A.J. Tarpoff, D.V.M., M.S.

Kansas State University, Associate Professor & Beef Extension Veterinarian

Dr. A.J. Tarpoff serves the beef industry from every aspect of production from pasture to plate. He attended Kansas State University earning his B.S. from the Animal Sciences and Industry department, followed by his D.V.M. and M.S. degrees from the College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation in 2012, he practiced feedlot production medicine in Alberta, Canada. He returned to the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University in 2016 and currently serves as an Associate Professor and the Beef Extension Veterinarian. He has a 70% extension, 20% research and 10% teaching appointment. He works closely with producers, practicing veterinarians, and members of the industry to bring relevant extension education that improves cattle health and productivity of the beef industry.

Abram Babcock, PHD

President of Adams Land & Cattle

Abram grew up on a farm in northeast Colorado and attended Colorado State University
majoring in Agricultural Business and Animal Science. He then went on to study at
Kansas State University and received a M.S. in Agricultural Economics. Following
graduation, Abram moved to Chicago and worked for Aon Re. doing risk analysis on
crop insurance portfolios. After a short stint in Chicago, Abram returned to Kansas
State and received his Ph.D. in Veterinary Epidemiology where he utilized historical
feedlot data to quantify the economic impacts of Bovine Respiratory Disease.

Abram joined the Research and Development team at Adams Land & Cattle in the
summer of 2010. He spent his first three years at Adams focused on R&D strategy and
execution. Abram was promoted to Vice President in the fall of 2013 and became
President in November 2017. In his role, he oversees all areas of the business,
including operations, risk management, quality assurance and regulatory compliance,
backgrounding, research & development, sales and marketing, and technical services.

Today, Abram serves on the advisory board for the University of Nebraska’s Center for
Agricultural Profitability, the Research and Development Board of MS Biotec,
First National Bank of Omaha’s New Stockyard Group looking for opportunities
to leverage Blockchain for Nebraska Agriculture and is part of the newly founded
Nebraska Ag Sustainability initiative committee, which focuses on livestock and crop
sustainability for the entire state.

Bob Smith DVM, MS, DABVP

Veterinary Research and Consulting Services, LLC

Keeping feedlot cattle healthy has been Dr. Bob Smith’s life’s work. He has been with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services since 2000, with an emphasis in feedlot and stocker health and management.


Dr. Bob was raised on a small livestock farm near Pittsburg, Kansas, and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from Kansas State University. Following graduation from K-State veterinary school, he completed a large animal medicine and surgery internship and clinical instructorship at Oklahoma State University (OSU) and was granted tenure in 1983. At OSU, he was a field services clinician for 15 years and did clinical research on stocker cattle diseases. He then worked in feedlot veterinarian with Palo Duro Veterinary Services in Canyon, Texas, before returning to OSU as the McCasland Chair in Beef Health and Production. He has served on numerous committees and task forces spanning food safety, cattle health, animal identification, animal welfare, foreign animal diseases antibiotic resistance and prudent use of antimicrobials.


He was commissioned as an Army Air Defense Artillery officer through the K-State Army ROTC program. He served two years on active duty, then 23 years as an active Army Reservist, before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He and his wife, Gerri, reside in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Bruce Cobb

Bruce Cobb

Certified Angus Beef, Vice President of Production

As executive vice president of production for Certified Angus Beef, Bruce Cobb focuses on ensuring long-term product supply. He leads strategies to provide education and communications for farmers and ranchers to raise high-quality Angus cattle sustainably, using best practices and responsible care. In overseeing the packing division, he and his team play a vital role in building relationships and understanding market dynamics within the packing sector.


Bruce graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in agricultural communications and Texas A&M University with a M.S. in agriculture. The Lone Star State native then gained experience with the U.S. Meat Export Federation, Daymon Worldwide and Consolidated Beef Producers, where he served as the CEO for 16 years, leading the largest cattle marketing cooperative.


In his spare time, Bruce has served as the Canyon ISD Board of Trustees president and the Texas FFA Foundation vice chairman. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Margie, which usually includes attending their children’s sporting events.

Chad Barker

Vice President of Cattle Procurement for National Beef Packing Company

Chad Barker works closely with a team of 30 Cattle Procurement colleagues to procure and schedule fed cattle for three beef processing plants located in Tama, IA, Liberal, KS, and Dodge City, KS. Chad attended Black Hawk College followed by Texas A&M University where he earned a B.S. in animal science with an animal industries option. Since graduating he has bought or sold fed cattle for 29 years and has been with National Beef for 18 years.

He is passionate about the beef industry, beef production and promotion of the world’s finest animal protein. Chad’s love for the beef industry is evident in his career and personal life, as he owns and operates C4 Barker Show Cattle with his wife, Christi, and two children, Collin and Cassidy, in Platte City, MO. As a family they proudly raise and promote Angus, Chianina, Maine Anjou, and Simmental cattle.

