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H.H. “Hop” Dickenson

February 17, 2017

H.H. “Hop” Dickenson, Overland Park, Kan., was inducted into the Hereford Hall of Merit. Hop Dickenson spent a lifetime dedicated to serving the Hereford breed. He worked for the Hereford association in various roles for 38 years, 24 as chief executive officer.

Dickenson began working for the Association in the 1950s, first as fieldman and then as secretary for state Hereford associations in the Southeast. He spent two years overseas in military service, and when he returned, he worked as an Extension beef cattle specialist for Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

In 1960 he returned to Association work as field representative for the American Hereford Journal. He next served as an Association fieldman for the same territory and then switched to the Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri territory.

In 1968 he moved to the Association headquarters as general manager of the American Hereford Journal. Next, he assumed responsibilities as the Association’s director of marketing. Then, in July of 1974, he was appointed the chief executive officer, a position he would continue for 24 years.

No doubt the Association went through ups and downs during those nearly three decades, but Dickenson was correct when he wrote in his farewell column in the August 1997 issue of the Hereford World: “I am confident you are about to see a big burst of demand toward Herefords and I hate to miss out on this upswing.”

Gary Smith, retired Monfort Endowed Chair Professor from Colorado State University, says, “I’ll remember Hop most for his willingness to risk his personal career and a lifetime of breed association achievements for a chance to demonstrate a breed’s ability to carve out for itself a prosperous future – by providing a consistently palatable product to those who eat beef.”

Considered the father of Certified Hereford Beef (CHB®), Dickenson is regarded as a breed association trailblazer. He was also responsible for introducing the total performance recording (TPR) and expected progeny difference (EPD) systems and was a driving force in bringing the two populations of Hereford people and the cattle they raise together for the good of the industry.