Cattle U award winners recognized

Cattlemen and women from across the High Plains gathered Aug. 4 and 5 for High Plains Journal’s Cattle U & Trade Show in Dodge City, Kansas, and two producers received Cattle U awards at the event. Nominees are submitted through and selected by the Cattle U event committee.

The Cattlewoman of the Year award was sponsored by HPJ and the 2022 recipient was Marcella Warner Holman. Holman is a fourth-generation rancher and operates Black Diamond Angus Ranch in Ford County, Kansas, with her husband, John Holman and their sons, Ethan and Eli. Her primary focus is raising Angus cattle descended from her great-grandfather’s herd who homesteaded the ranch in 1884. She was named Agriculture Department Head at Dodge City Community College, an associate professor and also worked for U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service before coming back to the ranch full time following her father’s passing in 2009. Her focus is producing high quality beef from Angus cows adapted to her specific ranch environment.

The ranch retains ownership on calves and utilizes artificial insemination extensively. The family also manages a farming enterprise primarily dedicated to forage production and regenerative grazing as conditions permit. Holman was nominated for this award by Dr. Ashley Fischer, DVM.

“As the main operator of the ranch, Marcela not only makes the management decisions but also does the physically taxing tasks including but not limited to fencing, feeding, and tagging calves,” Fischer said. “Throughout her experience managing the ranch, she has maintained a balance between honoring the ranch’s heritage and making sure it will be sustainable for the next generation by being open-minded to new programs and technologies in the beef industry.”

The Cattleman of the Year award was sponsored by Croplan by Winfield United. Jeff Jackson, alfalfa and forage specialist and national forage sorghum product manager at Croplan, presented the award to Tom Jones, managing member of Hy-Plains Feedyard in Montezuma, Kansas.

In 1999, Jones put an investment group together to purchase the feedyard. Seeing the advancement in the quality of the animals provided from the cow-calf producers and the need to make further advancements led to the opening of the Education and Research Center in 2017. The Education and Research Center hosts multiple meetings throughout the year ranging from appropriate antimicrobial use, water conservation, farming practices, and community development.

The overall goal with these meetings is to educate the producers and consumers. There are also multiple groups that come together to identify issues for the industry, collaborate on research projects, and help make improvements throughout the entire supply chain. Jones was nominated by Megan Elsey at MJE Livestock Equipment.

“Tom has an open-door policy regarding his research and education center in Montezuma,” Elsey said. “His dedication to community outreach and solidifying relationships throughout the region are all part of his service to the beef industry. He is an effective communicator with a remarkable ability to share his knowledge about cattle and the beef industry to a wide variety of audiences.”

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].