Established in 2009, the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame (CCF) recognizes the pioneers and visionaries who helped build a business that produces the most efficient, safest and highest-quality beef in the world. Here are this year’s honorees:
- Erasmo “Chico” Becerra was recognized with the first annual Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award for feedyard employees.
Armendariz, who passed away in 2008, spent nearly three decades at Poky Feeders in Scott City, KS. His role as a devoted employee, family man, friend and longtime member of the beef industry made him a perfect namesake of this award.
Becerra is a 32-year veteran with Hale Center Feedyard, Hale Center, TX. Despite overwhelming odds, including living with a prosthetic leg for the past 40 years, Becerra has never lost his integrity, sincerity and unparalleled work ethic. A family man and good friend to many, Becerra’s coworkers are quick to praise him for his commitment to excellence and natural ability to lead and educate others on best practices and safety.
“Chico is a stayer, a committer, a man whose handshake means something,” says Kevin Kuriyama, general manager of Hale Center Feedyard. “In respect, he is quick to give it freely, but never demands it in return; he cherishes it when received, but never expects it. He is much more than a feedtruck driver and much more than an employee. He is a good man and a good friend.”
- Lee Borck, Beef Marketing Group and Innovative Livestock Services – 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee
Borck, a Kansas native, is a forward-thinking cattle feeder whose motto, “There is a reason the rear-view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big,” perfectly captures his innovative approach to the cattle-feeding business. Throughout his career, Borck has focused on adding value to the end-product, while meeting the needs of animals and consumers.
As the chairman of the board for the Beef Marketing Group and president of Innovative Livestock Services, Inc., Manhattan, KS, Borck has been instrumental in developing a unique approach to meet the retail customer needs through innovative alignment between the producer and the meat case. His commitment to food safety, animal care and sustainability are the pillars to many of the specific cattle and beef programs he has been involved with.
- Dave Wood, Harris Feeding Company – 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee
When Wood accepted his first job with Harris Farms, Inc., he had no idea he would one day become one of the most recognized cattlemen in the cattle-feeding business and make the Harris name a household word. Forty years later, Wood has helped Harris Feeding Co. and Harris Ranch Beef Co. pioneer many firsts in the beef business, including being the first beef processor to enter the market of fully cooked, heat-and-serve beef entrees.
Wood, who has always understood the need to meet the demands of the end-user, also developed the Harris Ranch “Partnership for Quality” program, which unites the producer, feeder and packer to ensure the consumers’ demand for consistent, high-quality beef is met.
Wood also is a past president of CattleFax and the Western States Meat Association, and served as chairman for many industry associations, including the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
Despite his success downstream in the beef chain, Wood stays true to his roots by running his own stocker and cow-calf operation and partnering with Lacey Livestock, which operates a cow-calf and stocker operation known as Centennial Ranch. The California cattleman also is a co-owner of a diversified farming and nut tree operation.
- John Lacey, Lacey Ranch – Industry Leadership Award Recipient
Lacey was chosen by the industry to be honored as this year’s Industry Leadership Award recipient. The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service and made significant contributions to the advancement of the cattle-feeding business.
For more than 140 years, ranching in California has been the way of life for the Lacey family. Lacey operates several cow-calf, yearling and cattle-feeding enterprises. He is a past president of the California Cattlemen's Association and the only person to serve as president of both the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
He’s also served as chairman for the California Beef Council and is current chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Lacey also has been a committee and/or board member for numerous other organizations ranging from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to the National Livestock and Meat Board (NLMB). One of his biggest accomplishments was his involvement in the successful merger of the NCA and NLMB/Beef Industry Council into the NCBA in 1996.