Dan Basse

AgResource Company, President

Dan Basse serves as president of AgResource Company, a domestic and international agricultural research firm located in Chicago. A commodity economist since 1979, Dan forecasts domestic and world agricultural price trends and provides information and research to farmers, elevators, soy and corn processors, wheat millers, food companies, trading companies, importers, exporters, and meatpackers. Raised on a dairy/grain farm in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Dan has a keen sense of production agriculture and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a master’s in agriculture economics. In 1988, Dan founded AgResource, a company to serve the market research needs of the world agricultural community, often holding global conferences in Canada, Switzerland, and Brazil.

Daniel Clark, Ph.D.

Certified Angus Beef, Meat Scientist

As a meat scientist for Certified Angus Beef (CAB), Dr. Daniel Clark engages and educates brand stakeholders about beef quality and meat science at The Culinary Center and meat labs across the country. He also focuses on beef innovation and supports meat quality research efforts on the production team. The Illinois native received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then journeyed to Wooster, Ohio, to complete his post-doctoral research at The Ohio State University. Before joining CAB, he worked at the Ohio State as an assistant professor, where he taught meat science classes, researched livestock production and meat quality, and developed a food-safety certificate program.


Daniel grew up in 4-H, FFA, and showing Angus cattle. His interests grew to include meat science after participating on the collegiate meat judging team. He enjoys teaching CAB stakeholders with his wife, who is also a meat scientist at CAB. When they’re not in the meat lab, they enjoy spending time together and with their daughters.

John Stika, Ph.D.

Certified Angus Beef, President

John Stika, Ph.D., leads the Certified Angus Beef team dedicated to consistently delivering the best beef experience possible. Through a vision focused on connecting people from pasture to plate, John and a passionate team work to grow demand for its branded beef and increase the value of registered Angus cattle, enhancing the lives and businesses of every segment in the beef industry—from farming and ranching families to the consumer. He obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal science and meat science, respectively, at Kansas State University, and then his Ph.D. in meat science from the University of Kentucky. For nearly 25 years with Certified Angus Beef, he first joined the team as assistant director of feeder-packer relations in 1999, and then director of supply development and packing. Moving on to vice president of business development, he led efforts to collaborate with domestic and international distributors, grocery stores and restaurants to grow their beef sales before becoming president in 2006.

Justin Gleghorn

Director of Cattle Risk Management and Customer Service, Cactus Feeders

Dr. Justin Gleghorn is Director of Cattle Risk Management and Customer Service at Cactus Feeders, which represents a one-time capacity of more than 500,000 head.

Justin grew up in Dimmitt, TX, and received a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University (Animal Science, 1997), a M.S. from Kansas State University (Animal Science, 2000), a M.S. from West Texas A&M (Finance & Economics, 2013), and a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University (Ruminant Nutrition, 2003).

He is a member of Texas Cattle Feeders Association’s board of directors and past president of Plains Nutrition Council. Justin previously worked as Risk Management Broker for Brock Thompson Trading, Technical Service Manager for VetLife, and Consulting Nutritionist for Nutrition Service Associates. Justin lives in Bushland, TX with his wife, Kara, and their two daughters, Hope and Amzi.

Kara Lee

Certified Angus Beef, Director of Producer Engagement

As the director of producer engagement for Certified Angus Beef, Kara Lee leads marketing and education initiatives for cattlemen to increase their brand acceptance rates to grow Certified Angus Beef ® brand supply. Kara works closely with seedstock producers initiating and auditing the Targeting the Brand™ logo use on registered Angus cattle and AngusLink™ feeder calf marketing resources. Most recently, she oversees the new Ranch to Table™ program, which allows approved Angus ranchers to market their freezer beef under the brand’s logo. Kara has spent many years of her CAB career teaching licensed distributors, chefs and retail partners about cattle care and what it takes to raise high-quality beef through on-farm and feedyard experiences.

Kirsten Nickles, Ph.D.

Certified Angus Beef, Sustainability and Animal Care Scientist

Growing up in the agricultural industry, Kirsten Nickles, Ph.D., knew she’d one day find a way to make it even better. Today, as Certified Angus Beef’s sustainability and animal care scientist, that’s exactly what she’s doing. Kirsten leads the brand’s sustainability initiatives and serves as a technical expert, encouraging Angus producers and the brand to confront industry-wide challenges and find ways to positively affect the future of beef production. She assists in validating the supply chain’s commitment to cattle care, measuring environmental impact, and sharing ranchers’ dedication to taking care of their cattle and land.


Kirsten grew up on her family’s Ohio farm, where they raise cattle and grow row crops. She took that passion to Capital University for pre-vet studies, and then obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in animal sciences at The Ohio State University. She joined Certified Angus Beef in 2022 right after successfully defending her dissertation. You can find her on the family farm just about every weekend helping her dad with the cattle or traveling the country showing quarter horses with her mom.

