Cow/calf producer Weldon Wynn from Star City, Ark., was elected by fellow Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) members to serve as CBB chairman in 2013. The vote came today during the 2013 Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Weldon’s attitude of commitment goes all the way back to grade school where he was the only student to boast a perfect attendance record and never record a “tardy” for Kindergarten through 6th Grade. And he still has the certificate to prove it.
Learning commitment at an early age has followed him through the years, where he now he says if you take on a job like this (referring to chairman of the Beef Board), “You ought to do the very best you can so when you pass it on, folks know that if you have this (commitment) at heart, you are going to take care of their business.”
Weldon grew up and spent his entire life in Star City, graduated from high school and attended A&M College in Monticello, Ark., with a degree in education and business.
Weldon was the middle of five children; his dad, a carpenter and row crop farmer; mother in later years worked in a garment factory. “We grew up learning how to work, but in our community, you had to make an opportunity for yourself,” Weldon says. “I wanted to farm and ranch and the only way to do that was to go into business for myself because we didn’t have a lot of land that would be handed down to us.”
He taught school for a few years then went on to start an insurance business in 1972 in partnership with his high school sweetheart and wife, Carolyn, and in 1968, bought his first cattle. He now raises registered Beefmaster and Angus cattle and continues to expand his operation.
“I think we need to give back to the communities that we live in. When I was first appointed to the Beef Board and found out exactly what it did, I realized that $1 investment did more collectively than I could ever do by myself,” explains Weldon. “This organization has been tremendous in the past and will be again this year.”
Weldon explains there are challenges and opportunities facing the beef checkoff in the coming year:
“One of my main goals during my chairmanship is that we work together. We work as an industry because we have to get our story out there about the health benefits of beef, and we have to reach those mealtime decision makers – those moms out there who have questions about how beef is raised and if it’s good for their family or not.
“Consumers know they need protein in their diet; we just don’t want them to feel like they have to ‘trade down’ because of beef prices. The nutritional impact of beef should be reason enough for them to still eat the beef they love and feel good about feeding it to their families. We have to find a way to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace with prices where they are, and the power of protein is the way to do that.”
Immediately prior to his election as chairman, an announcement was made about a new agreement that will expand access for U.S. beef to Japan. The change, which took effect Feb. 1, allows the United States to export beef from animals under 30 months of age to Japan with the exception of ground beef.
Weldon says this is a positive step for U.S. producers because Japanese consumers prefer U.S. beef, and they eat cuts we don’t consume domestically. It is estimated that the expanded access to Japan should equate to an additional $20 per head in value to U.S. producers.
“These are the types of things our checkoff is involved in through our contractors,” Weldon says. “I have complete confidence in our checkoff program and our contractors and the things it helps us as individual cattle producers do. It’s going to be a good year.”
Weldon and Carolyn have two children, Kellie Renee and Brannon, and four grandchildren. He has been an active member of his community and industry, including service on the board of directors of the Pine Bluff National Bank of Star City; former emcee and judge of the National Beef Cook-Off; National Beef Ambassador judge; past president and active member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association; member of the University of Arkansas Animal Science 2000 Advisory Council; past president, treasurer, and fair manager of the Lincoln County Fair; current vice-chair of USFRA, among many others.
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