Jack Ward

My family has deep roots in the agriculture business and I am the third generation that has been a part of the seedstock cattle business.  I grew up as a 4-H and FFA member showing cattle, sheep and pigs in Indiana and I come from a family of 7 kids and each of them were very active in 4-H and FFA.  In addition, my wife and her sister showed cattle throughout their 10 years of 4-H in east central Ohio and her family still runs a large herd of commercial cattle.  Because of my focus on the purebred business, I always wanted to pursue a career in the livestock industry.  

After high school, I received an Associate of Science degree in Agriculture from Black Hawk East College (BHE), Kewanee, Ill, where I was a member of the 1983 national champion livestock judging team.  After BHE, I received my BS degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Economics and since my childhood, I had an interest in becoming a livestock judge.  After college, I spent the first 17 years of my adult life in the Angus seedstock business as either a farm manager or managing partner.

In 2003, I became the Chief Operations Officer and the Director of breed Improvement for the American Hereford Association (AHA).  This has been a great opportunity for me to learn another part of the seedstock business and continue to provide for my family in the industry that I grew up in and truly enjoy.  Outside my duties at the AHA, I have served on the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) board of directors and National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC) advisory board.  It has been a lot of fun seeing the Hereford breed work its way back into international prominence and position itself well as a breed of choice for the commercial cattlemen.

In 1991, Mary Ann and I were married and we have 2 sons, Cameron and Carter who are both very active in showing livestock through 4-H, FFA and Jr livestock associations.  Our family still runs a few registered cows and Carter has just started buying a few Boer does and he also shows some barrows.  Cameron is a freshman at Butler Community College where he is developing his acting skills through the Drama department and he landed the lead in the fall play.  Carter is a junior in High School and he juggles his interest in livestock shows and varsity basketball.  Both of our sons have had great success in the showring and Mary Ann and I have enjoyed traveling with the boys over the years to the various shows.

Over the last 30 years, I have been fortunate to judge livestock shows throughout the US and in 4 different foreign countries on the local, state and national level.  I could probably count on my hands the number of friends I have that are not part of the livestock business.  I enjoy judging both market and breeding shows and I especially enjoy judging junior shows.  This will be my second time to judge the junior steers at the National Western, but my first time to judge them as part of a 3 man committee.  This is exciting because it is the National Western livestock show and I will be teamed up with two guys with great experience, knowledge and pedigrees within the livestock industry.  I look forward to the opportunity and I want to wish all of the exhibitors good luck and success. ■