Mark McCully

Chief Executive Officer, American Angus Association

As Chief Executive Officer of the American Angus Association®, McCully leads the nation’s largest beef breed registry with 25,000 members. Mark was appointed CEO in June of 2019 and directs the organization’s efforts to advance the Angus breed and increase the production of consistent, high-quality beef through efforts of the Association and its four wholly-owned subsidiaries – Angus Genetics Inc., Angus Media, Angus Foundation and Certified Angus Beef.

Previously, Mark was vice president of production at Certified Angus Beef and was responsible for the brand’s supply chain efforts. He led strategies incorporating the seedstock, cow-calf, feeding and packing sectors to raise and process high quality Angus cattle with the brand’s unrivaled quality standards.
Mark joined the company in 2000 as director of packing. In June 2002, he helped develop and them coordinate a regional sales team to serve retail, foodservice and international business partners.

In March 2005, he transitioned to supply development and production. Before these endeavors, Mark worked for Southern States Cooperative in Virginia. He earned an associate’s degree from Lake Land College, a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Western Illinois University and followed with a master’s program in ruminant nutrition at Michigan State University where he also coached the collegiate livestock judging team.

Paul Dykstra

Paul Dykstra

Certified Angus Beef, Director of Supply Management and Analysis

As the director of supply management and analysis, Paul Dykstra works with cattlemen to help garner a growing supply of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. He shares information and builds relationships with cattle feeders, commercial cow-calf producers and registered breeders, pointing to ways to profitably manage and market high-quality cattle. Before coming to the brand, Paul was the feedlot manager for the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. During his 20-year tenure at CAB, he has audited ranches and feedyards pursuing the brand’s Natural product extension. He’s the brand’s resident expert on beef market and grading trends, which he reports in the bi-weekly CAB Insider. Paul and his wife live in Chappell, Nebraska, where he manages his own cow herd.

Pete Anderson, Ph.D.

Midwest PMS, Director of Research

Pete Anderson is the director of research for Midwest PMS. He directs research, provides technical support to nutritionists and clients, and directs the company’s performance records analysis program. He also has quality assurance, feed safety, and regulatory responsibility for its production facilities. By leading the company’s initiative in business and operations consulting, Pete provides strategic planning, succession planning, and management and leadership education to clients. He applies scientific principles to solve business problems, based on 25 years of experience as a senior business executive. Pete received a B.S. degree in Animal Sciences and Industry from Kansas State University in 1983 and a M.S. (1987) and Ph.D. (1989) from Michigan State University.


Pete has never made a hole in one, but he has climbed several fourteeners and has his own barbecue website. Pete and his wife, Denise reside in Loveland, Colorado, and have three adult children.

Randall Spare, DVM

Ashland Veterinary Service

Dr. Randall Spare has practiced in Clark County, Ashland, for more than 34 years. A graduate of Kansas University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Spare and four veterinarians at Ashland Veterinary Center provide large and small animal care to a diverse customer base in a four-state radius centered in southwest Kansas. Ashland Veterinary Center provides reproductive services, including synchronization, artificial insemination, genomic testing and semen sales on several thousand head of registered and commercial cattle each year. Dr. Spare and his vet team manage the herd health for some of the largest registered Angus seedstock producers in the U.S. as well as providing comprehensive services to commercial cow-calf producers and feedyards. He is also a commercial cow-calf producer, cattle feeder and is involved in an extensive heifer development program.


The bottom line to having “skin in the game” in today’s beef marketing environment is understanding what costs money or provides a chance to make a profit. Dr. Spare’s focus on whole herd health, nutrition and genomic information is a result of collaborative relationships with his clients and his own commitment to understanding the many opportunities to add value to beef cattle.

Tom Fanning

Buffalo Feeders, General Manager

Tom Fanning has been the manager of Buffalo Feeders in Buffalo, Oklahoma, for 22 years and has recently assumed the role of general manager for the Pratt Feeders Group. This group comprises Buffalo Feeders and three Kansas feedyards: Ashland Feeders, Ford Feeders, and Pratt Feeders. Tom earned his B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1987 and served as an Infantry Captain in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1992. He completed his M.S. in Management at Troy State University in 1992. From 1992 to 2001, Tom was employed by Cargill, where he managed cattle feeding operations across the Texas Panhandle.


Throughout his career, Tom held various leadership positions in cattlemen’s organizations at local, state, and national levels, including serving as Chairman of the Oklahoma Beef Council. Under his leadership, Buffalo Feeders has garnered numerous accolades, including the 2009 Certified Angus Beef Feedyard of the Year, the 2019 NCBA BQA Feedyard of the Year, and the 2023 Texas Cattle Feeders Association Feedyard Excellence in BQA.

Troy Marshall

American Angus Association, Director of Commercial Industry Relations

Troy Marshall currently serves as the director of commercial industry relations for the American Angus Association® where he commits his daily efforts to creating opportunities for commercial cattle producers. Prior to his career with the Association, Troy has served the American Maine-Anjou Association, North American Limousin Foundation, and CattleFax as a market analyst. Marshall has a bachelor’s degree in equine and animal sciences from Colorado State University.