County Cattlemen’s honor recognizes years of support

Monday, September 9, 2019
(Sentinel Photo by Beverly Van Buskirk) Plymouth County Cattlemen’s Association President Michael Jurrens (left) presents a plaque to National Beef’s Chad Barker, vice president of cattle procurement, in appreciation for the 20 years National Beef had provided steaks for the association’s meals. The group held an appreciation dinner at the Willow Creek Banquet Hall Aug. 24, with the meal featuring grilled steaks.

LE MARS — The Plymouth County Cattlemen’s Association held its appreciation dinner in August and featured, of course, grilled steak.

During the evening, Michael Jurrens, president of the association, presented a special recognition to the company which for 20 years has provided the steaks for the dinner.

Representing the company was Chad Barker, vice president of cattle procurement for National Beef, as well as three buyers who work northeast Nebraska, northwest and western Iowa.

“National Beef has been a partner and sponsor with us for over 20 years, provide the great steaks for our appreciation supper. Their support has just been unwaivering and we really appreciate it. We don’t know a better way to thank them,” Jurrens said.

The National Beef corporate office is in Kansas City, and has quite a Le Mars connection.

Tim Klein is CEO and president of the company. Phil Groetken is vice president, transportation while Dave Grosenheider is executive vice president.

Tom Klein is senior vice president sales and marketing; Dennis McDougall is cattle procurement assistant; Tom McDougall isdirector of risk management; Rick McDougall is account manager; and Tim Sweeny is a cattle buyer.

Barker, who has been with the company for 13 years, and in his current role the past two years, said the Le Mars connections have made an impact.

“In our upper management group at National, there are three individuals who come from this area, Tim Klein, Phil Groetken and Dave Grosenheider,” Barker said.

“At National Beef, the doors are always open,” Barker said.

That is a change from other companies he has worked for.

“It’s more of a family relationship. They take a lot of pride in the company,” Barker said. “I worked a lot of other places, but I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else now. Le Mars is the heart of National Beef, with all the connections.

“Tim is such a smart guy, he makes you want to be accountable when you come to work,” Barker added. “It’s about the culture and family, the relentless pursuit of excellence. Tim never forgets where he came from. He’s still a farm kid at heart. He farms a little land there outside of Kansas City. It’s kind of a hobby for him. He likes it. That’s what he grew up with.”

The company has two packing plants in Kansas, at Dodge City and Liberal, and this spring acquired Iowa Premium, LLC plant in Tama, Iowa.

“We’ve always wanted a presence in the north and so the opportunity to be up here, and the timing made sense with the supply situation, supplies have grown, they made some improvements to the Tama facility, so we were excited to get it bought,” Barker said. “Everywhere we’ve went, we’ve grown the business. We hope to do the same in Tama.”

Barker said the Tama plant purchase also made sense because of the number of cattle raised in Iowa.

“It’s a little ways to Dodge City for us, but we’ve always tried to procure some cattle from this part of the country because of the quality,” he said.

He pointed out all three of National Beef’s facilities are in the top 10 for Certified Angus Beef.

“So we seek out Angus-type cattle. Our target buy is a black steer. Quality and value-added programs is how we grow our business,” Barker said.

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