Tom Shaw, Caldwell, Idaho, started in the Hereford business when he received his first registered heifer as a graduation gift in 1944. He joined the Navy but returned to the family farm in 1946 with his new wife, Mary, and they started their Hereford herd with that first female.
Performance testing has always been a big part of the Shaw program. Tom started the first performance bull test in the Northwest in 1969 in cooperation with the University of Idaho. He also helped start the Idaho beef improvement program. Since 1969 the Shaws have collected carcass data, and more recently ultrasound technology has also been utilized.
In 1988 Tom partially turned the business over to the next generation when the cow herd was split between Tom and his sons Greg and Tim.
Tom has also made it a priority to be involved in the breed leadership and represent Hereford breeders’ interests in the industry. He served from 1978 to 1985 on the American Hereford Association Board of Directors, with one term as president. He also served on the board of the former National Cattlemen’s Association, Beef Improvement Federation, Idaho Cattlemen’s Association, Idaho Beef Board, Idaho Hereford Breeders and the Eastern Oregon Hereford Breeders Association. Tom and Mary also support local 4-H clubs and are involved in church activities.
“The level of respect and acceptance of Tom Shaw as a cattleman and leader in our industry is phenomenal,” says Washington cattle broker and auctioneer C.D. “Butch” Booker. “In my mind, the most significant contribution Tom has made is how he has inspired sons and grandchildren to stay involved in the Hereford breed and be active as leaders in the cattle industry.”