Steve Hunt, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Premium Beef (USPB), will step down after 17 years in that position, reports the Kansas Livestock Association’s News and Market Report. Hunt will assume an advisory role after Jan. 28. 2013. The USPB Board of Directors has named Stan Linville, previously the company’s chief operating officer, as the new CEO.

USPB Board Chairman Mark Gardiner, a cattleman from Ashland, KS, said Hunt’s visionary leadership has had a significant impact not only on unitholders and associates, but on the entire U.S. beef industry. Hunt helped create a system that rewards ranchers and feeders for producing quality beef.

Hunt is optimistic and looks forward to his continued involvement. “We have a great company with highly capable management and a new partnership with Leucadia that is exciting and full of opportunities,” said Hunt.

More than 1,400 feedyards in 14 states have sent cattle through USPB since the company began operations in 1997. During delivery year 2012, all USPB cattle averaged $55.66 per head in premiums over the cash market.