New AHA Board Directors Elected

October 31, 2019



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — American Hereford Association (AHA) voting delegates elected Bill Goehring, Libertyville, Iowa; Whitey Hunt, Madison, Ga.; and Becky King-Spindle, Moriarty, N.M., to serve on the Board of Directors. Each candidate will serve four-year terms on the 12-member Board.

Joel Birdwell, Kingfisher, Okla., was elected the 2020 AHA President and Mark St. Pierre, El Nido, Calif., was elected vice president. Completing their terms on the AHA Board were retiring president Pete Atkins, Tea, S.D., and directors Kyle Pérez, Nara Visa, N.M., and Jim Bellis, Auora, Mo.

Joel Birdwell

Joel Birdwell, Kingfisher, Okla., was selected as the 2020 AHA president. He and his wife, Bridget, and three sons, Jarret, Judson and Jhett, reside in Kingfisher, Okla., on the ranch his family homesteaded 115 years ago.

Joel raised and showed Hereford cattle in his youth and was involved in state and national junior Hereford programs. He attended Oklahoma State University (OSU), where he was a member of the 1995 livestock judging team, and managed the university’s purebred beef cattle herd after graduation.

To help expand Bridget’s family expand their farming and cattle operation, Joel and Bridget moved to Kingfisher in 2002. In Kingfisher, they run approximately 2,000 head of stocker cattle annually and have more than 400 commercial cows utilizing a crossbreeding rotation of Hereford, Angus and Charolais genetics. Cattle are marketed through video and private treaty sales.

Joel also partners with his father on 300 registered Hereford and Angus cows, which are on the family ranch in Fletcher, Okla. Approximately 100 head of bulls and females are marketed through in a February production sale and via private treaty. Following in his father’s footsteps, Joel has been growing his purebred auction business for the past 10 years.

Mark St. Pierre

Mark St. Pierre is the beef manager at Pedretti Ranches in El Nido, Calif. He is a member of the Pedretti family, and he worked in the family business for 36 years. At Pedretti Ranches, Mark manages the Hereford herd, which consists of 200 registered cows with 100 calving in the spring and 100 calving in the fall.

The Pedrettis have long emphasized performance data in their Hereford herd with performance records dating back to the 1950s. While the ranch received recognition in the showring in the ’70s and early ’80s, including cattle shown on the Hill and in the carloads at the NWSS, the Pedrettis’ goal has always been to produce cattle that work for the commercial cattlemen in California.

Pedretti Ranches raises approximately 80 bulls each year, which are marketed by private treaty sales. With two calving seasons six months apart, the ranch always has the next set of bulls on test. Both Mark and his father-in-law, Gino Pedretti, work with commercial customers. Pedretti Ranches focuses on sound cattle with balance EPDs, good disposition and udder quality.

Mark manages the day-to-day work including addressing herd health issues, vaccination schedules, feeding, pasture management, breeding and calving. He also works in the farming operation, which involves growing cotton, corn and hay. He also has some limited duty on the family dairy.

Mark has served as a California-Nevada Hereford Association board member and has hosted numerous tours. He has been a Merced-Mariposa County Cattlemen’s Association director, a member of the Chowchilla High School FFA ag advisory committee, a 4-H leader and a volunteer fireman. Mark has also served as a deacon and elder in his local church. Mark and his wife, Kim, have two children — a daughter, Christy, and a son, Matt, and his wife, Leah — and one granddaughter.

Bill Goehring

Representing the Northeast region, Bill Goehring and his family started in the Hereford business in 1973. Goehring Herefords’ registered cow herd consists of 150 spring-calving cows and 50 fall-calving cows, and their commercial Angus herd includes 400 spring-calving cows and heifers. The Goehrings breed 100 registered heifers every year as well as 450 black and black-whiteface heifers for their annual sale. Additionally, they background 800 to 1,000 steers and finish 500 head at custom yards.

An alumni of Iowa State University, Bill received a degree in animal science and then attended the World Wide College of Auctioneering. The Goehring family purchased a local livestock market in Keosauqua, Iowa, in 1986 and now market 40,000 head annually in addition to market hogs, sheep, goats and hay.

