Industry Leadership Award



Bill Pullen
2022 Recipient 

If you met Bill Pullen in his adolescence — an eager young man starting out on his father’s farm-feedlot in Central City, Nebraska — you’d be forgiven for not predicting the seismic impact he would eventually make in the farm innovation sector.

 But his intrinsic knack for feeding markets, commitment to trust and integrity, and genuine ardency for his work were early indicators as to his career trajectory. He segued those qualities, plus the knowledge he attained on that farm-feedlot, into a partnership with Ben Neier that would ultimately establish ROTO-MIX, a global leader in feed mixers, delivery boxes and compost mixing.

 In the 38 years since its founding, ROTO-MIX has won countless awards and spawned 120+ dealers in the U.S. and 35 international markets. This strong inventory of successes has shaped Bill into the high-performing cattle feeding powerhouse he is today. It has also earned him this well-deserved spot in the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame, a recognition held only for those who not only meet but also exceed expectations in all they do.












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Dr. Hummel
2020 Recipient

Dr. Robert “Bob” Hummel graduated from The Ohio State University in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree. He later went on to complete the Owner/President Management course at Harvard University.

After graduating from The Ohio State, Hummel began a career as a technical service veterinarian with the American Cyanamid Company. A few years later, in 1967, Bob co-founded the Great Plains Chemical Company, Inc. in Greeley, Colorado. The name was later changed to Lextron, Inc., and it became one of the largest animal health distributors in the U.S. with a heavy emphasis toward the beef industry.

In 2011, the name of the company was changed to Animal Health International after a merger with Walco International. In 2015, the company was sold to Patterson Companies. It was at this time that Hummel decided to retire at the age of 78. Hummel left behind quite a legacy after retiring. The company he had co-founded had grown into a major supplier of animal health needs for the cattle industry, as well as supplying the feedyard technology needs for over 65% of the cattle on feed in the U.S. This included feedyard accounting, bunk and health management, mill and feed truck management, micro machines and grain conditioners.

Now, Hummel spends quality time with his wife, Carole, and his children and grandchildren. They enjoy spending summers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and a few months a year in Santa Barbara, California.





Gary C. Smith

Dr. Gary C. Smith
2021 Recipient

Born and raised in Caddo County, Oklahoma, Gary attended universities in California, Washington, and Texas. Since 1961, he has taught and conducted research at Washington State University, Texas A&M University, and Colorado State University. 

From 1961 to 1975, his research focused on beef palatability (bullocks vs. steers, carcass chilling effects on tenderness, blade tenderization, electrical stimulation of carcasses, Tenderstretch®); beef shelflife (vaccum packaging for domestic and transoceanic shipments, retail caselife); and USDA Feeder Cattle Grade Standards. From 1975 to 1990, his research efforts included modified atmosphere packaging of beef; Transoceanic shipments of variety meats; USDA Beef Quality and Yield Grade Standards; Time-on-feed and beef palatability; The Hamburger Steer®; breed types and beef palatability; beef lipids and human nutrition; National Consumer Retail Beef Study; and restructured beef steaks. From 1990 to 2015, his research focused on chemical residues in US beef; National Beef Quality Audits; International Beef Quality Audit; National Market Cow and Bull Audits; injection-site lesions; Conventional, Natural, and Organic Beef; feeding Vitamin E and beef retail caselife; “Multiple- Hurdle E.Coli 0157:H7 decontamination systems; implementation of HACCP programs in beef packing plants; Palatability Assurance Critical Control points; controlling Salmonella and Listeria on ready-to-eat beef; Best Practices for mitigating BSE (Mad Cow Disease) risk in packing plants; traceability systems implementation; and instrument grading of beef carcasses. 

Gary credits his success to colleagues and graduate students (who did the hard work) and the help of cattle feeders, packers, and retailers (who allowed them to use their facilities and products).



