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Meet Our SimSpecialists

Dr. Jack Whittier
Whittier was raised on a diversified livestock and crop farm in Northeastern Utah.  He received degrees from Utah State University and the University of Nebraska. He was on faculty at the University of Missouri for 9 years. In 1995, he joined the faculty in Animal Sciences at Colorado State University where he was the State Beef Cattle Extension Specialist.  During his academic career, he was actively involved in applied research of beef cow nutrition and reproductive management. Jack and colleagues developed some of the first ovulation synchronization protocols that facilitated increased use of timed artificial insemination across the beef industry.  Training graduate students was a key passion for him and watching his students progress into successful careers of their own has been especially satisfying.  In 2014 he was hired as Director of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center for the University of Nebraska located in Scottsbluff, NE. He retired in August 2020.  Dr. Whittier and his wife, Robynn, have two grown sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and five ambitious grandchildren.  Jack and Robynn also own a small-scale seedstock beef herd to produce SimAngus bulls and replacement heifers.
City: Scottsbluff
State: NE
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Gary Burns

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.  Gary has assisted the Clemson University Extension Service Livestock and Forages Team with numerous workshops.  These include Master Cattlemen Program, Artificial Insemination Classes (over 30 years), Cattlemen’s Boot Camp, Beef Quality Assurance, Bull Selection, Cattle Evaluation, Beef Production, and numerous field days.  

Gary served as the CU Bull Test Coordinator. The Clemson Bull Test is a performance test that culminates in a sale of eligible bulls. During Gary’s tenure, a GroSafe feeding system was installed making the Clemson Bull Test one of the first bull test east of the Mississippi to collect feed intake data. In addition to managing the bull test, he assisted/educated numerous producers on bull selection and EPD utilization. 

City: Pendleton
State: SC
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Brian DeFreese

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. 


City: West Lafayette
State: IN
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Dr. John A. Paterson

John A. Paterson was raised on a cattle ranch in New Mexico and is currently an Emeritus Professor from Montana State University and a beef specialist for ASA.  He received his Ph.D. in Beef Cattle Nutrition from the University of Nebraska. From 1979 until 1993 he was on the faculty of the Animal Science Department at the University of Missouri and was an Extension Specialist at Montana State University from 1996- 2012.  From 2012 until 2016 he was Executive Director of Education for NCBA. Neogen and Food Safety Net Services, as well as ASA, have also employed him. Dr. Paterson has trained 35 graduate students, and during his career has authored and co-authored more than 200 manuscripts and proceedings papers and has given 120 invited presentations since 1996.  John is married to Diana and they have three children; Courtney who is a pediatrician in Kalispell, Terrill who is employed as a statistician for Fish Wildlife and Parks and Cameron who is a teacher for the YMCA in Bozeman.


City: Bozeman,
State: MT
Rep area radius/miles: 200

Perry Thomas

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 8 grandkids and am looking forward to meeting the 9 th at the end of May. 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.

City: Bismarck,
State: ND
Rep area radius/miles: 200

Susan Russell

Susan Russell Susan S. Russell has the distinction of creating ASA history when she was elected to succeed her husband, Curtis, on the ASA Board of Trustees. Since 1998, she’s been secretary-treasurer of the Colorado Simmental Association (CSA) and instrumental in planning the National Western Stock Show, a multi-breed state junior field day, and breed outreach events. Computer-savvy, she also maintains CSA’s website and Facebook. Reflected R Ranch’s entire 130-head registered cowherd is DNA’d to match their performance-oriented goals. They participate in ASA’s Total Herd Enrollment, Cowherd Roundup, Calf Crop Genomics, and Carcass Merit Program. They market yearling bulls. A photographer and former editor, Susan holds a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University and a master’s work done at the University of Nebraska. She is the mother of two sons, Jason and Chad, both of whom were deeply involved in the American Junior Simmental Association.

City: Sugar City
State: CO

Dr. Bert Moore
Title: State Association Liason

Burt Moore, Ph.D.Dr. Moore has extensive contact with the beef and sheep industries having judged them at many livestock shows from coast to coast and in Canada. He has given presentations throughout the US and Canada and in Great Britain and New Zealand. He served two terms as president of the International Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team Coaches Association, was a board member for the National Pedigreed Livestock Council and has received awards for teaching and student advising from NDSU, distinguished service from several livestock and youth organizations, is a member of Who’s Who in American Education and an Alpha Gamma Rho “Brother of the Century.”



City: Indianola
State: IA
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Bill Zimmerman

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.






City: Foley
State: MN
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Ben Spitzer

Ben Spitzer attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) earning a degree in Animal Science with an animal production emphasis before finishing his graduate work in 2004 in Integrated Resource Management at ColoradoState University (CSU). After graduating from CSU, he accepted the position of Communications/Member Services Director with the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) in Denton, TX.  

City: Justin
State: TX
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Russ Danielson

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.

Russ is well known in the US and Canada, having judged many local, state and national beef cattle shows in 26 states and four Canadian provinces. He has been recognized for his work with youth organizations, the North Dakota Stockman’s Association, the ND Livestock Endowment Foundation and The National Beef Improvement Federation. 

City: Valley City
State: ND
Rep area radius/miles: 250

Dr. Michael Dikeman
Dr. Michael E. Dikeman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University. His research bridged basic meat science and efficient livestock production systems. He attained national recognition for his work on the Germ Plasm Evaluation and Utilization Projects at the US MARC. He was co-investigator of a large Carcass Merit Traits Project that produced the first tenderness EPDs for  three beef-cattle breed associations.
City: Manhattan
State: KA

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