals, the association conducted their annual business meeting where they unanimously elected five Board of Director members to serve 3-year terms. New and returning directors included: Nick Bryan, East Smithfield, PA; Cheryl Fairbairn, Coatesville, PA; John-Scott Port, Clarion, PA; Gary Seefeldt, McKean County, PA; and Barbara J. Weaver, New Holland, PA.
Kicking off this year’s awards presentations, George McQuiston, scholarship committee chair, presented this year’s Legacy Scholarship awards to winners Jena Sigal, Elizabeth Palmer, Amanda Moser and Joy Beam.
Nichole Hockenberry, director of industry relations for the Pennsylvania Beef Council, announced the 2013 Beef Ambassador, Olivia Rush.
Cheryl Fairbairn hosted the PCA Award recognition segment of the evening’s events. The 2013 Special Appreciation Award was awarded posthumously to Tom Gilliland, PCA Vice President and past Top Hand winner. Tom was also Chairman of the Food Committee and Field Day Committee. His wife Karen accepted the award and spoke on Tom’s behalf. She was joined by their children during the ceremony.
Auctioneer Harry Bachman received the 2013 Industry Service Award for his long-time commitment to serving cattle producers with livestock auctions and sales over an auctioneering career that dates back to 1966. Frank “Butch” Otto, received the 2013 Top Hand award. This year’s Seed Stock Breeder Award was given to the Rains Angus Farm. This year, Dale and Brenda Rains of Mercer, PA will be celebrating 100 years of continuous Angus cattle production on their farm.
Hannah Grim of Beaver Creek Angus and an Animal Science Major at Penn State University was the first of two Junior Cattlemen honored for their achievements in Pennsylvania’s Beef Industry. Presently Hannah is working in the Beef Barn at Penn State University. Over her winter break, she had an externship with Genex. This summer Hannah has an internship for Ag Choice Farm credit. She is on the Penn State Livestock Judging team. This winter she is looking forward to the Collegiate Cattle women’s trip to the NCBA convention. Hannah would like to have a career in the beef or agricultural field when she graduates from Penn State and continue to raise Angus cattle and promote her family’s Beaver Creek Angus herd.
The second Junior Cattleman Award went to Fred “Freddy” Frey, of Quarryville, PA. Freddy is actively involved with Frey Family Angus where they have a herd of 175 head of Angus along with his sister’s Sem/Angus cattle. Freddy helps with calving, feeding, breeding decisions and promoting their herd at different expositions around the country. Among his accomplishments, Freddy has won the prestigious Farm Show Scholarship and the Outstanding 4H Boy award at KILE. Freddy graduated in September from Universal Technical Institute as a Diesel Tech. He is currently working at John Rock on trucks and equipment and in his spare time helping on the family farm.
by Jon M. Casey