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Ritter elected president of Kentucky’s cattlemen
By TIM THORNBERRY
Kentucky Correspondent

OWENSBORO, Ky. — Issues ranging from animal identification and an Internet feeder calf sale to the Kentucky Beef Council’s relationship with the American Heart Assoc. were covered during the recent Kentucky Cattlemen’s Assoc. (KCA) annual conference at trade show.

One of highlights of the conference was the election of a new president. Greg Ritter of Glasgow, Ky. became the 24th president of the KCA during the House of Delegates meeting on Friday, Jan. 13.

“I look forward to meeting people throughout the state and I have always believed that people in the cattle industry are some of the nicest people anywhere,” said Ritter

“I’m interested in learning as much as I can about the challenges and opportunities that face all of us so that we can look for ways to move the cattle industry forward.”

Ritter has served on the KCA Board of Directors for 12 years as well as being chairman of the Kentucky Beef Council for three years. He now farms 240 acres in Barren County and runs a cow/calf operation.

Conference speakers included Jim McAdams, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc.; Glenn Smith from AgInfoLink who discussed USDA certification; and John Stevenson, director of the Kentucky Beef Network (KBN) and Jim Akers of the University of Kentucky and KBN who discussed electronic identification programs.

Other topics included The Next Farm Bill, Politics from a Kentucky Perspective and Ag Development Board Impact.

More than 1,000 people from across the state attended the conference, which included a trade show showcasing equipment, tractors and handling facilities, forage products from state and local companies involved with the cattle industry.

Dave Maples, executive vice president of the KCA saw the event as a way to keep the state’s cattle industry up to date with the latest issues and technology.

“We believe that everything from animal health products, cattle handling equipment, to tracking software, genetics and on and on is important to everyone,” he said. “Kentucky’s cattle industry is growing fast and it’s important that we keep the engine running.” KCA, formerly known as the Kentucky Beef Cattle Assoc., started in 1973 when it joined the Kentucky Feeder Calf Assoc. with several divisions, officers and budgets.

In June 1992, the membership voted to restructure the organization, giving it a name change and simplifying the board structure, creating only one Board of Directors. Counties were represented based on the delegate system.

According to the KCA website, “These delegates served as the connection to the counties and elected regional representatives to represent them on the Board. Committees were linked directly to the Board by having their chairman serve on the Board. In addition, the officers were expanded to include Regional Vice Presidents and Program Vice Presidents (Association and Council).”

“Promotion initially focused strictly on raising better beef cattle. We brought in buyers from Canada and other places. We offered tours of other states and we exhibited at the North American (North American International Livestock Exposition),” said Bob Brewer of Lexington, one of the early members.

Kentucky is the largest cattle producing state east of the Mississippi River and the eighth largest in the nation with approximately 40,000 beef producers and approximately 2.3 million head of cattle and calves.

In Kentucky, the beef industry generated $544 million in cash receipts in 2003. Last year, beef cattle receipts increased to $652 million, a 5 percent gain against 2004.

This year’s conference theme Piecing Together the Future: Where do you fit in, was designed to reflect the growth of the cattle industry in Kentucky and how everyone in the industry relies on someone else to produce the product.

For more information visit the KCA website at www.kycattle.org

Published in the January 25, 2006 issue of Farm World.

1/25/2006