At Your Service

Take the bull by the horns when developing customers for your herd or program with the help of these experts. Find out how to qualify for a SimSpecialist at your next Simmental event.

At Your Service


Luke Bowman

SimGenetic Development

ASA is fortunate to have a team of beef industry professionals, with a wide variety of experience, available to represent the Simmental breed. The ASA Educational Specialists or “SimSpecialists” team covers the US attending sales, presenting at educational events, and serving as a resource for seedstock and commercial breeders alike. 

Many of the SimSpecialists have storied histories working around the country in all aspects of the beef industry — we have nutritionists and reproductive physiologists, all the way to meat scientists on the team. Many are professional educators, and all are well-known throughout their state and region for being experts in beef cattle production; however, the team’s expertise doesn’t come only with retired university faculty. We have folks who ranch full-time and can understand the day-in and day-outs of our membership and the challenges they face.

The model works because these are experienced professionals with a drive to improve the genetic business for our membership and their customers, and the program ties in closely with the Mission Statement of the ASA. They are not wet-behind-the-ears-kids who learn while on the go; they have a grip on the seedstock and commercial industries in their given territory and are extremely objective in their counsel and communication.

 I challenge ASA members and SimGenetics customers alike to get to know the SimSpecialist who covers their territory. These men and women continue to get to know the populous in their region with each event and see cattle and genetic evaluation very well. They are a great option to learn from when discussing ASA
programs and the latest science and technology programs coming out of the Bozeman office. 

Meet Our Specialists

How to Qualify

Members of the ASA can qualify to have a SimSpecialist at their sale or event based on meeting one of five minimum criteria:

 1. $2,000 spent with ASA Publication

 2. $3,500 spent on ASA business (registrations, transfers, etc.)

 3. Crowd of 30 or more and allow ASA to speak for 30 minutes of the program

 4. $500 “buy a day”

 5. State Association Day – field day

Dr. Ken Odde

Longtime educator and producer Dr. Ken Odde received a bachelor’s in animal science at South Dakota State. After a two-year stint in the US Army as an officer and platoon leader, he received a master’s degree in reproductive physiology, a doctorate of veterinary medicine, and a doctorate in physiology at Kansas State University (KSU). Odde taught at Colorado State University for 11 years, conducting research on beef cattle reproduction and health. He then returned to South Dakota, working for Pfizer Animal Health for six years, and AgSpan for three. 

Odde joined North Dakota State University in 2003 as head of the animal and range sciences department. He soon became the director of Beef Systems–Center of Excellence, which is a public-private partnership designed to grow cattle feeding and processing in North Dakota. In 2007 he became the animal sciences and industry department head at KSU; Odde recently retired from that role. 

 In 1996, Odde and his wife, Arlene, purchased land in Pollock, South Dakota, which the family has since grown into a sizable commercial cow-calf operation. Today, they run 500 head of commercial SimAngus cows; Odde’s son John manages the ranch. In 2014, the family started an internship program to provide students with cattle experience. 

Odde has been involved with the Simmental breed for many years, participating in research, interviews, and industry events, and will be a valuable member of the SimSpecialists team.
City: Pollock
State: South Dakota
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Dr. Ashby Green

Ashby grew up on a Mississippi crop, timber, and livestock farm. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in Animal Science and from Auburn with a DVM before setting up a mixed-animal practice back home in Guntown, MS. He was a Clinician and Extension Veterinarian at MSU, helped launch Posilac (BST) at Monsanto, led NAIS and cattle programs at the Florida State Veterinarian's office, and was NCBA vice-president of Producer Education and Beef Quality Assurance. Ashby "retired" to a commercial cow-calf partnership in Florida and established AG-DEO, LLC, a consultancy to serve the cattle industry.
City: Gainesville
State: FL
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Dr. Andy Roberts

Andy was raised on a small irrigated crop and livestock operation along the Rio Grande River in southern New Mexico. In 1978, the family operation changed to raising registered Red Angus, from which Andy and his wife, Maddy, started their own herd of registered cattle in 1998. The couple continues to raise registered cattle with an emphasis on maternal traits. Andy received BS, MS and PhD degrees in Animal Science from New Mexico State University, University of Wyoming, and Washington State University, respectively. He served as the beef cattle Extension specialist at Washington State University for two years. In 1989, he accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in the Pharmacology Department in Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he conducted basic research on mechanisms regulating follicular development, using cattle as the experimental model. In 1990, Andy was hired at the USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska to conduct research on beef cattle reproduction. In 2001 he moved to the USDA ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory in Miles City, Montana, where he conducted research for over 20 years evaluating nutrition and genetic effects on growth, reproduction, and economics during heifer development and cow lifetime productivity.
City: Kinsey
State: MT
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Bill Zimmerman

Bill Zimmerman, Foley, MN, has earned undergraduate degrees from Arizona State University and Utah State University as well as receiving two Master’s Degrees from both Utah State and St. Cloud State University. His work experience includes sales, education, extension economist, cattle genetics specialist and free-lance writing. Bill is published author in several research publications.

City: Foley
State: MN
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Gary Burns

Gary grew up on a small beef cattle and poultry farm in Robbins, NC. He attended and received a master’s degree in Animal Science from Clemson University with an emphasis in Animal Breeding. After graduating from Clemson University, Gary served as assistant manager of Cypress Woods Plantation, a 2500 head commercial cow/calf and row crop operation in eastern South Carolina. He then moved to Sunbeam Farm in North Carolina and served as cattle manager and was responsible for developing a purebred Simmental herd, marketing plan, and on farm bull test.

