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Roy A. Wallace Memorial Scholarships


Contact: Angie Stump Denton, Beef Improvement Federation Communication Coordinator, angiedenton@ksu.edu or 785-562-6197

June 27, 2018


Baller, Butler Win BIF’s Roy Wallace Scholarship

LOVELAND, Colorado – The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) presented Roy A. Wallace Memorial Scholarships to Johnna Baller and Madison Butler June 22 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colorado. These scholarships were established to encourage young men and women interested in beef improvement to pursue those interests as Wallace did, with dedication and passion.

The graduate student award was presented to Johnna Baller. She completed her master’s degree at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in statistics. She was able to incorporate animal breeding and genetics in her master’s project, which involved stacking methods versus model averaging in genomic prediction. She is currently pursuing a PhD in animal science with a specialization in quantitative genetics at UNL. Her research consists of evaluating the accuracy of predicted molecular breeding values using different clustering methods and response variables.

During Baller’s master's program, she had the opportunity to work for ABS Global as a beef product development intern. While working for ABS, she provided direct support to the beef product development team and learned what a potential career working for a breeding company would look like.

“After my experience at ABS Global, I had no doubt that a job in the beef industry was for me,” she says.

Growing up in a small, rural community in northern Colorado, Baller was actively involved in agriculture from a young age. She was a 10-year 4-H member raising market sheep and pigs, but her true passion was market steers. In high school, she joined FFA and earned numerous honors.

Madison Butler is this year’s undergraduate winner. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in May and this fall will start her master’s at Kansas State University in animal science, specializing in livestock breeding and genetics.

While at OSU, Butler had the opportunity to assist with a USDA-funded research project that studied the effects of water restriction in beef cattle. She measured respiration rates, panting scores, shade-seeking behavior, and daily health data three times a week on 60 feedlot steers.

“This experience expanded my knowledge and allowed me to develop an increased passion for research,” Butler says.

Prior to attending OSU, she attended Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College and was a member of the livestock judging team. Butler is a fifth-generation Angus breeder. She served a year as Miss American Angus and is currently a member of the National Junior Angus Association board of directors. She will retire from her role as NJAA board chairman in July.

The Roy A. Wallace Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Memorial Fund was established by Select Sires to honor the life and career of Roy Wallace. Wallace, who worked for Select Sires for 40 years, served as vice president of beef programs and devoted his life to the improvement of beef cattle. He became involved with BIF in its infancy and was the only person to attend the first 40 BIF conventions. He loved what BIF stands for — bringing together purebred and commercial cattle breeders, academia and breed associations, all committed to improving beef cattle.

Wallace was honored with both the BIF Pioneer Award and BIF Continuing Service Award, and he co-authored the BIF 25-year history, Ideas into Action. Two $1,250 scholarships are awarded each year, one to an undergraduate and the other to a graduate student. Criteria for selection include a demonstrated commitment and service to the beef cattle industry and a passion for the areas of beef breeding, genetics and reproduction, academic performance and personal character.

More than 600 beef producers, academia and industry representatives were in attendance at the organization’s 50th annual convention. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.

For more information about this year’s symposium, including additional award winners and coverage of the meeting and tours, visit BIFconference.com. For more information about BIF, visit Beefimprovement.org.

The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) is an organization dedicated to coordinating all segments of the beef industry — from researchers and producers to retailers — in an effort to improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of beef production. The organization was initiated almost 70 years ago to encourage the use of objective measurements to evaluate beef cattle. Continuing the tradition, BIF is now the clearinghouse for developing standardized programs and methodologies for the recording of performance data for all traits, from birth weights to carcass traits. Its three-leaf-clover logo symbolizes the link between industry, extension and research.

Johnna Baller, Walden, Colorado, and Madison Butler, Vincennes, Indiana, were presented Roy A. Wallace Memorial Scholarships June 22 during the Beef Improvement Federation annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colorado. Pictured with Baller (center) are Brian House and Norm Vincel of Select Sires Inc.

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