Growing up, Bill served on the boards of the National Junior Hereford Association and the Iowa Junior Hereford Association. He went on to serve on the board of directors for the Iowa Hereford Association and was president for two years. Bill and his wife, Becky, have four sons — Curtis (Lauren), Lucas (Cody), Ted (Rachelle) and Colby (Hannah) — and one granddaughter.

“In thinking back on the events of last weekend and the election to the AHA board, it was a most humbling experience for me,” Goehring says. “The Board, the delegates and staff were very gracious in welcoming the new Board members on following the election process. I am really looking forward to working on increasing the value of Hereford sired feeder cattle and breeding stock. When we can compete in the marketplace, we will add value all across the Hereford industry. Thank you for making this opportunity possible!”

Whitey Hunt

Whitey Hunt began working on and managing his family’s Hereford operation in 1972 and now owns and operates Innisfail Farm in Madison, Ga., with his wife, Lyn. Partnering with his son, Weyman, they breed 90-120 females and implant approximately 150 embryos annually for fall calving. Bulls are primarily marketed through The Source Bull Sale in Georgia and the bull test programs of Clemson University, the University of Florida, and the Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association. Bulls are also sold private treaty, while steers are run through the Georgia Beef Challenge. An average of 60 females are sold annually through private treaty, as well.

A native of Madison, Whitey received a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science with a minor in agronomy from the University of Georgia. He is a former board member and president of the Georgia Hereford Association (GHA). In addition to the cattle operation at Innisfail, Whitey and Weyman own and operate Godfrey’s Warehouse and Georgia Fertilizer, established in the 1870s. Whitey and Lyn have two sons — Robbs (Johanna) and Weyman (Ashley) — and five grandsons.

“It was an honor to be included in such a strong slate of candidates,” says Whitey Hunt, who represents the Southeast region. “I thank the AHA Board, membership, and voting delegates for giving me this opportunity. My focus for this breed is the continued expansion of Certified Hereford Beef, reducing discounts on purebred Hereford calves, a broadened use of genomic traits and tools and continued expansion of educational efforts for our juniors, our membership, commercial cattlemen, consumers and the food industry.”

Becky King-Spindle

Fourth-generation rancher and Southwest region representative Becky King-Spindle and her husband, Tom, help run her father’s ranch, the Bill King Ranch in Moriarty, N.M. The King family has been ranching and farming in Moriarty for 103 years and was honored as the 2015 New Mexico Ranch Family of the Year. Recognized as a BEEF Magazine Seedstock 100 operation for several years, Bill King Ranch is home to 400 purebred Hereford cows, 300 Angus cows and 300 purebred Charolais cows. The diversified operation grows alfalfa, silage corn and winter wheat and also has a feedlot, where cattle are fed and marketed as non-hormone, age- and source-verified natural beef.

The Kings buy back calves from their seedstock customers to put in their feedlot and to market in their brand’s all-natural program. They also sell all-natural beef at local farmers markets under the Bill King Ranch brand. Becky and her family also sell 350-400 bulls each year private treaty.

After attending New Mexico State University, Becky came home with her husband to raise their children — Jordan (Brendon) Lockmiller, Abby, Cash and Charli Grace. Becky has served on the boards of the National Junior Hereford Association, the New Mexico Hereford Association and the National Hereford Women and advises the New Mexico Junior Hereford Association.

“I am honored and humbled to have been elected to represent the Hereford breeders on the AHA Board of Directors,” says King-Spindle. “ I look forward to continuing the work of the Board to increase demand for the Hereford breed in both the commercial market and the CHB program.

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The American Hereford Association, with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the largest U.S. beef breed associations. The not-for-profit organization along with its subsidiaries — Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC, Hereford Publications Inc. (HPI) and American Beef Records Association (ABRA) — provides programs and services for its members and their customers, while promoting the Hereford breed and supporting education, youth and research. For additional press releases and photos, visit Hereford.org/media.

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