Grid-based marketing didn't just appear out of the blue. Paul Engler, founding chairman of Texas-based Cactus Feeders — one of the largest cattle-feeding organizations in the world — helped pioneer the concept, both to reward owners of above-average cattle and to give his feedlot managers more time to manage rather than bicker with order buyers.

“Throughout his career in the livestock business, Paul Engler has been dedicated to being a low-cost producer, while maintaining the highest level of quality,” said the late Robert Peterson, former chairman and CEO of IBP. “Nothing more actively demonstrates this than the many innovations and efficiencies that he and Cactus Feeders have helped bring to the cattle feeding industry…”

Likewise, the fenceline feedbunks taken for granted today weren't a birthright. W.D. Farr, founder of Farr Feeders in Colorado, came up with the notion.

“Before the feedbunks, workers would have to haul feed wagons into each pen manually. The ability to feed from outside the pens greatly improved efficiency and reduced feed waste. My father was usually about 25 years ahead of everyone else in his thinking,” says his son, Dick Farr.

Incidentally, it was W.D. Farr who collaborated with his neighbor Warren Monfort in the 1940s to modify feed trucks to automate feed delivery.

These are just a couple of examples — minor ones, given the depth and breadth of their innovative careers — of why Farr and Engler are the first inductees into the new Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame (CFHF).

“Engler and Farr exemplify why the CFHF was established,” says Betty Jo Gigot, chair of the CFHF nominating committee. “The CFHF celebrates the rich traditions of the cattle-feeding industry and recognizes those who have devoted their careers to preserving its mission and improving its production practices.

“It's a privilege to give the very first CFHF awards to two gentlemen whose leadership and vision fueled inspiration and innovation that is still being carried out today.”

Unsurprisingly, the first 12 nominees for inaugural CFHF induction reads like a Who's Who of cattle feeding. Along with Engler and Farr, nominees included:

Jack Carrothers, Friona Industries' first president.

E.C. Crofoot, who started feeding cattle in Kansas and then purchased his first feedyard in 1968, owning and operating a number of commercial yards with family and partners ever since.

Louie Dinklage, an eastern Nebraska cattle-feeding pioneer who made the state an industry hub.

Joe Entz, a founder of Arizona's cattle-feeding business.

Duane Flack, DVM, who managed Monfort's feedlot division for more than two decades.

H.C. “Ladd” Hitch, whose name is synonymous with cattle feeding in and out of Oklahoma.

Jud Lackey, who began feeding cattle in 1940s and bought his own yard in Kansas in 1961.

Kenneth Monfort, who joined the family's cattle-feeding business in 1949 and played a key role in its entry into meat packing.

Robert Rebholtz, who bought his first feedyard in 1968 and later founded Idaho-based Agri Beef Co.

Dave Wood, CEO and beef division chairman for Harris Farms, Inc., which operates Harris Feeding Company, the West Coast's largest cattle feeder.

Ultimate plans call for a brick and mortar CFHF museum. In the meantime, a virtual museum is under construction. For more information, go to www.cattlefeeders.org.