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Herefords Breeders Honored for 50 Years in the Business

November 1, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In celebration of 50 years in the Hereford business, 13 Hereford breeders were recognized as American Hereford Association (AHA) Golden Breeders for their commitment to the Hereford business. These longstanding operations …

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In celebration of 50 years in the Hereford business, 13 Hereford breeders were recognized as American Hereford Association (AHA) Golden Breeders for their commitment to the Hereford business. These longstanding operations were recognized during the Hereford Honorees awards ceremony, Oct. 25, during the AHA Annual Membership Meeting and Conference in Kansas City, Mo.

This year’s Golden Breeders are:

  • Banks Polled Herefords, Ada, Okla.
  • Diamond J Farms, Beaver County, Okla.
  • Donato Ramos, Laredo, Texas
  • Gfeller Herefords, Junction City, Kan.
  • Haught Brothers, Harrisonville, W.Va.
  • Jackson Farm, White House, Tenn.
  • JBB Herefords, Gooding, Idaho
  • JMAR Farms, Long Lane, Mo.
  • Ron Beaver Herefords, Anamosa, Iowa
  • Ridenhour Herefords, Waldron, Ark.
  • River Bend Farms, Waldron, Ind.
  • Ollerich Brothers, Parker, S.D.
  • Wooden Shoe Farms, Blackfoot, Idaho

“As a cattle producer, 50 years in the business is a great accomplishment,” says Shane Bedwell, AHA chief operating officer and director of breed improvement. “The AHA congratulates each of these Golden Breeders and their families for their passion and commitment to the Hereford breed.”

Banks Polled Herefords

Doug and Jane Banks, Ada, Okla., started their herd with four registered polled Hereford heifers in 1966 and in 1968 became lifetime members of the AHA. As an early adopter of the American Polled Hereford Association’s (APHA) guidelines program, Doug has been an avid believer in collecting performance data, which has earned his operation the honor of being a Gold TPR Breeder multiple times.

The longtime Buckeye fans recently relocated to Oklahoma to expand their Hereford operation and to grow the demand for Hereford genetics in the commercial market. Doug is an active member of multiple youth boards at both the local, state and national levels. He and Jane have two children — a son, Brian, and a daughter, Amy (Tony) — and two grandchildren.

Diamond J Farms

Diamond J Farms is located in Beaver County, Okla., and is owned and operated by MC and Becky James. MC is 86 years young and bought his first Hereford when he was 16 years old. His first wife, Bonita, worked by his side in this venture for 47 years and was a large part of the operation. Becky met MC in church and began helping him on the farm after Bonita passed. They were married in 2002, and she has now been working with MC to improve the breeding program for 19 years.

Their cow-calf operation consists of approximately 100 head of registered polled Herefords, and MC has 70 years of selective breeding experience. The Jameses also farm and grow much of their own feed for the cattle and continue to offer bulls and replacement heifers for sale private treaty.

Donato Ramos

Donato Ramos was born in Laredo, Texas, and has lived there his entire life, with the exception of his years in high school and college. His involvement with cattle started at the very young age of 7, when he helped his grandfather and great aunts on their cattle operation.

Donato started his Hereford herd in 1964 after asking his family to buy him a registered polled Hereford bull for his high school graduation. His family bought a registered polled Hereford bull from longtime polled Hereford breeder E. E. Vogt, San Antonio, Texas. At the time, Donato had a few Brahman cows, and he started an F1 breeding program. He soon learned Brahman cattle did not have the best disposition and returned to Vogt to purchase three registered polled Hereford cows.

Over the years, Donato was very active with the Texas Polled Hereford Association, where he served as president and later was elected as a board member for the APHA. He is the longest-termed board member of both associations, serving from 1994 to 2001 and from 2000 to 2001 as vice chairman. Donato has consigned cattle to regional sales and has had four production sales in Laredo.

Gfeller Herefords

After making his first and only purchase of 18 Hereford heifers in 1957, Dick Gfeller has been raising horned Hereford cattle near Junction City, Kan., for 62 years and counting. No other females have been purchased, but the herd has grown to about 100 registered cows and 200 commercial cows. Dick’s son, Kenny, got his start in the business right out of high school in 1974 by purchasing all of Dick’s heifer calves and receiving a gift of 10 cows.

Now Kenny and his wife, Debby, own the majority of the cows. Kenny’s mother, Earlene, was an influential part of the operation until she passed in December 2015. The Gfellers operate a nearly closed herd, raising bulls in the registered herd to use in the commercial herd and only purchasing when an outcross is needed. They have a unique operation in that they are involved throughout every part of production. After the calves are weaned, they graze until they go to the family’s feedlot and then are harvested at National Beef in Dodge City, Kan.

Haught Brothers

Ira Haught has been raising Hereford cattle since his grandfather, Denver Goff, of A. Goff & Sons, gifted him and his brother, Barry, a cow in 1965. They registered their first Hereford calf in 1969, which officially established Haught Brothers, Harrisonville, W.Va. Ira worked more than 30 years off the farm practicing law and during the evenings and weekends spent time working on the operation. The Haught brothers strived to center their cow herd on easy-keeping, easy-calving and long-lasting females.

Currently, Ira is enjoying his retirement from law and spends most of his days on the farm. Ira’s son, Derek, manages the Haught Brothers’ herd along with his own operation, Five Star Polled Herefords. The two herds consist of 150 brood cows and both have been recognized as Gold TPR Breeders. Ira and Derek look forward to hosting production sales at the farm and continuing their family legacy.

