Meet the ICON Board and Regional Directors
to Board and Directors Map HERE
J. Wright, President - Neligh, Nebraska|
Occupation: Ranches in
Ewing; owns JD Printing & Publishing in Neligh.
is a fourth-generation rancher and his day-to-day operation includes a cow-calf
operation with just enough grass to feed the cows and enough cows to eat the grass.
He is proud his grandfather was a cattle-trader. Along with his son Isaac,the
ranch hand, he backgrounds the calves to 600-700 lbs. Wright also sells hay.
does ranching mean to Wright: " I love putting up hay; I like the baby
calves in the spring and enjoy weaning them. There isnt anything about ranching
I dont like. Im a fourth generation rancher and my son Isaac is the
fifth. I have a huge burden to those before me and my successors coming up to
keep this business alive and well. If I dont stand up for the independent
rancher, who will? No one."
Family: Wife Joan operates the printing
business with Dave and is also a Registered Nurse. She is the process of completing
her certification to be an EMT teacher. Son Isaac has a degree from Southeast
Technical College in Diesel Mechanics and works for an uncle as a diesel mechanic
as well as helping in the ranching operation where he gets paid in beef. Daughter
Katie just finished her first year at Dakota Wesleyan. Youngest daughter Hannah
will be a sophomore next year at Neligh-Oakdale High School.
thoughts on ICON: "I have been a part of many cattle organizations and
in all of them, cow-calf operations are at the bottom of the totem pole. ICON
is for the cow-calf producer and only the cow-calf producer; not huge feedlots
and packing companies."
Abbott , Past President - Gordon, NE |
in Cherry County, co-manages Abbott Cattle Company with brother Mike.
Commercial cow-calf operation; spring calving; weaned in October and calves are
back-grounded for a short period; sold after first of year. The family operation
hays about 5,000 round bales yearly and uses all in their cattle feeding. He is
a fifth generation Nebraska rancher and continues the family ranching tradition
his great-great grandfather Arthur began in the late 1890's.
ranching mean to Abbott: "Ranching means everything to me. I am a fifth
generation rancher and its important to me to pass it on to the next generation
just as it was passed on to me. Its in my blood."
Wife Kim is a constant helpmate on the ranch to Abbott and a full-time grandmother
for the sixth generation of Abbotts: three granddaughters, ages 9 mos. to 2 years
old. Abbotts children are A.J. who is a corporate pilot, owns his own cows,
is a shareholder in Abbot Cattle Co., and sometimes works on the ranch when not
flying; Alicia, Carver, and families are both shareholders as well; Alicias
husband is employed with a neighbor and Carver is employed with Abbot Cattle Co.
Abbotts thoughts on ICON: "Everyone asked us why we
started ICON. Why did we need another organization? All the existing beef organizations
catered to the large entities. I believe we need an organization which represents
the independent producer and thats what ICON does."
Meyer, Secretary, Region 4 Director- |
Occupation: Student, working toward second degree
in Ag Education at UNL. Meyer graduated from South Dakota State University in
May of 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Agriculture and previously
earned an AAS degree in Animal Science from Nebraska Technical College in Curtis,
Operation: Family-owned commercial cow-calf herd; sells weaning
weight steers and keeps heifers for replacement. Meyer lives on family farm which
has been in the family since 1914. She is a fourth generation to live on their
farm and a fifth generation American. The family also contract feeds swine for
one of largest swine producers in Nebraska. They also row crop corn, soybeans
What does ranching mean to Meyer: "Farming is
a way of life for me--- the only way I want to live. I plan on staying involved
in the family farm and one day hope to make people realize how important farmers
and ranchers are."
Family: Meyer has a daughter, Hallie. Meyer
currently lives in Lincoln while attending school but frequently returns home
to the farm where her parents and a brother and family reside. All farm work is
completed by family, siblings, and interaction in the neighborhood. Hired help
is rarely contracted.
Meyer's thoughts on ICON: "ICON to me
is the future and potential of the cattle business in Nebraska. ICON will do---and
is doing right now---what needs to be done to keep farmers and ranchers successful.
