Each year, the American Angus Association® honors selected individuals who have made significant contributions to the Angus breed. This year the Association Board of Directors selected six Angus breeders for induction into its Angus Heritage Foundation for their dedication toward the advancement of the Angus breed.
The 2009 inductees included: Dwight D. Eisenhower, formerly of Gettysburg, Pa.; Oliver Hansen, Durant, Iowa; Paul and Lynn Hill, Bidwell, Ohio; and Bill and Priscilla Wilson, Cloverdale, Ind.
The inductees and/or their families were recognized during the Annual Banquet, Nov. 16 during Angus events in Louisville, Ky. Each received a framed certificate, and all names will be engraved on a plaque at the Association’s Saint Joseph, Mo., headquarters.
Brief biographies of the inductees follow.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Most Americans will remember Dwight David Eisenhower as the five-star general and 34th president of the United States who served as one of the 20th century’s most important leaders. But the American Angus Association also remembers the former Kansas farm boy for his contributions to the Angus breed.
In 1950, anticipating his retirement from the Army, Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, purchased a 189-acre farm on the outskirts of Gettysburg, Pa. However, his presidency delayed retirement until 1961 when he and Mamie finally made their home on the farm. There, he spent the next 15 years as a successful farmer and Angus breeder, helping to bring notoriety to the breed.
Located adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the farm served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much-needed respite from Washington.
President Eisenhower maintained a show herd of black Angus cattle on his Gettysburg farm, which later became a National Park.
The President entered cattle in livestock shows across the country, winning grand championships at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show, blue ribbons at the International Livestock Competition in Chicago, and numerous other awards. While President, his cattle were entered into competitions under the names of his partners in order to maintain fairness.
By the 1960s, the Eisenhower herd numbered 100 cows with calves. Today, a herd of 40-50 Angus still graze the pastures of the President’s farm, and the cattle ribbons are displayed on the walls of the show barn.
Oliver Hansen grew up as a youth in Dixon, Iowa, helping with the Laudmere Angus herd his father, William Hansen, established in 1931.
After graduating from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science, Oliver enlisted in military service in 1942 and served until 1946 when he was discharged as a 1st Lieutenant.
That same year he began employment with Liberty Trust & Savings Bank in Durant, Iowa, where he later became president. He currently serves as chairman of the board of directors.
He also serves as chairman and president of Liberty Bancorporation in Durant, and serves in leadership roles for other Iowa banks. He’s been an active member of several banking associations, and through them, has worked extensively to promote agriculture.
He has served as the state of Iowa’s superintendent of banking and as the state’s chairman of the agricultural promotion board.
Despite his successful banking career and busy schedule, Oliver always maintained a passion in the Angus industry.
He served as the president, secretary and sale manager for the Eastern Iowa Angus Association from 1947 to 1961, and has worked throughout his Angus career to support junior Angus members. He also helped initiate a Tri-County Livestock Judging Contest, now in its 45th year, for 4-H, FFA and interested youth.
Among his many other achievements, Oliver was inducted into Iowa State University’s Agricultural Council Hall of Fame and received the 2007 Lyle Haring Memorial Award from the Iowa State Fair.
Today, the Hansens have 700 acres with 90 registered Angus cows, corn, beans and alfalfa. Current partners in the operation are Todd and Bonnie Duckett, now in their seventeenth year on the farm.
Paul and Lynn Hill
The Angus industry — its people and the cattle — have been a way of life for Paul and Lynn Hill since their marriage 37 years ago. Their two daughters, Sarah and Neenah, also have been active life-long members. Sarah served as Miss American Angus in 1992 and was on the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) Board in 1993-1995.
Formed in the early 1990s, Champion Hill has enjoyed much success in the showring. The operation has been named Premier Breeder at many livestock shows, including six out of the last 10 years at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS).
In 1987, Paul became a founding father of the Atlantic National Angus Show. For the last 22 years he has served in a fundraiser role, and has spent the past seven years as chairman.
Champion Hill was selected as a Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Seedstock Producer of the Year in 2009, and herd genetics have been chosen by commercial and seedstock herds nationwide as well as all major artificial insemination (AI) studs.
Paul served two terms on the American Angus Association Board of Directors, and served as Association President in 2007-2008.
He was also instrumental in helping the Angus Foundation reach a new level while serving as chairman for four years. Paul says he is honored to have served with many talented Association staff and breed leaders on the American Angus Association Board of Directors.
Bill and Priscilla Wilson
Bill and Priscilla Wilson, Wilson Cattle Co., Cloverdale, Ind., grew up in the Illinois countryside involved in 4-H, FFA and raising purebred cattle.
A graduate from the University of Illinois with a degree in animal science, Bill accepted a position in 1969 as manager of the Stark and Wetzel Angus herd headquartered at a farm near Cloverdale, Ind., where his family continues to reside. Through more than two decades and changes in ownership, Bill managed the herd, becoming general manager and vice president for Premier Angus from 1974 to 1991.
In 1991, Bill and Priscilla bought the farm and began their own operation, Wilson Cattle Co. Today, the operation has approximately 300 cows, continues to host annual production sales and has been home to several notable Angus animals, including Pine Drive Big Sky, which became a leading bull in number of registered progeny, and N Bar Primrose 2424, the dam of EXT.
Bill has made significant contributions in the Angus showring, having exhibited and judged at numerous state and national shows.
The Wilsons also are co-owners of the Profitmaker Bull Test Center in Ogallala, Neb., which tests and markets more than 800 bulls per year to commercial cattlemen throughout the nation.
Both Bill and Priscilla have served in leadership roles for the Indiana Angus Association, and have supported the National and Indiana Junior Angus Associations. Priscilla served as president of the Indiana Angus Auxiliary, was active on several Auxiliary committees and has donated her artwork to several Angus fundraisers.
Bill was elected to serve on the American Angus Association Board of Directors from 1990-1997, serving as president in 1997. He was inducted into the Purdue University Livestock Breeders Hall of Fame in 2000.