48th Annual American Gelbvieh Association National Convention

AGA Board of Directors Candidates

The American Gelbvieh Association nominating committee recommends the following five candidates to fill the five open positions on the AGA Board of Directions. Additional nominations may be accepted from the floor during the annual meeting.

Todd Bickett, DVM, Georgia
Lori Maude, South Dakota
Andrea Murray, Oklahoma (seeking re-election)
Randy Sienknecht, Iowa (seeking re-election)
Jeff Swanson, Nebraska (seeking re-election)

The election for the Board of Directors will take place during the AGA annual meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2018 during the 48th Annual AGA National Convention.

Members unable to attend the annual meeting may request an absentee ballot by phone, email, or fax for election of directors. In order to obtain an absentee ballot, a member must submit their request to the AGA office not more than 60 days (October 1, 2018) nor less than ten days (November 16, 2018) prior to the annual meeting and must be in good standing with the Association at least 60 days prior to the annual meeting. Ballots must be returned to the AGA office by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2018.

Todd Bickett, DVM, Georgia

I am honored to be considered for my second tenure on the AGA Board of Directors. For those unfamiliar with me, my wife Alisa and I have operated as TJB Gelbvieh since 1991. I have repeated this story many times, but the best thing I ever received from this breed is my wife. Alisa and I met when I was purchasing my first Gelbvieh females from her cousin, Randy Daniel at Partisover Ranch. For that introduction, I will be forever grateful.

I was raised on a dairy/beef cattle farm in central Kentucky, where I developed my passion for the industry. I attended the University of Kentucky for my undergraduate education and studied Animal Science. In 1986, I graduated from Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine. Hailing from the Bluegrass, I made Georgia my home when I began mixed-practice veterinary medicine, a practice I co-owned for 15 years. My real love in the profession became bovine reproduction, so I left the clinic and began operations as Bickett Genetics, Inc. I have operated a full-service bovine embryo transfer service since that time.

I was exposed to the Gelbvieh breed through a client in 1988, and like most, was impressed with the MARC data and the docility and maternal strengths. That interest led me to Partisover Ranch, and the rest is history! I have been fortunate in my veterinary career and my cattle ventures to have encountered tremendous cattlemen to emulate. In the beginning I was not experienced in the purebred cattle business, so I found the people I could believe in, took their advice, and followed their lead.

I was enamored with my first tenure on the board. The term was amid a crucial time, during the transition to the Balancer® segment of our industry. It was at that time I learned the importance of representation from various aspects of the breed. Additionally, I learned that differing opinion is what makes an association thrive. Although we did not always agree, inside the boardroom we were responsible for setting our individual ideas aside and taking a unified position for the association. Today, I believe I can bring this same open-mindedness and a new, determined vision to the Board.

While I truly love and admire agriculture, my wonderful family and God are my strong foundation. Alisa is forever full of energy and life. Her vivacious personality is one of God’s greatest blessings, and she is a light to everyone she meets. Besides that, she is an awesome herdsman–when she needs to be! My oldest daughter Kelsie graduated from the University of Georgia (UGA) in agricultural communications. Following graduation, she spent time working in agriculture policy and now works in corporate marketing in Lexington, Kentucky. My youngest daughter Katelyn is also majoring in agricultural communications at UGA and is developing her passion for agriculture, both in her studies and her time working at the University’s dairy.

I have invested thirty years of time, effort and financing into a breed and industry that have become my life. Understanding and appreciating the value of this breed, I desire to make this breed flourish. If elected, I promise to dedicate all that I can to our future success.

Lori Maude, South Dakota

It is an honor to be nominated for the AGA Board of Directors. I was first introduced to Gelbvieh cattle in 1997, when I was hired as the AGA director of communications and Gelbvieh World editor. A job that I thought would be a four-year gig turned into nearly 12 years and a love for the cattle and the people that didn’t end when I left AGA in 2009.

Together with my parents (Marvin and Mae), my sisters (Julie and LeAnn), niece (Jayden) and nephews (Carl and Clayton), we run 200 head of commercial and registered Gelbvieh and Balancer® cattle in southwestern South Dakota. Our registered cattle are marketed under CJ&L Livestock and we will host our 5th annual bull sale this December. We have also sold cattle through the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City for the past 18 years.

The people that raise Gelbvieh cattle are passionate about breeding cattle that excel regardless of the environment they run in. I was so lucky to meet and visit with many Gelbvieh breeders that shared their expertise and wisdom. My day-job for 25 plus years has been ag communications and marketing. Since I departed AGA, I have been fortunate to work for two of the top agricultural advertising agencies in the country.

I can bring to the AGA Board of Directors expertise in building a brand strategy and messaging, as well as new ideas to share our Gelbvieh message. I am open-minded, with no hidden agendas and can truly look at both sides of an issue before making a decision. I want to serve the membership and give back to the breed that gave me so many opportunities. I would appreciate your vote and hope to see many of you at the AGA National Convention in Nashville.