We need to continue to support the important issues for a better tomorrow."
Davis, Treasurer - Hyannis, NE
Occupation: Nebraska State Senator, District 43
What does Ranching Mean to Davis: " My family
homesteaded our ranch in l888 and have been Nebraskans since
shortly after statehood. As such, I have a love for rural
Nebraska and especially appreciate the incredible beauty
of the Sandhills. Over the course of my life I've seen tremendous
changes in my community - much of it not to my liking. Many
of our neighbors have sold out and are gone and that hurts
the towns and villages which we depend on for groceries,
supplies, and socialization. The cattle "industry"
builds its entire image around the cow-calf operator, yet
that segment of the business is most threatened by current
industry trends. If you love the lifestyle then you need
to get out there and work to protect and promote it."
Family: My wife, Dot, and I were married in l992.
We have a large, wonderful extended family on both sides
which gives us lots of love and satisfaction.
Davis's thoughts on Icon: "When we established
ICON in 2005, it was because we did not feel that any organization
in the state represented the cow-calf segment of the cattle
industry. That hasn't changed as time moved on---witness
the recent resolution by the Nebraska Cattlemen to abolish
the brand inspection program as one example of the disconnect
which exists within the different segments of the cattle
industry. ICON has had a number of very significant successes
in it's short life - due to the hard work of the volunteer
directors who have put in hours and hours working to protect
and promote the ranching industry. I am extremely proud
of the accomplishments which we have achieved since the
inception of ICON. Now what we need is more of you to step
up and get actively involved in your organization. The directors
need help on a number of fronts to build the organization.
We need folks who will testify for us on Legislative bills,
people who will help build membership, and folks who will
sit on committees and put in the time necessary to ensure
the success of the organization. We all owe a great debt
to our forefathers for building the life that we have in
the United States - and on the ranches where we live and
work. I feel that you owe it to your family and to your
community to try and make the industry more cow-calf friendly.
I'm making a pitch for some volunteers to step up and get
involved-you'll be extremely surprised at how satisfying
this work can be.
Gray, Region 1 Director - Harrison, NE
and breeder in Harrison
Operation: Registered Angus Breeder
does Ranching Mean to Gray: "I have been involved in ranching/farming
all my life. As a fifth generation rancher, I feel strongly about handing off
the operation to the next generation. We have to find a way to get it done and
I see getting involved politically as about the best way to to that."
Family: Rod and wife Laura have five children: four
sons - Levi, Colt, Heath, Garrett,and a daughter Naomi,
who is married to Jeff Pelster. They are proud to be passing
the ranching operation over to their children. Two sons
are active in the day-to-day ranching chores, one son is
a pilot, one son is in high school, and their daughter and
husband are just now making the move back to dad's ranching
thoughts on Icon: "ICON to me is a grassroots sustainable organization
and I have found it to be the only one in Nebraska. I like that. I think we need
to take a stand to get things done today and get involved. People need to make
a difference. It's easy to stay at home and do the work but everyone needs to
keep our business and our farming industry alive. The Ag industry has dropped
the ball really badly. We need to stand up and voice our opinions because we have
a lot of ground to cover to catch up."
Ramm, Region 2 Director - Valentine, NE
Occupation: Rancher south of Valentine, NE
Operation: Commercial Angus cow-calf operation and back-grounding
calves. Family has raised Angus cattle over 60 years
What does ranching mean to Ramm: Ranching is a passion
for me-you try to raise quality, functional and feasible
cattle and still be able to financially survive.
Family: Tom & wife Deb have 4 children and a
15 month old granddaughter. Cassie is a registered nurse
& manages UNC cardiology trials group, she & husband
Jeff Peters live in Cary, NC; Shelby works for the ranch
and also uses his WyoTech mechanics degree in his own mechanic
shop here on the ranch; Crystal is in graduate school @
UNL working on her Ph.D. in Entomology, she and daughter
Tenley live in Lincoln, NE; Peyton is also working for the
ranch after graduating from UNL with degrees in Animal Science
& Grazing Livestock Systems. Deb takes care of all the
ranch office work, helps outside when needed & works
@ L&B Johnson PC, full time during tax season &
part time the rest of the year.
