Newest CFHOF Members Among Industry’s Greatest Innovators

By Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor

The cattle feeding industry was built by innovators who were willing to take risk after risk. The 2024 Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame (CFHOF) inductees fit right in with those visionaries. They’ve earned their place at the table with visionaries like Paul Engler, Kenneth Monfort, W.D. Farr, Earl Brookover and the 24 others who have been enshrined since the hall was established in 2009.

The new inductees were the late Jack Reeve, DVM, of Reeve Cattle Co., Garden City, Kan., and Kee Jim, DVM, of G.K. Kim Farms and Feedlot Health Management Services in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada. They were honored at the CFHOF dinner and award ceremony in February during the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Orlando.

Jim and the Reeve family received ovation after ovation as they addressed about 500 friends, family and industry supporters. Joining them in the CFHOF was Delbert “Del” Miles, DVM, of Veterinary Research & Consulting Services in Greeley, Colo., who received the CFHOF Industry Leadership Award. Greg Wolfe, who since the early 1970s has been an employee of Timmerman & Sons cattle feeding in Indianola, Neb., was presented the Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Jack Reeve

The late Dr. Jack Reeve, 2024 CFHOF inductee, was honored by Dee Likes, left, and Reeve’s family members.

As a fifth-generation cattleman, M.P. “Jack” Reeve’s creativity helped pioneer the southwest Kansas center pivot irrigation practices. His innovation also led to the development of an alcohol plant that still yields stillage byproducts for consumption by cattle at the Reeve Cattle Co. feedyard in Garden City.

“He was like a saloon gambler – either all in or all out,” noted Dee Likes, Kansas Livestock Association chief executive emeritus, who joined the Reeve family in honoring the late industry leader.

Reeve’s ancestors started ranching in the area in 1882 and ran a registered Angus cow herd. He was raised there and attended Kansas State University, where he earned his degree in veterinary medicine. He served in the U.S. Army before starting his veterinary practice in Garden City. Reeve took over the family operation in the 1950s. He began converting ranchland to irrigated crop production and established the feedyard. Crops provided feed for the feedyard that eventually grew to a 46,000-head capacity.

Likes spoke about Reeve’s forward thinking. “He built the alcohol plant at the feedyard, fed the stillage, sold the alcohol and started growing tilapia fish [from treated water],” Likes said. “That was in 1982 before anyone knew what ethanol was. He was a really innovative person, a real character.”

Lee Reeve, Jack’s son, began running the operation a few decades ago. He remembered his father’s passion for feeding cattle and the value he placed on the company’s employees. “He always believed that our employees worked for him his whole life,” he said. “He offered full-ride scholarships to their children. He has been gone 15 years; my father and many others [early cattle feeders] structured this business to what it is today.”

Dr. Kee Jim

Dr. Kee Jim, left, 2024 CFHOF inductee.

While he has taken countless chances in developing a cattle feeding company and feedlot health management services, Kee Jim, DVM, apparently has never lost his sense of humor. During his acceptance speech, he uttered numerous incidents in which his partners, financiers and others ribbed him as he pushed the envelope in making cattle deals in the heart of a wreck.

“Fortunately, Canadian banks weren’t that clever at that time,” he quipped. “[Thankfully] the market improved by the end of the year and all was good.” He said one bank even told him, “Working with you should come with a prescription for Valium and Prozac.”

Jim grew up on a small ranch in British Colombia, Canada. The family had a cow-calf/backgrounding operation. He attended veterinary school at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatchewan. After graduating, he established G.K. Jim Farms and Feedlot Health Management Services Ltd. Jim began his cattle feeding career with a 6 percent share pen of 300 head and grew to become a prominent figure in the Canadian and U.S. cattle industries.

His operations have conducted many large-scale field trials on cattle production and health management. Jim has been a leader in the beef-on-dairy practice. One of his latest joint ventures is a partnership in the construction of a 150,000-head capacity feedyard in Dundy County, Neb. It will feature roller-compacted concrete pens, which are designed to eliminate muddy conditions and increase cattle comfort. The feedlot will also use a methane digester to improve the operation’s waste management practices.

Jim praised the partnerships he has developed. “I have succeeded because of long-term partnerships,” he said. “It’s easy to have partnerships in a bull market. But there are inevitable wrecks. You never get anywhere alone.”

He also saluted his nearly 150 employees: “They ride for the brand and put their best efforts forward every day.”

Dr. Del Miles

Dr. Del Miles, right, accepts the CFHOF Industry Leadership Award

A career that has spanned across five decades has seen Del Miles, DVM, work with cattle producers and feeders of all sizes across the world. Miles earned his doctorate of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Missouri in 1966 and a master’s in veterinary pathology from Kansas State University in 1970. His array of academic credentials and professional achievements have made him among the nation’s most respected feedyard veterinary consultants.

“I’ve had great veterinarian associates and worked with great clients, including W.D. Farr. I was blessed to have had him as a client,” he said in accepting the Industry Leadership Award. Miles still tells his clients, “Every feedyard has access to the same research and other information as you. The only way we’re going to outrun them is to do our management. Together, we have developed management practices that have reduced [cattle] morbidity and death loss.

Miles has served as president of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants. In 1987, he was named Veterinary Consultant of the Year. His commitment to preventive veterinary medicine earned him the Award for Excellence from the American Association of Bovine Practitioners in 1988. And he was inducted into the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame in 2018.

“People are what make it happen,” he said. “If we just keep our integrity, keep presenting the facts, we’ll be in great shape.”

Greg Wolfe

Greg Wolfe accepts the 2024 CFHOF Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award.

Nebraska’s Timmerman & Sons is like any successful cattle feeding company; none would have succeeded without dedicated employees like Greg Wolfe. They go above and beyond to improve the cattle feeding industry. That’s the purpose of the annual CFHOF Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award, of which Wolfe is the 2024 winner.

His career with Timmerman & Sons began in 1972, in Springfield, Neb. In the fall of 1974, he was promoted to office manager at the Timmerman Indianola yard. “It has been amazing to watch how technology has transformed the operation of the feedyard over the years,” Wolfe said. “When I started, we just had a calculator; a computer wasn’t even a thing. Billing, ration and breakeven costs were figured by hand.”

When Timmerman & Sons was restructured in 2012, Wolfe continued to work with both Timmerman Feeding, LLC, and NA Timmerman, Inc., purchasing commodities. His work ethic and dedication has been a vital part of the company’s success over the years.

Voting is underway for the 2025 CFHOF inductees. For the Industry Leadership Award, nominees are Temple Grandin, Ph.D., renowned designer of animal livestock handling systems and animal science professor at Colorado State University; Tom Jenson, long-time cattle feeding/agribusiness lender with First National Bank of Omaha; and John Matsushima, Ph.D., retired professor emeritus from Colorado State University.

Nominees for the CFHOF are Jerry Bohn, long-time manager of Pratt Feeders and former National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president; Dan May, manager of 4M Feeders, Herd Co and Magnum Feedyard in Stratton, Colo.; Allen Messenger, manager of Southwest Feeders, LLC in Hayes Center, Neb.; Dan Morgan, long-time manager and CEO of Poky Feeders, Scott City, Kan.; and Robert Rebholtz, Jr., president and CEO of Agri Beef in Boise, Idaho.