Jackson Farms

In 1977, Theodore Jackson acquired his family’s 107.5-acre farm, in White House, Tenn., originally purchased in 1862 by his great grandfather, John Moss. Theodore and his wife, Margaret, and their son, Billy, began raising hay and registered Hereford cattle at the farm. Jackson Farms operates a progressive Hereford operation and the family strives to produce cattle with great disposition, great mothering ability and ones which do the best job of converting grass to beef.

Theodore and Billy are the current owners of the farm where four generations of family reside, including Billy’s son, Cory, and his two children. Billy and his wife, Trudy, have been married for 45 years and have been in the Hereford business for 60 years. They look forward to passing on the legacy of their operation to the next generation.

JBB Herefords

JBB Herefords began in 1967 when John Bryan bought three yearling Hereford heifers as an anniversary gift for his wife, Beverly. From there, they grew their registered Hereford herd to more than 100 head and have sold bulls and females across the country. In 1991, John and Beverly’s daughter, Dawn, and son-in-law, James Anderson, partnered in the ranch, which became JBB/AL Herefords. Beverly still registers cattle under JBB Herefords to signify where the genetics began.

John passed in 2013 and until the very end was very proud of the family’s work in the Hereford industry. He and Beverly are also proud their grandchildren, Bryan and Jae Anderson, are very involved in the ranch and have Hereford cattle of their own. John and Beverly appreciated the support and advice given to them along the way by other Hereford breeders and the AHA field staff.

JMAR Farms

Jack R. Meyer owns and operates JMAR Farm with his wife, Loreta, in Long Lane, Mo. In 1969 Jack joined the AHA. Over the years, Jack has served as president of the Wisconsin Hereford Association and the Jefferson County Beef Association and has been a 4-H beef leader for almost two decades and coached three of his four children with their beef projects.

As a result of half a century in the breed, Jack has met countless influential individuals who have become family. He is blessed to have crossed paths with so many great Hereford people and would like to thank those special friends for their help and support over the years.

Ollerich Brothers

Jerome and James Ollerich of Ollerich Bros. Herefords bought their first eight registered Hereford heifer calves in November 1969 from Bones Hereford Ranch for $1,210. Jerome and James showed Herefords through their local 4-H and junior Hereford association. In 1978, they moved the operation from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Clearfield, S.D.

Since then, they have raised Hereford bulls for commercial breeders and have sold all of their breeding cattle by private treaty sales. Over the years they have sold cattle to producers in 13 states and three foreign countries. Jerome has served as a member and president of the South Dakota Hereford Association board of directors. For the past two years, Ollerich Bros. has hosted the South Dakota Junior Hereford Association field day in Winner.

Ridenhour Herefords

Ridenhour Herefords was first established by Leonard Fred Ridenhour, who became a lifetime member of the AHA in 1961. Leonard passed the operation down to his son, Freddie, who operates the ranch today with his wife, Cheril.

Currently, the Ridenhour herd consists of approximately 75 head of registered polled Hereford females. Freddie’s love for the Hereford breed is apparent by his dedication to producing quality cattle that have acceptable birth weights, sound udders and good carcass merit for his customers. Leonard always said, “If you are going to run a cattle operation there are two things you must have…a good pair of fencing pliers and a Hereford bull.” Freddie feels these two necessities still hold true today.

River Bend Farms

C. Garnett Jones and his wife, Elinor, started their Hereford operation, River Bend Farms, in 1946 after receiving a horned Hereford bull and cow as a wedding present. River Bend Farms is located along the Flat Rock River near Waldron, Ind.

The Joneses’ children, Leslie and Carl, began showing in 4-H in the 1960s and 1970s. Leslie and her husband, William Doig, a lifetime Association member, passed their passion for raising Hereford cattle down to their son, Bill. Bill has been very active in state and national junior organizations over the years and served as a director for the National Junior Polled Hereford Council from 1998 to 2000. Bill and his wife have continued the tradition with their two daughters, Ava and Bremley, who love spending time checking cows with their grandmother.

Ron Beaver Herefords

While serving as a vocational agriculture teacher in Anamosa, Iowa, Ron Beaver decided he wanted to start raising Hereford cattle. He headed to the Stanley Vance Dispersal Sale in Traer, Iowa, and with the purchase of two registered cow-calf pairs, Ron established Ron Beaver Herefords in September 1965.

Ron Beaver Herefords has continued to cultivate its herd of Herefords by focusing on selecting sires to improve the herd and only retain high-quality heifers. Ron’s wife, Cheryl, and their four children have been an essential part of the operation’s success over the years. Ron and Cheryl are blessed with four wonderful grandchildren and hope they will continue with the family’s Herford legacy.

Wooden Shoe Farms

Wooden Shoe Farms, as it is known today, is owned and operated by Neal and Shelly Ward, Bradley and Britany Ward, and Steve and Alicia Billman. Wooden Shoe has roots dating back 75 years with two different cattle operations — one in Idaho and one in Washington. In college, Neal interned for the original Wooden Shoe Farms in Washington, which began 50 years ago when Jack Powell and Dick Frank purchased a tulip and daffodil farm and added cattle shortly after. In southeastern Idaho, Neal’s grandfather, Zeke Ward, operated LZ Ranch, which reached a point where it needed to be divided in 1976. At that point Zeke kept LZ Ranch, and Neal and his father, DeLoy, started Timber Creek Ranch.

In 1992, when Wooden Shoe Farms in Washington dispersed, Neal and DeLoy purchased the entire herd and moved it to Blackfoot, Idaho, merging it with Timber Creek Ranch. The operation now consists of registered Herefords and Angus with an extensive embryo transfer program. 2019 marks 75 years in the Hereford industry for the Ward family, which now has five generations that have been involved in raising Hereford cattle. The Ward family looks forward to continuing its legacy of raising quality stock.


The American Hereford Association (AHA), 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 www.hereford.org/media.

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