Ramm's thoughts on ICON: ICON is the closest organization
in the state to the old Nebraska Stockgrower's. It is standing
up to the issues and challenges that are facing cow-calf
people in Nebraska. Every vote counts so get involved!
Paddock, Region 3 Director - Ainsworth, NE
Occupation: Rancher in Ainsworth
Operation: "I am a semi-retired rancher. My
family's ranch was recently leased to my son which makes
it a fourth generation ranch. When my grandfather passed
away, one-half of the ranch went to my grandmother and one-half
went to the grandchildren - that would be my two sisters
and myself. Our parents purchased my grandmother's share
for we three grandchildren and today I manage the total
operation for myself and my sisters who live in Kansas City.
I make all the day-to-day decisions for the operation but
over the years I myself also purchased a limited amount
of farm ground with three pivots. We run a cow-calf operation
and have turned the farm ground back to grass and use it
for calving in the spring. It has proved to be more profitable
for us in that capacity."
What does Ranching Mean to Paddock: Ranching is
an independent lifestyle; you are on own, your own boss;
and you need to be a self-starter, often working alone.
We have a good community and good neighbors here and we
share help whenever needed. We may travel 40 miles to help
with branding and think nothing of it. Our rural lifestyle
is one of cooperation and good relationships, enjoying the
fruits of our labors.
Family: My wife Rita is a teacher who works as a
substitute now. We have two children: Andrew, who is taking
over the ranch now and married to wife Christy with two
children, a boy and a girl; our daughter Amy lives in Independence,
MO, is a stay-at-home mom with one daughter and husband
Robert works in a bank.
Paddock's thoughts on Icon: "My thoughts on
ICON: I believe ICON does a good job representing the cow-calf
sector, trying to promote good legislation which will benefit
the family ranch. In my mind ICON keeps on top of many issues
for the independent cow-calf producers in Nebraska. I see
the founders of ICON as hard-working individuals who devoted
much time and energy organizing ICON and keeping it a vital
rural voice across the state and in the Unicameral."
Robert & Valorie Jackson, Region 5 Directors - Maxwell,NE
Ryan, Marketing and Commerce - Berwyn, NE
Occupation: Rancher and Portable Sawmill Business
Family: Mike and wife Rashelle live and ranch
in the Ansley area. They enjoy spending time with their
11 children and 4 grandsons. Rashelle is employed part-time
as the Director of Religious Education at St. Joseph Church
in Broken Bow and enjoys raising chickens and gardening.
Oldest daughter Erin and her husband Tim Hayes live in
Omaha and have two sons, William, 3 and Edmond, 1½
and are expecting another baby. Megan lives in North Platte
and is employed at the Gerald Gentleman Power Plant near
Sutherland. Jessie is a Registered Nurse and lives near
Phillipsburg, KS with husband Jacob Dougherty and sons
Hunter age 10 and Colton age 8. Oldest son James also
lives near Phillipsburg and works on a ranch there. Twin
sons Logan and Blaine live in Ansley and ranch with Mike.
Logan works for a nearby rancher and Blaine works for
VC Howard Hay Co. Kathleen is in her 2nd year of the Pre-Dental
program at UNK. Son, Riley is active in sports and FFA
as a senior at Ansley high school. He plans to attend
Northeast Community College next fall in the Utility Lineman
program. Daughters Falan 13, Brianna 11 and Kerry 7 attend
Ansley public school and enjoy sports, 4-H activities
and helping their family on the ranch.
Ryans thoughts on ICON: "I looked at
several cattle organizations around the state. ICON was
the only one that I felt represented the cow-calf producer.
Cow-calf operations are the foundation of the United States
cattle industry. ICON is working to keep this segment
of the industry strong."
Jim Hanna - Brownlee,
Jim was a founding member of ICON and served on our Board of Directors
until his death in 2008. LINK