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2015 Commercial Producer Nominees

The Beef Improvement Federation recognizes four regional nominees for Commercial Producer of the Year.

Each year the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) recognizes outstanding commercial cattle operations during its annual symposium, crowning one overall winner as Commercial Producer of the Year. Nominees are evaluated on 10 criteria, including short- and long-term goals, records systems and implementation, breeding systems, selection objectives/culling criteria and process, marketing practices and customer relations, carcass data collection and application, forage resources and stewardship, innovations/improvements and use of technology, contributions to community and industry, and vision of BIF's role.

Four nominees were recognized this year during an awards luncheon June 10. Woodbury Farms, Quenemo, Kan., was named 2015 BIF Commercial Producer of the Year. Following are short bios of each of the nominees.

Quick Links: Goose Creek Valley Farms | Winslow Farms | Woodbury Farms | Woodward Hi-Altitude Cattle

Goose Creek Valley Farms, Lynchburg, Va.

Owners: Douglas and Beverley Dalton
Manager: Jess Herbers

Goose Creek Valley Farms, located in central Virginia, is a progressive and diversified commercial cattle operation. In 2004, the Doug Dalton family made a significant acquisition of land along with that entity’s 40 head of commercial cows. This acquisition led to the commercial operation known today as Goose Creek.

From 1850 to the 1970s, Dalton farmland produced tobacco. In 1977, Aubrey Dalton and his son, Doug, purchased 25 commercial pairs. Over the next several decades the farm evolved into the progressive Angus seedstock operation known as “Daltons on the Sycamore.” Today the sixth generation of Daltons manages registered and commercial cows on 3,200 acres.

The family’s 520 commercial cows complement the 200-head seedstock operation, plus 200-400 stockers yearly. Sons-in-law Jess Herbers (married to Wynn) and Tad Melton (married to Whitney) offer a wide breadth and depth of experience, providing valuable advice and oversight and making essential contributions to this program.

Jess manages Goose Creek and utilizes Hereford and Angus genetics to meet his production goals.

Calving in the spring and fall, ownership of commercial calves is retained through harvest. The calves are weaned and backgrounded, then shipped to western Kansas to be fed and sold on the U.S. Premium Beef (USPB) grid. Jess focuses on carcass merit while balancing all the production traits. This cattle operation maintains diversity, operating in each of the beef industry’s production segments and utilizing DNA technology, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization (IVF), fetal sexing and carcass analysis.

The American Hereford Association nominated Goose Creek Valley Farms.


Winslow Farms, Autaugaville, Ala.

Owners: Ricky and Karen Tucker
Manager: Ricky Tucker

Winslow Farms, owned and operated by Ricky and Karen Tucker, is located in southwest Autauga County, Alabama. Having begun in the 1950s, Winslow Farms is a third-generation commercial cow-calf operation with 150 breeding females.

The original cow herd consisted of Angus and Hereford crosses; however, Winslow Farms presently operates with a cow herd base of Angus and Simmental genetics. Hybrid Simmental-Angus herd sires are used to maintain heterosis and provide both growth and maternal performance.

Performance records for all cows, sires and calves are maintained through the Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA) commercial recordkeeping program. Whole-herd recordkeeping has been maintained through Alabama BCIA since 1986. However, farm performance records have been collected and maintained since the early 1980s. Performance data such as adjusted 205-day weights and ratios and cow most probably producing ability (MPPA) are used to evaluate individual calf, sire and cow performance.

Winslow Farms has been annually honored with numerous BCIA Gold Star Cow Awards for more than 10 years. A 90-day fall-calving season, beginning in October, is planned to allow for marketing of preconditioned feeder calves in early August. The majority of calves are born within the first 30 days of the calving season.

Preconditioned feeder calves are marketed in early August through the Producers Feeder Calf Sale, a cooperative teleauction.

Goals of Winslow Farms are to continue to increase weaning weights through genetic selection, while striving to decrease input costs and increase pasture productivity.

The Alabama BCIA nominated Winslow Farms.


Woodbury Farms, Quenemo, Kan.

Owner: Fred H. Woodbury Family
Managers: Howard Woodbury and John Woodbury

Woodbury Farms is located in Osage County, Kansas, on the eastern edge of the Flint Hills. The operation was started in 1881 when Fred H. Woodbury purchased his first 80 acres near Olivet, Kan. The headquarters of the farm was moved 25 miles northeast in 1968, as the original homeplace was flooded to make way for the Melvern Reservoir. The fourth generation of Woodburys now operates land in four counties, managing 5,000 acres of native and tame grasses and 400 acres of cropland.

The cow herd consists of 400 spring-calving cows, of which 175 are registered Angus and 225 are commercial Angus and black baldies, along with a few red baldies that stem from a Hereford cow base.

The family markets calves through many avenues. All calves are backgrounded after weaning, with a majority of the steers being sold through the local sale barn. About one-third of the heifer calves are retained for replacements, and most of the remaining calves are sold in a production sale in March, along with about 40 yearling bulls from the registered herd.

A small number of steers and heifers also are entered in the annual Flint Hills Beef Fest hosted in Emporia, Kan. Cattle are summer-grazed on the Flint Hills, then finished at a commercial feedyard where carcass data is gathered.

During the past several years, Woodbury cattle have won the grandstand show in both the steer and heifer divisions and placed high in the grass futurity contest. They also won the steer carcass contest in 2012.

With a long-standing tradition behind them, the Woodburys are focused on continuing the operation into the next generations.

The Kansas Livestock Association nominated Woodbury Farms.


Woodward Hi-Altitude Cattle, Bailey, Colo.

Owners: John and Beth Woodward
Manager: John Woodward

The ranch is located in the northeast corner of Park County at an elevation of 8,500 feet. John took over the family ranch in 1980 after graduating from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science.

Currently, the ranch owns cattle and puts up hay on approximately 4,400 acres. Most of that acreage is grazing land, with about 100 acres of irrigated hay. Currently, they maintain 80 mother cows and feed out approximately 20 steers each year for private-treaty sales.

Thirty-five years ago, their base herd was Hereford and was bred to Angus bulls. Today all of the cows are Angus-cross, with about 30% of them being black baldies.

A unique aspect of the operation is how they have gone about reducing the occurrence of high-altitude disease, also known as brisket disease. They started PAP-testing (testing for pulmonary arterial pressure) their bulls 20 years ago. Later, they realized they also needed to start PAP-testing all of their replacement heifers. Today, every breeding animal on the ranch has been PAP-tested by Dr. Tim Holt. Managing cattle at elevations greater than 8,500 feet year-round is an extraordinary challenge.

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Colorado State University nominated Woodward Hi-Altitude Cattle.

Editor’s Note: Biographies provided courtesy of the Beef Improvement Federation.

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