Angus Heritage Foundation honors breed leaders

The Angus breed's leadership position within the beef industry didn't happen by chance. It was earned by countless breeders and supporters who all paved the way for a stronger future for beef cattle genetics and the American Angus Association.

The Angus breed’s leadership position within the beef industry didn’t happen by chance. It was earned by countless breeders and supporters who all paved the way for a stronger future for beef cattle genetics and the American Angus Association.

Each year, the organization recognizes breed leaders and their contributions by inducting individuals into the Angus Heritage Foundation. Four new additions were honored Nov. 7 during the Association’s Awards Recognition Breakfast, hosted as part of the Angus Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

The 2016 inductees are: Bill Davis, Montana; Veryl Jones, Missouri, posthumously; Joe Neely, Kentucky; and Charles “Bud” Smith, Kentucky. Read more about their contributions in the paragraphs that follow.


Bill Davis, Montana


Lifelong stockman Bill Davis was 9 years old when his parents founded Rollin’ Rock Angus in Belgrade, Mont. He continues that ranching legacy today, as he and his wife, Jennifer, manage the registered Angus operation.

Growing up, Davis was active in 4-H and began his own Angus breeding project. He went on to attend Montana State University, where he earned an agricultural business degree and was active on the University’s rodeo team. After returning to the ranch, Davis remained active in several industry organizations, serving in a number of leadership roles.

He is a former president of the Montana Beef Performance Association, and has been a member of the Board of Directors for both the Montana Angus Association and the Montana Stockgrowers Association. In 2010, Davis served as president and chairman of the American Angus Association’s Board of Directors, providing valuable insight and leadership for the future of the Angus breed.

Through the years, Rollin’ Rock Angus has continued to grow and establish trust with loyal customers. The Angus cow, the Angus breed and Angus people have always played, and will continue to play, a major role in Davis’ life.


Veryl Jones, Missouri, posthumously

Marketing Angus cattle was a true passion for the late Veryl Jones. During the course of his career, he worked for several leading industry publications, including the  Angus Journal®.

In the fall of 1952, Jones accepted a livestock fieldman position with the  Corn Belt Farm Dailies and moved his family to Washington, Iowa. Seven years later, he returned to his home state of Missouri to work for the  Kansas City Drovers Telegram. In 1964, he became a livestock fieldman for the  Angus Journal, which at the time was published in Webster City, Iowa.


He stayed with the  Angus Journal through the transition to Saint Joseph, Mo., as an entity of the American Angus Association, and later served as its advertising manager. Jones loved the Angus breed and Angus people. He treated people fairly and honestly, and enjoyed the thrill of working the ring on sale day.

Jones retired from the  Angus Journal in 1984 and returned to the family farm to continue to raise Angus cattle with his son, Michael, who manages a commercial Angus herd near Clinton, Mo.


Joe Neely, Kentucky

Born and raised just north of the Tennessee border, Joe Neely is the sixth generation to make a living on his family’s farm near Franklin, Ky. He grew up showing Angus steers and later purchased an Angus cow and heifer calf with his younger brother, Ben, forming the partnership of Charles R. Neely and Sons.

In 1951, Neely became a member of the American Angus Association and continued to show cattle at the local, state and national levels under the name Meadowbrook - the farm’s current name. Angus cattle and farming has been Neely’s sole livelihood for his entire life.

Neely served as president of the Kentucky Angus Association in 1973-1974 and was instrumental in founding the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE). He later served on the Board of Directors of the American Angus Association from 1980-1986 and served as president in 1987.

Neely and his wife, Deanna, have three children: Dave, Polly and John, all of whom were active in the National Junior Angus Association. The Angus breed has been a large part of their lives; and today, the legacy continues with Neely’s son, Dave, who maintains a small herd of Angus cattle.



Charles “Bud” Smith, Kentucky

With roots planted deep in the heart of Kentucky, Charles “Bud” Smith grew up loving the land. He spent his days working with his father, uncle and grandfather on the family farm and ranch, Smithland Angus Farm. After purchasing their first registered Angus cattle in 1940, the legacy only grew from there.

The operation has grown to more than 250 registered Angus cows. Smithland Angus Farm leads a legacy deeply rooted in faith, family and the land that has offered Smith and his family so much. He believes raising cattle is not just a way to make a living, but also a greatly rewarding way to raise a family. 

As a member of the American Angus Association since 1957, Smith served as a director from 1992-1998 and was vice president in 1999 and president in 2000. He also served three years as a director on the Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) Board, along with remaining active within the Russell County Cattlemen’s Association.

In these roles, he has worked to engage 4-H and FFA youth through various programs to increase involvement in the cattle industry. 

Bud and his wife, Pam, have served as advisors for the Kentucky Junior Angus Association for more than 20 years, and received the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) Advisor of the Year award in 1999.

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