to head national
society of Belted Galloway
plans to travel the nation
to help promote the breed
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (January 2012) With a long
background in sales and marketing, Jon Bednarski never dreamed he would
one day become a farmer and raise cattle. He has entered a new phase
in his life, based around cattle production and educating the public
about the Belted Galloway breed.
Bednarski began raising
Belted Galloway cattle in
2004 in Oldham County.
As a young boy, he had some dairy experience on
my uncles dairy farm in Vermont, said Bednarski. He has
now turned to farming at age 50.
When Bednarksi moved to Kentucky in 1980, his wife, Sylvia, and their
children bought him three Belted Galloway cows for a Fathers Day
present. These cattle were more prominent in the northeast, he said,
even though it was primarily a dairy area with little beef cattle. The
breed stood out because of this reason, he said.
When he began to seriously raise Belted Galloways seven years ago, Bednarski
joined the U.S. Belted Galloway Society. He was a member for four years
when asked to serve on the Society Council. He became vice president
in 2010, and he will assume a leadership role as president in 2012.
A lot of the past presidents have been great cattle farmers and
had more experience than me, he said.
But it takes something different to run the organization today, he believes.
Having been in sales and marketing for more than 30 years, Bednarski
thinks he can bring some new ideas to the table. He also owns Northeastern
Log Homes in La Grange.
His voluntary position as president will last for a two-year term. An
executive director handles the day-to-day operations of the organization.
This will be a learning experience for me, he said.
Vic Eggleston, DVM, is currently executive director of the U.S. Belted
Galloway Society. He said Bednarski has worked extensively on
behalf of our organization and the Belted Galloway breed.
Galloway are prominent
in the northeastern U.S.
The organization formed in 1964 as a nonprofit corporation.
Presidents are chosen from members of the council or board based on
experience, willingness to devote time, energy and abilities to leading
the Society, said Eggleston. Added benefits to having Bednarski become
president include his experience in retailing, his interest in
promoting the breed and his extensive experience working with nonprofit
organizations, he said.
One of Bednarskis goals will be to recruit new members and
retain the membership we already have, he said. The organization
has 800 members world-wide in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.
An eight-member council meets twice a year in the United States. In
2012, one of these meetings will take place in Louisville at the North
American Livestock Show.
Bednarski plans to put a unique spin on his new position as president
of the society. Im going to hit the road beginning in January
and visit a few members each month in every state, he said, in
an effort to connect with the organizations membership.
Bednarski said, Our members are very important. Theyre what
fund the organization. I want to work on retaining and recruiting and
meeting them face to face.
Eggleston, who lives in New Glarus, Wisc., said, Jons goal
to travel the country visiting Beltie breeders is unique and will be
enjoyable for all involved. It will increase the understanding of the
societys leadership of the issues that concern our members and
will help give a voice to members that might not otherwise be expressed.
In his role as president, Bednarski will write a letter every month
to members of the organization. I plan to write these letters
from a different state each month and profile a couple of farmers in
Bednarskis wife has recently retired from 31 years of teaching
and will often accompany him.
A lot of our members are hobby farmers, he said. They
are looking for efficient animals.
Belted Galloways are great forage animals, said Bednarski.
He currently raises a herd of 50, which are 90 percent grass fed and
hormone and steroid free. He runs a 50-acre farm in Oldham County and
a 100-acre farm in Henry County.
Bednarski participates in four local farmers markets and has operated
a retail meat store in La Grange for the last three years in which business
picks up when the farmers markets close for the season. He sells vacuum
packed premium steaks and ground beef through his company, Sherwood
Acres Beef. He is also a member of the Oldham County Cattlemens
His natural beef is a safer product, said Bednarski. Many
of his customers can tell the taste is different than that of
store-bought meat, he said.
For more information on the US Belted Galloway
Society, visit: www.Beltie.org.
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