Conference Speakers

Gary Smith is a distinguished professor in the department of animal science at Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins, Colo. Smith occupied the Monfort Endowed Chair in Meat Science at CSU in 1990 and previously served as head of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. His research interests include carcass evaluation and grading; composition, quality and palatability of red meat; red meat safety; and packaging and retailing of red meat. In addition to being honored with numerous teaching and industry awards, he is an advisor to the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
John Stika is director of feeder-packer relations within the Supply Development Team of Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB). Stika serves as a liaison between licensed feedlots and packers and has the responsibility of growing both the scope and the services of the CAB Feedlot Licensing Program (FLP). His attention is focused on enhancing CAB carcass acceptance rates through cooperation with licensed feedlots. Prior to joining CAB, Stika served as an instructor and livestock-judging coach at the University of Kentucky (UK). Stika received a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in meat science from Kansas State University (K-State) and is currently completing his doctoral degree in meat science at UK.
John Crouch is the director of performance programs for the American Angus Association, which is headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo. He oversees the Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR) program, as well as the genetic evaluation program for the Angus sire evaluation. He is responsible for the Association’s work in centralized ultrasound processing and for maintaining the Association’s performance database, which contains more than 6 million individual animal records. He is active in the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) and chairs its Live Animal and Carcass Evaluation and Ultrasound Proficiency committees. He has lectured for beef cattle seminars in 39 states and 10 countries, including Brazil, Scotland, Australia and South Africa.
Sally Dolezal owns Dolezal Enterprises, Derby, Kan., where she does private consulting work for beef industry organizations and producers. Her primary interest areas include assisting commercial and seedstock producers in improving economically important beef cattle traits for efficient production and profitability. She aids in the development of educational materials for genetic improvement of beef cattle, as well as genetic prediction, bull selection, expected progeny differences (EPDs), performance testing and crossbreeding. Dolezal earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UK and her doctoral degree in animal science from Iowa State University. Before establishing her own business, she worked as an associate professor and Extension beef cattle breeding specialist at Oklahoma State University.
Mike Kasten and his wife, Priscilla, operate 3M Ranch near Millersville, Mo., where they maintain a commercial cow herd of 450 females on 2,700 acres. Kasten believes that low-cost production and performance records are the keys to being profitable in the cattle business. Through the years he used several breeds before switching to straight Angus, which better fit the environment and low-input forage system on the ranch. Artificial insemination (AI) is used on more than half of the herd to improve fertility, performance and carcass traits. For the past three years, 20% of his calf crop has met Certified Angus Beef™ (CAB) carcass specifications. Kasten is a former president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.
Minnie Lou Bradley operates Bradley 3 Ranch Ltd., a registered Angus herd near Memphis, Texas. For the past 45 years, her livelihood has been derived from breeding Angus cattle with a focus on supplying seedstock to commercial ranchers in the southwestern United States. The Bradley family built a small feedyard and a small USDA-inspected beef packing plant in 1986 and began merchandising Bradley’s All-Natural Premium Beef. The focus of the Bradleys’ purebred business is on traits that are profitable for commercial producers and that produce a superior end product. Cattlemen from 18 states are on the Bradley All-Natural Premium Program, and retailers in 17 states are marketing Bradley’s All-Natural Premium Beef.
Ray Ramsey, Richmond, Va., is director of the Michigan Livestock Exchange (MLE) Marketing Division of Southern States Cooperative Inc., which is the nation’s largest farmer-owned livestock marketing company. His work includes developing the first real-time Internet auction, CyberStockyard, and the QUID Cattle Systems, which stands for “Quality, Uniform, Identified and Documented.” He also developed Blue Grass LLC, which is Kentucky’s largest livestock market available on a weekly basis to producers. He served as vice president of MLE prior to its merger with Southern States. He graduated from Purdue University with bachelor’s degrees in agricultural economics and animal science and is a partner in a family beef enterprise that specializes in purebred Hereford, Shorthorn and Angus cattle.
Steve Hunt, Liberty, Mo., is CEO of U.S. Premium Beef Ltd. (USPB), a closed marketing beef cooperative founded in 1996. USPB is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., and is the first large-scale producer-owned integrated beef production, processing and marketing company. He is a fourth-generation cattle producer from Winfield, Kan. He graduated from K-State with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and worked nearly a decade in commercial banking. After building an intensive cattle backgrounding and finishing operation in southern Kansas, he joined with other producers to form USPB.
Mark Gardiner is the president of Gardiner Angus Ranch Inc., a 21,000-acre family-owned operation located near Ashland, Kan. The ranch breeds more than 1,650 Angus females and markets more than 1,000 Angus bulls annually. Gardiner and his family have developed an embryo transfer (ET) program that makes more than 2,000 transfers a year, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. He serves on the board of USPB and is the chairman of Integrated Genetic Management (IGM), a genetic products and services company. He is a former president of the Kansas Angus Association and an animal science graduate of K-State.