June 2013
Farm & Field

Alabama BCIF/BCIA Announce Award Winners

The Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Foundation recently awarded a graduate fellowship and two undergraduate scholarships to three outstanding young people at the Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association Annual Meeting and Awards Program held in conjunction with the 70th Annual Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Convention in Birmingham March 23, 2013.

The Alabama BCIF awarded a graduate fellowship to Staci DeGeer, center, of Erie, Kan., a doctoral student at Auburn University. Issac Jones of Centre and Sterling Etheredge of Selma, undergraduate Auburn Animal Science students, were honored and received the 2013 Alabama BCIF Graduate Fellowship and Undergraduate Scholarships.


BCIF Awards

The Alabama BCIF was excited to offer undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in land-grant universities within colleges of agriculture. Alabama BCIF issued the call for interested undergraduate and graduate students to submit an application and supply an official transcript to apply for the offered undergraduate scholarship and graduate fellowship.

The 2013 Alabama BCIF Graduate Fellowship was awarded to Staci DeGeer, a doctoral student in meat science and food safety within the Auburn University Animal Sciences Department, under the direction of Dr. Christy L. Bratcher. A native of Erie, Kan., DeGeer holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Kansas State University in food science and industry. DeGeer’s goals after completion of her doctoral degree are to help shape the future by educating future meat scientists and food safety experts as a college professor and to continue to lead research in food safety to improve our food supply.

Two 2013 Alabama BCIF Undergraduate Scholarships were awarded to Issac Jones and Sterling Etheredge. Jones is an undergraduate student within the Auburn Animal Sciences Department seeking a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Medicine. He is a native of Centre. After completing his degree, he plans to obtain a doctorate of veterinary medicine. Etheredge is an undergraduate student within the Auburn Animal Sciences Department seeking a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She is a native of Selma. Her career goals are to own and operate a cow-calf operation and possibly a livestock market. She is active in agricultural leadership, policy and animal welfare, and strives to be a positive voice in the ever-changing agricultural industry.


Jerald Thompson, left, regional Extension agent, presented the 2012 Outstanding Extension Educator Award to Dr. Darrell Rankins Jr. of Auburn University.

2012 OutstandingExtension Educator

The Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association honored Dr. Darrell Rankins Jr. as the 2012 Outstanding Extension Educator during their Annual Meeting and Awards Program held in conjunction with the Convention.

Alabama BCIA honored Rankins with this award for his support and implementation of beef cattle performance programs in Alabama. Rankins serves as a Professor of Ruminant Nutrition and Extension Specialist within the Auburn University Animal Sciences Department.

An Illinois native, Rankins earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois and a Master of Science and a Doctorate from New Mexico State University. He began serving the livestock producers in Alabama and the Auburn University Animal Sciences Department in 1989, so he has loaned his knowledge and his frank enthusiasm to livestock producers and Auburn students for 24 years. For the past 20 years, his primary focus area has been to evaluate various by-product feeds for use in Southeastern beef cattle production systems. Currently, efforts have been focused on constructing new cattle backgrounding facilities and implementing new studies at the Auburn University E. V. Smith Research Center. The majority of his research program involves the evaluation of by-product feeds with special emphasis on broiler litter. Currently, research projects are ongoing at the Auburn University Sand Mountain, Wiregrass and Black Belt Research and Extension Centers, and at the E.V. Smith Research Center-Beef Unit. The central theme of his Extension programming is to provide nutritional information to beef cattle producers. Ongoing educational activities include Master Cattleman’s Program, the Alabama Grazing School, the Stocker Cattle Conference and Advanced Beef Cattle Nutrition.

The Spirit of BCIA Award was presented to honor Oneil Smith of Uriah in Monroe County.


Spirit of BCIAAward Recipient

The Spirit of BCIA Award honors the memory of Jamie Cates of Columbiana, past BCIA vice-president, and Jamey Clary of Akron, former Alabama Cooperative Extension agent and BCIA member, and the spirit in which they both actively supported Alabama BCIA. This award recognizes and honors an Alabama BCIA member or members who exemplify the commitment to BCIA performance principles within their own cattle operation and who have also sought to promote the BCIA program to their fellow cattle producers. This spirit of leading by example and the drive to cheerfully help others represents how Cates and Clary both served Alabama BCIA and their fellow cattlemen. Oneil Smith of Uriah in Monroe County was honored with the 2012 Spirit of BCIA Award.

Smith has been involved in the cattle industry since he first showed club calves in 1948 and his steer won grand champion in Monroe County. He became a member of Alabama BCIA in 1970 as a Hereford producer, maintaining his records with BCIA and then the American Hereford Association. After transitioning to commercial production, he began processing records with BCIA in 1991 and is still an active herd today. He has earned numerous BCIA Top Weaning Weight Awards and Gold Star Cow Awards. Smith was also honored by Alabama BCIA as Commercial Producer of the Year in 1996. He has served as a leader on the BCIA Board of Directors as a commercial representative, an officer and as president in 2002. He has actively supported and recruited his fellow cattle producers to maintain cattle records and to take advantage of BCIA opportunities. Through these efforts, he served as a prominent leader of the Southwest Alabama BCIA Heifer Sale.

