By Doug Graves
RUSSELL SPRINGS, Ky. – From small, one-time tobacco grower to national Angus board member.
Henry Smith, of Russell Springs, was one of five people elected to their first term on the board of directors of the American Angus Association. Smith can serve up to two three-year terms on the board and, if elected, serve additional one-year terms in office as president/chairman and/or vice president/vice chairman.
The announcement was made last month at the 139th Annual Angus Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Smith is a fourth-generation Angus breeder who grew up on a diversified family farming operation in south central Kentucky. The farming operation consisted of a registered Angus herd, burley tobacco, corn, soybeans and wheat for feed and cash market.
“It’s great to be in a position to help others,” Smith said. “It’s an elected position from the delegates from across the nation and I feel quite honored. It’s an honor to be selected from your peers.”
Smith was active in 4-H, FFA, the Kentucky Junior Angus Association and the NJAA, exhibiting Angus cattle. He was vice president of his local FFA chapter and represented Kentucky in the National Junior Angus Showmanship Contest, in which he placed second. He furthered his education in agriculture and animal science at Western Kentucky University.
Tending to Angus has been a family affair, Smith said.
“My extended family has farmed at this location for more than 200 years and my family got into the Angus business in 1940,” Smith said.
Smith purchased his own farmland at the age of 18 and began growing his own Angus herd. For 27 years, he has successfully operated Smithland Angus Farm with his late father, Charles “Bud” Smith. Together they recently hosted their 25th annual bull and female sale, offering both registered and commercial breeders an opportunity to enhance their Angus genetics.
Smith currently owns and manages 210 registered Angus cows and a small commercial herd. He has improved their Angus herd through the use of Angus Herd Improvement Records and the utilization of AI, ET, ultrasound and genomic information.
Smith has taken a leadership role in several local, regional and state organizations. He has served on the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) board, on the County Agricultural Improvement Program (CAIP) board, and as a past president of Russell County Cattlemen’s Association for several years.
Smith has served as past president of the Kentucky Angus Association (KAA) and is currently serving on the board as vice president. He is current board member and past president of the Central Kentucky Angus Association. Since 1996, Smith has been selected as a voting delegate at the American Angus Association annual meeting. He serves on the board of directors for Kentucky Farm Bureau.
“The Angus industry is a great market,” Smith said. “What drives our industry is a good product, that being Certified Angus beef. This year in terms of sales, it marked the second largest in history at $1.2 billion of product.”
Working with Angus comes with its pros and cons, he adds.
“Our location is ideal and we’re blessed to be on good, rolling land high in fescue,” he said. “Our location makes us fit for beef cattle. We have Angus because of the land we have. And good thing, because we couldn’t do all our acreage in row crops.
“The con of this business is that it’s pretty much a 24/7, 365 type of operation. It’s like any other part of agriculture in that you get out of it what you put in it.”
Although Smith has a strong love for the Angus breed, the main priority for his family is God. “If you keep God first, then everything else will follow,” he said.