Andrea Murray, Oklahoma

I would like to start by extending my gratitude to the nomination committee for the invitation to rerun for the AGA Board of Directors. It has been an honor to serve the membership of the AGA these last three years. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge what a privilege it has been to serve the membership.

For those I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, my husband Matt and I reside in rural Oklahoma. We have two boys: Braxton, 12 and Breckon, 8. We have a diversified farming and cow-calf operation. We utilize both Gelbvieh and Balancer® genetics in our seedstock and commercial cattle.

I’m excited about the progress that Gelbvieh has achieved the last several years, and especially in the last few months with the release of BOLT. That being said, we must continue to position Gelbvieh for the future. It is still my belief that this goal will best be reached by focusing on our breed’s strong attributes, e.g., fertility, longevity, stayability, yield grade, and growth. At the same time, it is important to recognize that there is still room for improvement in birth weight and marbling. We need to continue to hold a strong presence in established marketplaces while creating excitement and promoting Gelbvieh in new areas and new ways. Additionally, my own experiences and those that I share with my sons make me a strong advocate and supporter of the American Gelbvieh Junior Association. This program holds a vital role in shaping the future leaders of the AGA and of the beef industry.

I would also like to take a moment to personally invite all our members to attend the 48th Annual American Gelbvieh Association National Convention “Meeting Modern Industry Demands: Raising the Bar,” in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 28 through 30, 2018. We have seen an increasing number of members participate in convention and committee meetings. I would like to see the trend continue this year and for many more to come.

I would like to finish by saying that I have enjoyed my time on the board and would be honored to serve you once again. If you feel like I would continue to contribute in a positive way to the board, I would appreciate your vote either in person or through an absentee ballot.

Randy Sienknecht, Iowa

As a native of Gladbrook, Iowa, I bought my first Gelbvieh cow in 1990 at the Reiter Dispersal in Iowa. I then bought six bred heifers from Jim Horton. Today, I run 140 head of spring and fall calving cows on 500 acres of owned and rented grass.

My wife, Melissa, and I have three children: Adelyn, Alaney, and Ashton. I have served four terms on the Gelbvieh Breeders of Iowa board, am actively involved in the Tama County Cattlemen’s Association and am a member of both the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. I also serve as a Gelbvieh representative on the Iowa Beef Breeds Council.

I am honored to be nominated to run for a second term on the AGA Board. It is important for Gelbvieh and Balancer® cattle to remain relevant in the commercial beef industry. We need to continue to aggressively grow our herd book and increase registrations.

The growth and maternal traits of Gelbvieh are needed in the industry, and as breeders, we need to continue to promote those traits. It is essential for Gelbvieh breeders to become involved in their state associations and attend national events. An active membership helps drive interest in our breed, improves the genetics we use, and helps all of us become better cattle breeders.

Together we can make our breed stronger and grow in numbers. I believe Gelbvieh can rise to be in the top three of beef breed registrations and I believe I can help the breed achieve that milestone. I would work hard for the membership, listen to your concerns, and do my best to help our breed flourish. Thank you for the nomination.v

Jeff Swanson, Nebraska

This letter expresses why I, Jeff Swanson, feel I would represent the AGA in a positive way during a second term on the AGA Board of Directors. It has been an honor serving on the AGA board the past three years.

I was born and raised on a Nebraska farm and ranch where my father introduced me into the commercial cattle operation along with hard work, accountability, and honesty. As the owner and operator of Swanson Cattle Company located near Atlanta, Nebraska, our operation has always had a “lead by example” atmosphere and I’m proud to have the opportunity to instill these traits in my children as well as the younger generation of cattlemen and women that I conduct business with. My wife, Denice, and I have one daughter and two sons. They have given us five grandchildren, all of whom I enjoy spending time with on our ranch.

I have raised cattle most of my life. I first became interested in the Gelbvieh breed because of their gentle disposition and maternal traits. After studying the Angus breed, I realized the benefit of crossing the two breeds and have been crossing registered Gelbvieh and Angus since the early ‘90s, which was well before the name “Balancers®” existed.

As a member of the AGA for 35 years, I bring a significant amount of commercial breeding and feeding experience to the table. I strive to stay informed and communicate well with many breeders across the nation. During my time on the board, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several new acquaintances and I look forward to further developing those relationships.

Swanson Cattle Company holds a yearly production sale where we offer our bulls as well as a select lineup of females. I always work hard to present the very best genetics in our sale each year. My family, employees, and I are dedicated to the Gelbvieh breed and continue to work at improving our operation.

If I were elected to a second term on the board, I would like to continue targeting the commercial producers, feedyards, and livestock markets regarding how well Gelbvieh and Balancer-influenced cattle perform in the commercial and feeding environment. My personal goal is to pass on the positive traits that I have learned in my life not only to my sons, Seth and Zack; but to all young cattlemen whom I have had the opportunity to interact with. I look forward to seeing a new generation of honest, very hard working cattlemen and women that will continue to improve the Gelbvieh breed.