AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. • Photo by Molly Montag.

AQHA Official Honored By Beef Industry Group

American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines was recently recognized for his work in the cattle industry with the BIF Pioneer Award.

The award, given out by the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), recognizes individuals who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle, honoring those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle.

Huffhines received his award on June 21 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Loveland, Colorado.

A native Texan, Huffhines served as executive vice president of the American Hereford Association (AHA) from 1997 to 2015. He initially joined the AHA staff in 1992 upon completing a master’s degree at CSU. His early responsibilities included director of feedlot and carcass programs for AHA’s Certified Hereford Beef® (CHB) program. He was named CHB director in 1995, launching a fully-aligned, breed-specific, branded beef program into the retail and foodservice sectors.

“Craig has never been afraid of a challenge, and has been a real advocate for breed improvement and technology within the beef industry,” said Jack Ward, AHA executive vice president and BIF board member.

Under his leadership, AHA implemented the Whole Herd Total Performance Records program, developed the National Reference Sire program, moved toward a full multi-trait genetic evaluation, led the development of a Pan-American genetic evaluation and led the movement toward incorporating genomics to the AHA genetic evaluation.

“In addition to breed-improvement tools, Craig’s vision was to make the AHA efficient through technology and utilizing all tools to keep the AHA fiscally strong,” Ward said.

Huffhines served in several industry leadership capacities, including president of the National Pedigreed Livestock Council from 2003 to 2006, chairman of the BIF Emerging Technology Committee from 2004 to 2007, chairman of the U.S. Beef Breeds Council and a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Animal Identification working group and USMARC advisory committee.

“Craig has been a true pioneer in the beef industry and his leadership roles at the AHA pushed the membership to focus on breed improvement tools that would make the commercial industry more profitable,” Ward said.

Huffhines received his undergraduate degree in animal science from Texas A&M University. He was then recruited to Colorado State University(CSU) by Dr. Gary Smith to work on a study that showed the feedlot performance of Hereford-influenced cattle and palatability characteristics of Hereford beef. He was project leader for the CSU Hereford study, which formed the basis for the CHB program.

More than 600 beef producers, academia and industry representatives were in attendance at the organization’s 50th annual convention. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.

For news and updates from the Western performance horse industry, subscribe to Quarter Horse News.