When some in the U.S. beef industry a few years ago were predicting the demise of the stocker segment of U.S. beef production, BEEF magazine was building unique products to better serve it.

  • In September 2001, we debuted regular, targeted stocker-segment coverage in BEEF magazine, entitled BEEF Stocker.

  • Later that year, BEEF teamed up with Kansas State University to build and launch www.beefstockerusa.org, a one-stop Internet shop focused solely on production and management information for stocker operators.

  • And, on Sept. 2, 2003, BEEF rolled out its electronic newsletter, BEEF Stocker Trends, published 26 issues/year to a readership of 26,000 subscribers.

Today, the whole industry knows what BEEF knew back then. That is, the service provided by the U.S. stocker segment is an indispensable and valuable facet of U.S. beef production. We also know that, though stocker operations may wax and wane with the price of corn and availability of wheat pasture and grass, the sun will never set on the U.S. stocker industry.

Now, BEEF is teaming up with Elanco Animal Health to recognize the top players in this all-important stocker segment. We'll do that via a new annual award called the National Stocker Award.

Sponsored by BEEF and Elanco Animal Health, the National Stocker Award program will recognize the nation's top practitioners in three categories:

  • summer grazing program,
  • fall/winter forage program, and
  • backgrounder/drylot program.

The overall winner, as evaluated by an independent panel of judges, will be awarded the singular recognition as the nation's top stocker operator for 2006 and the $10,000 grand prize.

On the following page is all the information you need to nominate a deserving candidate; perhaps the best candidate is yourself. The deadline for entries is April 30, with category winners to be announced at the Elanco Stocker Symposium in June.

In the October issue of BEEF, we'll announce and profile the $10,000 winner, and formally recognize the operator during the 2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, in Nashville, TN.

So take a look on the following page at the overview of the 2006 National Stocker Award and the judging criteria. Then visit www.beef-mag.com for a complete nomination form. You can also call BEEF magazine at 1-800/722-5334.