McClung receives BIF Continuing Service Award
Richard McClung's involvement in the beef industry began on his family's commercial cow-calf and sheep operation near Lewisburg, West Virginia. Upon graduation from the W. Va. University with a degree in animal science in 1964, McClung managed several purebred cattle operations across the country prior to joining Wehrmann Angus in October, 1978. Since that time, McClung has served as managing partner of Wehrmann Angus and together with owner Nick Wehrmann, has developed the Wehrmann herd into the successful performance seedstock operation that exists today.
McClung's focus on meeting the needs of the commercial cow-calf producer have not wavered since he first became involved in the registered Angus business at age 14. His commitment to breeding cattle that benefit the bottom line of commercial clientele has been the basis for McClung's development of the performance brand synonymous with Wehrmann Angus. Wehrmann Angus was established in 1975 in southwest Georgia, and started from primarily Rito breeding from Jorgensen Ranches in South Dakota. McClung was responsible for bringing the first Rito cattle east of the Mississippi in 1969, and upon joining Wehrmann Angus, continued the development of these bloodlines. In 1986, Wehrmann Angus relocated from Georgia to its present location outside New Market, Va. Development of a cow herd that worked on fescue and close attention to maternal traits set the foundation for the herd, along with adherence to strict performance principles, utilization of EPDs, and aggressive culling of females that did not reach production standards.
McClung's goal has always been to breed for the complete animal cattle with a low birth weight expected progeny difference(EPD), enough milk, 80+ pounds of yearling weight EPD, moderate frame size, good fleshing ability, and positive marbling, ribeye, and retail product EPDs. Most importantly, the cattle have been raised and selected to benefit the commercial producer with a focus on efficiency and end product. The acceptance and demand for their genetics in today's industry are a testimony to the vision and dedication of the Wehrmann Angus program under McClung's leadership. Today, bulls are marketed in two annual sales, one in Virginia and the other with Donnell Cattle Co. in Texas. An annual female sale is at the farm each October. Since 1986, Wehrmann Angus has placed 41 bulls in major bull studs, which further exemplifies the genetic superiority of the herd. In 1997, Wehrmann Angus was honored by their peers with the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Seedstock Producer of the Year award.
Progressive adaptation of technology and a committed focus to balanced trait selection have been keys to the success of the Wehrmann program. Throughout the years, McClung has cooperated with universities on numerous research projects related to estrus synchronization, embryo transfer, and use of ultrasound as tool for genetic improvement of carcass traits. These projects have proven to benefit the industry, and many have resulted in methods routinely applied today.
McClung has had several state and national beef industry leadership positions. He is past president of BIF, served on the American Angus Association Board of Directors, is past president of Virginia BCIA, and is currently a member of the Virginia Beef Industry Council. He has spoken at numerous field days and symposiums across the country, sharing his philosophy and approach to the beef business. Richard and his wife, Susan, have three children, Dick, Casey, and Becky.