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The Beef Improvement Federation  presented Jerry Wulf, Morris, MN, the BIF Pioneer Award.
The Beef Improvement Federation presented Jerry Wulf, Morris, MN, the BIF Pioneer Award.

Wulf, Bieber, Munger honored at BIF 51st convention

Beef Improvement Federation - July 10, 2019

BROOKINGS, SD – Producers recognized at the recent Beef Improvement Federation’s (BIF) 51st annual convention held in Brookings embody the commitment to continually improve beef cattle through production practices as well as those whose work has advanced the BIF mission.

More than 500 beef producers, academia and industry representatives attended the organization’s annual meeting and symposium in Brookings, June 18-21, 2019. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.

The Beef Improvement Federation presented Jerry Wulf, Morris, MN, the BIF Pioneer Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle, honoring those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle.

In business for more than 60 years, the Wulf operation spans across Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska, and is partners with Riverview LLP, a dairy enterprise. Wulf Cattle manages 2,000 registered Limousin and Lim-Flex females, finishes 100,000 head of fed cattle annually; and has a 12,000-head grass stocker operation in western South Dakota. The operation ranks in National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Top 25 Seedstock Producers.

“Jerry is an industry icon, a visionary and a leader,” says Joe Epperly, Wagonhammer Ranches, Albion, NE. “He has taken every goal of the Beef Improvement Federation in objective selection and made it a practical reality. For more than 50 years, he has been on the cutting edge of the beef industry, and I can think of no one more deserving of the term pioneer than him.”

An industry leader in the development of expected progeny differences (EPDs) and indexes, Wulf has contributed a tremendous amount of data toward the development of the first docility EPD in the beef industry at the North American Limousin Foundation. They were some of the first to collect large quantities of feed efficiency data and worked closely with staff at NALF to produce an across-breed feed efficiency index for in-house selection and customer information.

“Jerry was a driver behind increasing use of genomics in selection and collected thousands of samples from the earliest days of genomics until today,” Epperly says. “He worked with his brother, Duane, to produce three proprietary indexes for their customers: First Calf Heifers, Mainstream Terminal Sires, Mainstream Markets Keeping Replacements, which they continue to update and publish annually.”

In other awards BIF recognized Craig Bieber, Leola, SD., with a BIF Continuing Service Award. Continuing Service Award winners have made major contributions to the BIF organization. This includes serving on the board of directors, speaking at BIF conventions, working on BIF guidelines and other behind-the-scenes activities. As BIF is a volunteer organization, it is this contribution of time and passion for the beef cattle industry that moves BIF forward.

Bieber serves as CEO of Bieber Red Angus Ranch, managing sales and ranch activities. Bieber Red Angus Ranch has been breeding Red Angus cattle since 1968. The Bieber family manages 950 registered Red Angus cows and hosts four sales and three online sales annually.

An industry leader, Bieber has served in several leadership roles. He served on the BIF board of directors and was the 2015-2016 BIF president. He is also a past president of the Red Angus Assn. of America (RAAA) board and served on its breed improvement committee. He is a past president of the South Dakota Red Angus Assn. and served on the South Dakota Beef Industry Council. He currently serves on the US Meat Export Federation.

“Craig’s passion for the beef industry has lead him to serve in a variety of leadership roles including the Red Angus Association of America, the South Dakota Beef Council and the Beef Improvement Federation,” says Lee Leachman, 2018-2019 BIF president. “He is the type of leader who wants to make things happen and make a difference.”

Also selected for a BIF Continuing Service Award was Steve Munger, Highmore, SD.

Munger is managing partner of Eagle Pass Ranch, which he and his wife, Debi, own in partnership with sons, Nate and AJ, and their wives. Eagle Pass Ranch has been supplying the beef industry with progressive beef genetics for more than 25 years. The company annually markets more than 500 bulls and females to cow-calf producers across the United States, Canada and Mexico, along with commercial heifers, semen and embryos.

Munger served on the BIF board of directors, including a term as president in 2014-2015.

“Steve Munger is a leader in the beef cattle genetics business both locally and nationally,” says Joe Cassady, South Dakota State University Animal Science Department professor and head. “He is an early adopter of technology for the measurement of phenotypic traits and a strong supporter of beef cattle production research. He’s been a leader in selection for feed efficiency for beef cattle.”

For more information about this year’s symposium, including additional award winners and coverage of the meeting and tours, visit BIFconference.com. For more information about BIF, visit Beefimprovement.org.

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