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
1. $2,500 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
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.
Dr. Andy Roberts
Dr. Jack Whittier
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.
Dr. Michael Dikeman
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.
Dr. Bert Moore
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.
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.
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.