Smith has held numerous leadership positions in the Monroe County Cattlemen’s Association and is an Honorary Lifetime Director of ACA. He has also served in leadership roles in the Monroe County Farmers’ Federation and the Alabama Farmers’ Federation. He encouraged many young cattlemen through the years with his support and leadership as chairman of the Monroe County 4-H livestock show and through his guidance of leading by example.


The Alabama BCIA honored Harrell Watts Jr. as the 2012 Alabama BCIA Richard Deese Award recipient.

2012 Richard DeeseAward Recipient

The Alabama BCIA honored Harrell Watts Jr. as the 2012 Richard Deese Award recipient.

The Richard Deese Award was established in 1986 to honor Deese, an Extension animal scientist in charge of the BCIA program in the 1970s and early 1980s. The award is presented to individuals who uphold the principles of performance testing and genetic improvement of beef cattle in Alabama. Since 1986, cattle producers, Extension workers and beef industry supporters have received the award.

Watts is a multi-generational farmer and cattle rancher from Sardis in Dallas County. The Watts farm is a family enterprise active in both seedstock and commercial cattle production. He is a pioneer of Simmental genetics and became a member of Alabama BCIA in 1971, serving multiple terms as a director of BCIA. He began participating in Alabama BCIA bull evaluations early in the 1970s, and his seedstock cattle operation, Simmentals of Alabama, has earned many top bull awards both at the Auburn University Bull Test and the West Central Grazing Test. In 1992, Simmentals of Alabama was honored as BCIA Purebred Producer of the Year.

Watts also began processing commercial cattle records with Alabama BCIA in 1993 and remains an active herd today. The commercial cow herd has been honored with earning numerous Alabama BCIA Top Weaning Weight and BCIA Gold Star Cow awards over the years and was again honored in 2012. He holds one of the earliest membership numbers in the American Simmental Association, and began a term as a Trustee on the ASA Board of Directors in 1994. He served as chairman of the Trustees from 1999-2000. During this time, he also served as chairman of the ASA Growth and Development Committee for 4 years. In 2011, he was awarded with the American Simmental Association’s prestigious Golden Book Award, an award recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development of the Simmental breed in the US and throughout the world. Watts is active in both the Dallas County Cattlemen’s Association and the Dallas County Farmers’ Federation, having held many leadership positions.

The Alabama BCIA honored Rosen’s XL Farm, Gordon and Ann Rosen of Tuscaloosa, as the Alabama BCIA Commercial Producer of the Year.


2012 Commercial Producerof the Year

Rosen’s XL Farm of Tuscaloosa, owned by Gordon and Ann Rosen and managed by Miguel Ruiz, was honored as the Alabama BCIA 2012 Commercial Producer of the Year. Gordon Rosen graduated from high school in Fort Sumner, N.M., and, while in Fort Sumner, a friend’s father was manager of the XL Ranch. While on the XL Ranch in the 1930s, a love of ranching and cattle handling was instilled in Rosen. He adopted the XL brand, which he uses today, for his own cattle operation in Tuscaloosa.

Rosen began raising cattle in a modest way in 1968 and acquired more cattle after expanding his acreage by acquiring larger farms. He joined the Alabama BCIA in the late 1990s. The BCIA program provided the basics for recordkeeping and the knowledge to improve the performance and productivity of his cowherd. XL Farm consists of 90 Simmental and Angus-cross cows grazing 340 acres of pasture consisting of Bermuda, bahia and tall fescue grasses and seasonal grazing with planted ryegrass, crimson clover and annual crabgrass. Throughout the year, limit, rotational and strip grazing, and also stockpiling are all utilized to maximize forage resources.

A fall calving season, to capture market advantage for feeder cattle, begins in late September and goes through early December. In the fall of 2012, 82 percent of the cows calved in the first 30 days. Artificial insemination has allowed this higher percentage of the calf crop to be born early in the calving season. This herd’s success was achieved through careful selection of both culling and replacements, extensive use of AI, utilization of a forage-based program and, of course, meticulous recordkeeping. Rosen’s XL Farm has been honored by Alabama BCIA with earning numerous BCIA Gold Star Cow Awards. Rosen’s XL Farm will also be nominated by the Alabama BCIA for the National Beef Improvement Federation’s 2013 Outstanding Commercial Producer of the Year Award.

For more information, please contact Michelle Elmore, Alabama BCIF Extension Animal Scientist/Beef Cattle Improvement, at 205-646-0115 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Alabama BCIA is a non-profit organization seeking to promote, educate and facilitate the use of performance data, record keeping and marketing opportunities to improve the Alabama cattle industry. Formed in 1964, BCIA currently cooperates with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System of Auburn University under a formal agreement.

The Alabama BCIF is a non-profit foundation established in 2007. Its mission is to educate and facilitate the utilization of performance principles for the cattle industry. It provides a vehicle for individuals to make tax deductible contributions to support beef cattle performance educational programs, research, and activities.