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Jim Odle
2019 Recipient

A rancher turned auctioneer, Jim Odle was given a start in the auctioneering field by Claude Redman in 1962. Two years later, he purchased the Weld County Livestock Commission Company. This purchase was then sold, and he joined Brush Livestock Commission Company, which Jim bought in 1969 and sold in 1976. He also owned and operated Amarillo Livestock Auction in Amarillo, Texas from 1994 to 1996.  

In 1972, Jim Odle and Chuck Cumberlin formed Odle Cumberlin Auctioneers and began conducting seasonal video cattle auctions. In 1986, he founded Odle Auctions and then merged with Amarillo Livestock Auction and Amarillo Livestock Video Auction to create Superior Livestock Auction. This move created a nationwide livestock market for America’s cattlemen.

Odle always kept Superior in the forefront, pioneering video cattle auctions via satellite and the internet once it became a viable tool. While in June of 2007, Jim and his partners sold Superior Livestock Auction, Jim has been asked to serve as General Manager and then as a management consultant until 2016.

Jim is also the founder, benefactor and the executive producer of “Cowboy Church TV” which nationally broadcasts Christian church services on RFD TV. During his illustrious career, Mr. Odle has been recognized by multiple organizations including other Hall of Fame designations, while serving on many notable boards.

Currently, Jim and his wife Ruth Ann reside on their ranch south of Brush, Colorado where they farm, run a cow-calf and feeder operation as well as raise quarter horses.


Dee Griffin _web Photo

Dee Griffin
2017 recipient
Dee Griffin, an “Okie” raised on a small cow/calf operation, has focused his entire professional career on cattle. After completing his veterinary degree from Oklahoma State University, he completed his graduate work at Purdue University focusing on pathology and nutrition. He then became the staff veterinarian for Hitch Enterprises, a family-owned operation that had 1,200 cows, nearly 20,000 stockers, more than 250,000 feeder cattle and two packing plants.

In his current position, Dr. Griffin is a clinical professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.


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Randy Blach
2016 recipient

Randy Blach is the executive vice president and chief executive officer of CattleFax where he has worked since 1981. Throughout his career, Randy has spoken at hundreds of cattle and beef industry meetings, seminars and conventions. Randy and his family remain actively involved in cattle ranching with cow/calf, stocker and finished cattle.




Topper Thorpe
2015 recipient
In 1968, Topper Thorpe went to work as a market analyst at CattleFax. He served as the Executive Vice President and CEO for nearly 30 years, retiring from CattleFax in 2001. Upon his retirement, Topper returned to livestock production with his wife, Leeann. They currently operate an irrigated family farm and stocker operation in the Gila Basin of New Mexico. 


Gigot 2014
Betty Jo Gigot
2014 recipient

Betty Jo Gigot is the editor and publisher of CALF News, a magazine based in Garden City, Kansas, that she has served for more than 23 years. She became involved in the cattle-feeding industry in 1980 when she founded her own computer company and began writing and installing programs in feedyards across the country.




Harry Knobbe
2013 recipient

Harry Knobbe has dedicated more than 50 years to the cattle-feeding industry. After opening a commodity brokerage office in 1967, Knobbe Commodities Inc., he began buying and selling all weights of feeder cattle to regional farmers through Knobbe Livestock. Today, he also owns a farming and cattle-feeding operation, Harry Knobbe Feedyards, which feeds several thousand head of cattle per year.



Terry Klopfenstein
2012 recipient

Terry Klopfenstein, Ph.D., has established a legacy of innovative research and other scholarly work focused on ruminant nutrition. His passion and dedication to education and the beef community can been seen in his years of service and contributions to advancing our industry.


John Lacey
2011 recipient

For more than 140 years, ranching in California has been the way of life for the Lacey Family. You could say a passion for the beef industry is in John's blood, but it's also evident from his career and accomplishments.



Richard McDonald
2010 recipient

Richard McDonald was a strong, steady and consistent champion for cattle feeders with an innate ability to recognize and capitalize on short- and long-term opportunities for the industry.