Cattle U award winners honored

Cattle U’s Cattlewoman and Cattleman of the Year awards were presented at High Plains Journal’s event on July 11 in Manhattan, Kansas. Candidates were nominated by their peers and winners are selected by HPJ staff.

This year’s Cattlewoman of the Year award, sponsored by Merck, was presented to Dr. Tera Barnhardt, DVM, of Satanta, Kansas. Barnhardt grew up on her family’s farm in southwest Kansas and wanted to become a veterinarian since she was young. Barnhardt earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 2014. Upon graduation, Barnhardt worked in a mixed animal practice in Johnson, Kansas, where she currently resides. She has served as the health and welfare coordinator for a large feedlot and calf ranch and in more recent years has transitioned her work to include consulting for large feedyards and dairies in Kansas and Colorado. Barnhardt and her husband, Sheldon, own a residential construction business and an upland game hunting service and have three young children—Archie, Jolee and Chase.

Barnhardt said her job is rewarding because she is able to use science to help people solve problems and plan for the future of their businesses by laying the groundwork for their operations to be successful.

“From a broad perspective, my job is fulfilling because we are producing a lot of protein for people to eat in southwest Kansas,” she explained. “It’s an efficient and safe process and we are really good at it. Feeding the world is no small task and we are doing a large portion of the work in our tiny towns. I work with a lot of really intelligent, driven and passionate people. I’m the lucky one. Even on the very hard days, I’m the lucky one.”

Barnhardt was nominated by Megan Elsey at MJE Livestock Equipment.

“Dr. Barnhardt has spent the last year expanding her social media presence to increase basic knowledge and demystify the cattle industry for Americans and beef consumers,” Elsey said. “Shortly after the severe heat episode last summer that left thousands of cattle dead, she set to work educating the public on how and why things like that happen. She is approachable, bright, and extremely dedicated to educating others about cattle care and comfort. As an outside consultant, she works with feed yards on BQA programs, serves as a keynote speaker, and consults with many others in the industry to make sure that the work of the cattle industry is humane and science based. She has become really inspiring to young cattlewomen across the United States, and I feel would truly represent the spirit of Cattle U.”

Barnhardt said she was literally covered in cow manure, tired and sweaty when she received the call notifying her she had been selected for this award.

“There are a lot of cattlewomen across the state who were in my same shoes that day,” she said. “A lot of cattlewomen who put in the hard work and love this industry. I’m not that unique or special, but I will keep something like this as a high bar to keep myself grounded and working towards always earning that sort of title among my peers, colleagues and fellow beef enthusiasts.”

She shares all recognition with her husband, who helps her balance young children and a busy work schedule.

“He is a partner in every sense of the word, and we didn’t get there without a lot of intentional goal setting and communication,” Barnhardt explained. “For that, I am very proud of us. Some days I am in the spotlight, but those kids and my husband deserve a great deal of praise.” 

Cattleman of the Year

The second award was the Cattleman of the Year. It was sponsored by International Stock Food and was presented to brothers Shayne and Chance Wiese. They are fifth-generation ranchers at Wiese & Sons: Good Doin’ Bulls in Manning, Iowa. Their primary focus is to produce high-quality, productive Hereford bulls for commercial cow-calf producers.

“We pride ourselves on selling polled and horned Hereford bulls to commercial cow-calf producers,” Shayne said. “The Hereford bulls are usually bought by producers with black-hided cows to make F1 black baldies. We’re passionate about that, because we don’t know if there’s a better cross than Hereford on Angus cows to make those awesome black baldies.”

Since 1912, the Wiese family has raised registered Hereford cattle and today manages 350 females on 2,000 diversified acres that include grasslands, hay meadows, corn, soybean, oats, alfalfa and cover crop forages in west central Iowa.

Rick Kusel of Hayden Outdoors nominated Shayne for this award. After Shayne was notified that he had been selected, Shayne’s humble nature kicked in and he asked if he could share the award with his brother, Chance, because they both play integral roles in the operation. Chance keeps track of all the finances, marketing material and agronomy decisions, but most importantly, he is in charge of all registrations and data on the cowherd. Shayne coordinates most of the daily tasks in regards to the cowherd including rotational grazing, genetics and implementation of AI and embryo transplants. Only Shayne was able to attend Cattle U, but he is proud to share this award with Chance.

“My brother and I do everything together and we work in tandem,” Shayne said. “It’s about as good of recognition as I can get to have him right next to me on that award.”

When he nominated Shayne, Kusel said, “Shayne Wiese is the most outstanding young cattleman I know. Wiese & Sons are advocates for conservation and utilize cover crops, CRP, water filtration buffers, and erosion reduction practices as part of their comprehensive commitment to environmental stewardship. Shayne has even testified before the United States House Agriculture Committee regarding the [U.S. Department of Agriculture] farm bill in relation to cattle production.”

Shayne said he was surprised by the news he was selected as Cattleman of the Year.

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“It was very humbling and I want to thank High Plains Journal because in my young career, it’s one of the cooler things I’ve been able to be a part of,” Shayne said. “It really makes me take a step back and realize how important everyone on our cattle ranch is. To be able to work every day with your brother and father, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

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