Rob Brown, Throckmorton, TX, is the winner of the National Cattlemen's Foundation 2002 Vision Award. Sponsored by Intervet Inc., the award recognizes beef industry leaders who have made their operation more profitable and efficient. Brown envisioned and developed Rancher's Renaissance, a producer cooperative that's vertically coordinated from pasture to consumer.

Wythe Willey, Cedar Rapids, IA, is the new president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). President-elect is Eric Davis, Bruneau, ID, and vice president is Jan Lyons, Manhattan, KS.

Dee Lacey, Paso Robles, CA, is chairwoman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board, which oversees checkoff funds. G. Andrew (Andy) Tucker, Rockledge, FL, is vice chairman, and Nelson Curry, Paris, KY, is secretary/treasurer.

Jim McAdams, Lubbock, TX, is the new president of Cattle-Fax, a member-owned and member-directed market information, analysis, research and educational service organization based in Denver.

Vicki Wilkinson of Chino Valley, AZ, is the American National CattleWomen (ANCW) president. Dianne Kirkbride of Cheyenne, WY, is the ANCW's “Outstanding CattleWoman of the Year.” The award is given to an ANCW member who has excelled at continued beef promotion on the local, state and national level while contributing dedication, commitment and support to ANCW.

John M. Bonner, PhD, is the 5th annual Integrated Resource Management (IRM) Achievement Award honoree. Bonner is beef marketing and training director for Land O' Lakes Farmland.

The Iowa River Ranch in Union, IA, is the national winner of the NCBA's Environmental Stewardship Award. David, Diane and Dresden Petty run the 400-head cow/calf and 2,930-acre farm operation that has implemented practices to save topsoil while increasing forage production. The award is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences.

William D. “W.D.” Farr of Greeley, CO, is the first-ever winner of NCBA's Swan Leadership Award. Farr has worked for more than 70 years in the livestock industry and is considered a true pioneer in the cattle feeding business. The award honors individuals who exemplify the same spirit of commitment and leadership as the late Bill and George Swan, a father and son who both served as presidents of the national organization — Bill in 1981 and George in 1999.

Checkoff Support

Producer support for the national beef checkoff remains strong. A total of 68% of American beef and dairy producers who are aware of the checkoff approve of the self-help program, Aspen Media & Market Research found in its annual producer attitude survey.

The firm's survey of 1,225 producers from Dec. 17, 2001 to Jan. 13, 2002, found that 28% strongly approved of the program, while 40% somewhat approved. A year ago, those figures were 29% and 36%, respectively, for a total of 65% approval. The research has a statistical margin of error of ±2.8%.

The researchers note that support for the checkoff has largely remained constant over the years, regardless of market conditions. Even during a 2½-year span of depressed market conditions from January 1997 to July 1999, producer support for the checkoff ranged from 63% to 70%.

Knowledge of the checkoff is a strong predictor of favorability toward it, the researchers say. Support slips among respondents as their level of awareness about the program drops.

Olympic Victories For Beef

Millions of dollars in free publicity. That's what the U.S. beef industry received during NBC's internationally televised coverage of the winter Olympics' opening ceremony.

For one, Sasha Cohen, the teenaged Olympic figure skater and beef spokesperson, drew extended camera time as she watched the festivities with President George W. Bush.

In addition, the song “Rodeo” — the theme music for the checkoff-funded “Beef. It's what's for dinner” promotion campaign — was played to open the festivities. Upon hearing it, NBC anchor Katie Couric observed: “That's the beef music!”