The Beef Improvement Federation presented Craig Huffhines, Amarillo, Texas, the BIF Pioneer Award during the group’s recent annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colorado. The award recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle, honoring those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle.
A native Texan, Huffhines received his undergraduate degree in animal science from Texas A&M University. He was then recruited to Colorado State University by Gary Smith to work on a study that showed the feedlot performance of Hereford-influenced cattle and palatability characteristics of Hereford beef. He was project leader for the CSU Hereford study, which formed the basis for the CHB program.
Huffhines served as executive vice president of the American Hereford Association from 1997 to 2015. He initially joined the AHA staff in 1992 upon completing a master’s degree at CSU. His early responsibilities included director of feedlot and carcass programs for AHA’s Certified Hereford Beef program. He was named CHB director in 1995, launching a fully aligned, breed-specific, branded beef program into the retail and foodservice sectors.
“Craig has never been afraid of a challenge, and has been a real advocate for breed improvement and technology within the beef industry,” says Jack Ward, AHA executive vice president and BIF board member.
Under his leadership, AHA implemented the Whole Herd Total Performance Records program, developed the National Reference Sire program, moved toward a full multi-trait genetic evaluation, led the development of a Pan-American genetic evaluation and led the movement toward incorporating genomics to the AHA genetic evaluation.
“In addition to breed improvement tools, Craig’s vision was to make the AHA efficient through technology and utilizing all tools to keep the AHA fiscally strong,” Ward adds.
He has served in several industry leadership capacities, including president of the National Pedigreed Livestock Council from 2003 to 2006, chairman of the BIF Emerging Technology Committee from 2004 to 2007, chairman of the U.S. Beef Breeds Council and a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Animal Identification working group and USMARC advisory committee.
“Craig has been a true pioneer in the beef industry and his leadership roles at the AHA pushed the membership to focus on breed improvement tools that would make the commercial industry more profitable,” Ward says.
Huffhines is currently executive vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association. Huffhines and his wife, Mary Jon, are the parents of three sons.