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Cattle Rancher

Bednarski to head national
society of Belted Galloway

He plans to travel the nation
to help promote the breed

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

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.

Jon Bednarski

Photo Provided

Jon Bednarski began raising
Belted Galloway cattle in
2004 in Oldham County.

As a young boy, he had “some dairy experience on my uncle’s 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 Father’s 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.”

Cattle

Photo provided

Belted 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 Bednarski’s 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. “I’m 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 organization’s membership.”
Bednarski said, “Our members are very important. They’re 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, “Jon’s goal to travel the country visiting Beltie breeders is unique and will be enjoyable for all involved. It will increase the understanding of the society’s 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 each state.”
Bednarski’s 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 Cattlemen’s Association.
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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