In 1983, Clemson administrators recruited Gary back to Clemson to serve as the Beef Cattle Research Station Manager, responsible for the day-to-day care and management of the cow/calf, stocker and feedlot operations. For over three decades, Gary has impacted the beef cattle industry and business through educating beef cattle producers, students, and university employees.  He has served on the South Carolina Simmental Association Board of Directors, South Carolina Cattleman’s Association Board of Directors numerous times. Gary served on the Bull Test Advisory Committee as a member/advisor during his tenure at Clemson University as the Simpson Station Bull Test Coordinator. He assisted the Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department with hundreds of practical laboratory experiences, teaching students Beef Cattle Management Techniques. 

City: Pendleton
State: SC
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Gary has assisted the Clemson University Extension Service Livestock and Forages Team with numerous workshops.  These include Master Cattlemen Program, Artificial Insemination Classes (over 30 years), Cattlemen’s Boot Camp, Beef Quality Assurance, Bull Selection, Cattle Evaluation, Beef Production, and numerous field days.  Gary served as the CU Bull Test Coordinator. The Clemson Bull Test is a performance test that culminates in a sale of eligible bulls. During Gary’s tenure, a GroSafe feeding system was installed making the Clemson Bull Test one of the first bull test east of the Mississippi to collect feed intake data. In addition to managing the bull test, he assisted/educated numerous producers on bull selection and EPD utilization.

Dr. Michael Dikeman

Dr. Michael E. Dikeman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University. His research bridged basic meat science and efficient livestock production systems. He attained national recognition for his work on the Germ Plasm Evaluation and Utilization Projects at the US MARC. He was co-investigator of a large Carcass Merit Traits Project that produced the first tenderness EPDs for  three beef-cattle breed associations.
City: Manhattan
State: KS
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Russ Danielson

Russ Danielson has a lifetime of experience working with beef cattle and beef cattle producers. Born and raised in North Dakota, Russ was an Animal Science faculty member at North Dakota State University for 44 years, before retiring in 2010. At NDSU, Russ taught Introduction to Animal Science, Livestock Evaluation and various levels of Beef Production and Beef Systems. He was longtime faculty advisor for the Saddle and Sirloin Club, Judging Club and served as academic advisor for hundreds of undergraduates. Early in his career, he managed the University beef unit and was actively involved in establishing the University purebred Simmental herd in 1978.

Russ is well known in the US and Canada, having judged many local, state and national beef cattle shows in 26 states and four Canadian provinces. He has been recognized for his work with youth organizations, the North Dakota Stockman’s Association, the ND Livestock Endowment Foundation and The National Beef Improvement Federation. 
City: Valley City
State: ND
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Susan Russell

Susan S. Russell has the distinction of creating ASA history when she was elected to succeed her husband, Curtis, on the ASA Board of Trustees. Since 1998, she’s been secretary-treasurer of the Colorado Simmental Association (CSA) and instrumental in planning the National Western Stock Show, a multi-breed state junior field day, and breed outreach events. Computer-savvy, she also maintains CSA’s website and Facebook. Reflected R Ranch’s entire 130-head registered cowherd is DNA’d to match their performance-oriented goals. They participate in ASA’s Total Herd Enrollment, Cowherd Roundup, Calf Crop Genomics, and Carcass Merit Program. They market yearling bulls. A photographer and former editor, Susan holds a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University and a master’s work done at the University of Nebraska. She is the mother of two sons, Jason and Chad, both of whom were deeply involved in the American Junior Simmental Association.
City: Sugar City
State: CO
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Dr. Bert Moore

Dr. Moore has extensive contact with the beef and sheep industries having judged them at many livestock shows from coast to coast and in Canada. He has given presentations throughout the US and Canada and in Great Britain and New Zealand. He served two terms as president of the International Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team Coaches Association, was a board member for the National Pedigreed Livestock Council and has received awards for teaching and student advising from NDSU, distinguished service from several livestock and youth organizations, is a member of Who’s Who in American Education and an Alpha Gamma Rho “Brother of the Century.”
City: Indianola
State: IA
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Brian DeFreese

Brian received a B.S. in Animal Science from Purdue University in 1974. He spent the next eight years working cattle sales and shows all over the U.S. and Canada. Brian started Shawnee Cattle Co. in 1976 raising commercial, seedstock, and show cattle of many breeds. He married wife Marla in the fall of 1983 and spent the next 24 years raising three children, J.D., Rob and Katelyn, cattle, corn, beans, wheat, and hay. DeFreese became the Beef Unit Manager at Purdue University Animal Science Research and Education Center in 2007. He served on the Board of Trustees of the American Simmental Association for 7 years and was past chairman. 

City: West Lafayette
State: IN
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Perry Thomas

Perry Thomas has been involved in the Simmental cattle industry since 1978. I started ranching with my father and have continued to work with cattle. The family cattle tradition continues with the G&D Simmental ranch. We currently manage an operation with 100 cows in Northeast ND. I have been a member of the ND Simmental Association for over 30 years. I was on the board of Directors for the ND Simmental Association for 6 years.

Perry grew up in rural ND near Hansboro. During my high school years I invested in Simmental cattle and continue to enjoy the breed to this day. My wife and I started our own operation near Calvin, ND in 1982 where we farmed and ranched until 9 years ago. At that time we moved to Bismarck where we currently reside. We have 3 wonderful daughters who all have families of their own. I am blessed with 9 grandkids.  My youngest daughter lives on our farm near Calvin. She and her husband continue the farming/ranching operation that I started. They have rebranded the operation as G&D Simmental.

City: Bismarck
State: ND
Rep area radius/miles: 200

Ben Spitzer

Ben Spitzer attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) earning a degree in Animal Science with an animal production emphasis before finishing his graduate work in 2004 in Integrated Resource Management at ColoradoState University (CSU). After graduating from CSU, he accepted the position of Communications/Member Services Director with the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) in Denton, TX.
City: Justin
State: TX
Rep area radius/miles: 250
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