A Green Ridge man has been recognized by a national association after dedicating his life to working in cattle and agriculture.
Jim Reed, of Green Ridge, was inducted into the Hereford Hall of Merit during the Hereford Honorees awards ceremony at American Hereford Association’s (AHA) Annual Membership Meeting and Conference Oct. 25 in Kansas City.
The Hall of Merit award recognizes those who have played a vital role in shaping both the Hereford breed and the beef industry.
“What we tried to do is identify people that over the years have committed themselves to giving to the Hereford breed,” American Hereford Association Executive Vice President Jack Ward told the Democrat. “Greatly what we talk about is really having an impact or an influence on the breed in different ways. In Jim’s case, he has been a tremendous promoter of Hereford cattle along with breeders as he works as a sales manager, a consultant, and markets genetics not only in the U.S but from a worldwide standpoint.”
Born and raised in Green Ridge, Jim Reed and his wife, Linda, began raising Hereford cattle in 1962. Reed Enterprises has been the operation’s genetic marketing arm by providing semen and AI certificates. The couple also operates Midwest Cattle Service and Reed Farms, according to an AHA press release.
Reed was “born and raised” in the business and still lives on the farm he grew up on in Green Ridge. He worked his first sale as a college student in 1963 for Harry and Hal Nichols and Reed was hooked ever since and worked as a ringman for several years.
“Going to sales with my father-in-law at a very young age I just thought it was an exciting business and liked the people and the involvement in everything,” Reed said. “You run into a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life…That’s one of the big things, all of the people that you know that you've done business with for many years. That’s always one of the really fun parts.”
Reed taught animal science and soil at State Fair Community College from 1971 to 1975 before forming Midwest Cattle Service with his wife, Linda, and friend Bill Maerli.
“I was on the road a lot (in sales) and Linda wanted me to get off the road so that’s how I started teaching at State Fair Community College,” Reed said. “In 1975 she was pregnant and we didn't have any money. We went from two incomes to one and I said I’m going back on the road and called this friend of mine and formed Midwest Cattle Service and went great guns for 10 years together.”
Maerli eventually left to pursue other interests but Jim and Linda continued to grow the business and have helped market millions of dollars worth of Hereford genetics. “Jim has worked with breeders to hold successful production and consignment sales, has organized small groups of breeders to host joint sales, and has screened cattle and has managed major sales throughout the country,” according to the release.
Reed also served as the Beef Superintendent for the Missouri State Fair in 1972, where he spent 17 years and now serves on the Missouri State Fair Foundation Board of Directors. One of his most memorable moments was President Ronald Reagan’s visit to the fair when the secret service took over the beef cattle office, according to the press release.
The passion for registered cattle has continued on through Reed’s sons and grandchildren. An especially exciting moment for Reed was seeing his granddaughter Macy Reed win the Champion Steer and Reserve Champion Steel awards at the Junior National Hereford Association Fed Steer Shootout Contest last year.
Being inducted into the Hereford Hall of Merit is a big honor, according to Vice President of the AHA Board of Directors Mark St. Pierre, especially because recipients are chosen by their peers.
“He’s recognized by his peers,” St. Pierre said. “The people that know what it takes to stay in this business long term and work in this business long term. It’s not easy...He just comes across as a friend, even when you don't know him. He is well known in the Hereford breed, Hereford industry.”
Reed said receiving the call from the AHA CEO telling him he was to be inducted into the Hall of Merit was “pretty awesome” and he enjoyed going to the ceremony.
“I made an acceptance speech and all of that kind of stuff. There was over, my goodness, like 600 people…” said Reed. “That was really neat. There were people there from one coast to the other. It was quite an event. It was really good and fun.”
Jim serves as a source for information and trends across the breed, and many seek his advice on sale cattle selection and production sale traditions, according to the AHA. He also serves as a consultant and wingman at sales nationwide while producing and promoting Hereford genetics.
“Jim is a true influencer of the breed,” Marty Luck, manager of Journagan Ranch of Missouri State University, said in the release. “Jim and Linda have supported our Hereford breed for a lifetime. They continue to be a catalyst for the Hereford breed and our breeders’ programs.”