Two R-CALF USA board members – Region VIII Director Gene Barber and Region IX Director James Fudge – both of whom have served the national organization since 2001 will step down next year due to term limits, which will create vacancies for both posts. The director position for Region VII also opens next year because current Region VII Director Eric Nelson was appointed in January 2006 to serve the remaining term of Past Region VII Director Jerry Swartz. Nelson is eligible for re-election. All directors serve as unpaid volunteers.

Region VII includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Region VIII includes Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Region IX includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Barber said he believes in the organization’s objectives and truly has enjoyed his time serving as a director.

“There wasn’t anybody here as a member back when I was elected to the board, and now, we’ve probably got a couple hundred members here in Kentucky, and it’s still growing,” Barber recalled. “People here are still new to R-CALF. This area just needs to be cultivated. People just need to hear our message.

“R-CALF is on the right track and is doing more than anybody else for the cattle industry,” Barber continued. “We need to keep working on the same things, working with lawmakers in Washington to get things done.”

Barber said his most memorable highlight as an R-CALF USA director came when the organization was successful in protecting the U.S. cattle industry from the introduction of animal diseases from other countries.

Fudge said his best memories come from just being involved – not only with other board members, but also with members from around the country, as well as the staff.

“I feel like I’ve gleaned more than I’ve contributed, personally,” Fudge said. “We have a lot of really talented and committed people who have a standard of character that any organization would be proud of. Serving with that group of people and serving the membership, which also holds us all to high standards, is what I consider the best part.

“Just the integrity there,” he continued. “I’ve been a part of a lot of organizations, but never have I seen everyone put first the interests of the whole before their own self interests. I’ve been rewarded. Not just through the people we’ve served, but the people we serve with.”

Nelson said he felt honored when he was selected to step in to finish out Swartz’ term.

“Testifying on the farm bill in front of the Senate Ag Committee in late June was a highlight,” Nelson said. “We enhanced the understanding of Ag Committee’s leadership about R-CALF’s positions on various issues, and that’s something that’s difficult. R-CALF is a lot more understood in Washington today than we were even just a year ago.”

On behalf of the organization, R-CALF USA President and Region V Director Chuck Kiker extended deep gratitude for these gentlemen and their tireless work on behalf of independent U.S. cattle producers.

“It’s sad to see Gene and James go, but we’re not going to let them too far out of our sights,” Kiker said. “I hope they understand we’ll still be calling on them for their expertise in various matters.

“Eric has served Region VII well, with a level-headed way of always keeping the big picture in mind,” Kiker noted. “He’s had the opportunity to get his feet wet over the past few months and has done a great job growing membership in the Midwest.

“He can vouch for me here – for people interested in becoming an R–CALF director, I can only say – and this is an understatement – that the position is an incredibly active volunteer position, so just have your sleeves rolled up and be ready to hit the ground running if you decide to take on the responsibility of representing your neighbors and friends in your region on the R-CALF USA board of directors.”

For more information on the nomination process, contact R-CALF USA at 406-252-2516.