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Kosciusko Co. Cattlemen Co-Founder Honored

by Holly Hahn Yoder

Published: Friday, February 14, 2020

The co-founder of the Kosciusko County Cattlemen's Assn. and a longtime supporter were honored during the organization's annual meeting past Tuesday in Pierceton.

Everett and Marie Tom received the Beef Promoter/Supporter Award for their many contributions to the association over the years. Everett co-founded the organization along with Don Frantz in the early 1960s. President Doug Shock detailed the lengthy history of Tom Farms. All five of Tom's children, grandchildren and now the great-grandchildren have shown beef cattle both locally and nationally.

Shock said the family has hosted numerous tours for the association and for other related groups. Most recently, Tom Farms entertained the National Assn. of Agricultural Agents on their farm.

The award which the Tom family received will be given a new name in 2020. The association decided to recognize a longtime contributor to the group by re-naming the award the Keith Young Beef Cattleman Promotor/Supporter of the Year. According to Vice President John Camden, Young can be counted on to volunteer for every club activity. Whether it was sending cattle up the chute at the 4-H auction or assisting at the bull breeding and soundness day or working at both county and state fairs, Young was always there to pitch in wherever help was needed.

Another cattleman who shares a long history in the beef cattle industry was chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Although this year's recipient spent his whole 10 years in 4-H showing dairy cattle, Sam Bushong decided to grow a beef herd after marriage. Bushong and his wife couldn't agree on the best breed, so they decided to have a his and her herd of Simmental and Angus. With help from Bushong, other family members have continued the family tradition of 4-H membership.

Longtime beef advocates were not the only ones acknowledged for their contributions. The Emerging Cattlemen Award was presented to the Jenny and Bill Stofer family. The Stofers raise Simmental, Angus and commercial cattle at their farm. They also market their animals by showing at both the National Stock Show in Denver, at the Fort Work Stock Show and through embryo transfers from their elite donor cows and bull sales.

The Ribeye Award is given to a youngster who is the most helpful at the county fair food stand. Jim Amsden and Bob Stiffler praised Ribeye Award winner Jake Rhoades for his willingness to do anything asked of him. However, Stiffler drew a laugh from the crowd when he also remarked that his grandson, Rhodes, also was always willing to eat his share of ribeyes as well.

Secretary Karen Templin recognized two young men for showing the County Born and Bred reserve beef animals at the fair. Her son, Jackson Templin, exhibited the reserve champion steer, and Caleb Lechlitner showed an Angus heifer. The grand champion exhibiters, Allie Ayers and Noah Knepp, were unable to attend, but all four winners received blankets for their efforts.

As Extension educator Kelly Heckaman introduced the first-year 4-H members, she remarked that she has been in the county long enough to remember their parents showing cattle in 4-H. Scotch combs were presented to Avery Armstrong, Layne Haughee, Will Coleman and Hayley Nelson.

The silent auction to raise money for the association's scholarship fund became a live auction with lots of action from Corey Coleman and Jay Haughee. By joking with and cajoling the crowd, the "auctioneers" brought in $1,575 for the fund. Over $17,000 in scholarship money has been awarded since its inception. Two changes are also in store for scholarship applicants in 2020. Both beef and dairy steer 4-H members are eligible to apply for the scholarship and the amounts awarded will be $1,000.

The evening ended with a presentation by veterinarians A. G. Schafer and Doug Sommers. Schafer gave a brief description of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, found normally in deer. EHD has been identified in Indiana deer as recently as last summer and can affect cattle. The cattlemen were warned to stop watering their animals in ponds and streams during the months of August and September. The midges that carry the disease are especially prevalent at that time. Unfortunately, treatments for the disease have not been very effective. Both men agreed that it is not a matter of if, but rather when, an EHD outbreak will occur in Indiana.

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