OCA / OCW / OJCA Joint Opening Session

Donnell Brown, R.A. Brown Ranch

Balancing Production, Survival, Sustainability and Joy

Donnell Brown and his wife Kelli are the fifth generation to own and manage the R.A. Brown Ranch in Throckmorton, TX, a family business since 1895. They raise registered Angus, Red Angus and SimAngus cattle and sell 800 bulls as well as registered & commercial females in their annual auctions every March & October.

They use sound science and technology to produce superior genetics designed for improving profits for commercial cattlemen. Donnell has served in a strategic planning capacity for the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), four breed associations as well as the U.S. Beef Industry. In 2017 he served as President of BIF.  

 Donnell and his wife Kelli both served as National FFA Presidents. They are blessed with 2 sons that have joined them back in their family ranching business. Together they are living their dream of raising cows, kids, grandkids and Quarter Horses.

Cattlemen’s Education Series Session 1:

Dr. Morgan Pfeiffer, Oklahoma State University

Pathway to a Successful Future 


Morgan Pfeiffer is a Meeker, Colorado native who grew up actively involved in production agriculture   and the 4-H and FFA programs. Her ties to agriculture led her to Oklahoma State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Communications. She was also member of the meat judging team, livestock judging team, and national champion meat animal evaluation team. Morgan went on to receiver her Master’s and PhD degrees at OSU while helping coach five meat judging teams, three of which were named national champions. Morgan currently works at OSU as an Assistant Professor in Meat Science. Outside of the university she is fortunate to spend time helping her husband, daughter and his family on their family farm. She is passionate about teaching the next generation of agriculturalist and conducting research that will have a positive impact on the industry.  

Cattlemens Education Series Session 2:

Oklahoma Agriculture Food and Forestry State Board of Agriculture

The Department is governed by the State Board of Agriculture. The Board consists of five members appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma with the approval of the Oklahoma Senate. The Governor designates one of the members as President of the Board, who serves as the Commissioner of Agriculture. The Commissioner is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and policies of the Department.

Blayne Arthur, Stillwater

On January 14, 2019, Blayne Arthur was sworn in by Governor Kevin Stitt as the Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture—the state’s first female to hold the position. She acts as Governor Stitt’s chief advisor on policy development and implementation related to agriculture, food and forestry, and holds the titles of Oklahoma Commissioner of Agriculture and the President of the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture.

Secretary Arthur grew up in Chickasha, Oklahoma, where her family raised horses, cattle, wheat, alfalfa and soybeans. Upon graduating from Oklahoma State University in 2004, with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics, Sec. Arthur took a role in small-business financing for Rural Enterprises, Inc and traveled throughout Oklahoma. Secretary Arthur began her tenure at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry in 2009 working for Secretary Terry Peach and later as the Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture for Secretary Jim Reese where she stayed from 2011 to 2016. In 2016, she served as the Executive Director for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation until her appointment by Governor Stitt.

Secretary Arthur served as the President of the Midwestern Association of State Departments of Agriculture in 2019. She currently serves as the Animal Ag Committee Chair for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the Secretary/Treasurer for Food Export Midwest. She is the 2016 Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Distinguished Service Award Recipient; remains active in Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Diamond Hats, Oklahoma Beef Council and Oklahoma 4-H and FFA programs. Arthur has been selected for multiple honors including Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program Class XV, a Journal Record 2011 Achievers Under 40 honoree, a Journal Record Fifty Making a Difference Honoree in 2019 and 2020 and the 2014 Oklahoma Agricultural Woman of the Year.

Secretary Arthur married Jerrod Arthur in 2006 and they have two children, Kelton and Kennedy, who both enjoy showing cattle and horses. The Arthur family lives east of Stillwater and raise show cattle for 4-H and FFA members.

 Clay Burtrum, Stillwater

Clay Burtrum represents northeast Oklahoma and operates a cow/calf and beef stocker operation in Payne and Pawnee counties. He also co-owns Farm Data Services, a managerial accounting firm serving the needs of farmers, ranchers and rural businesses. His background includes various roles and management experience in the feedlot, cattle contracting, farm and cattle appraisals, and crop and livestock insurance. Clay is passionate about agriculture and is active in both state and national beef leadership. He has served as chairman of the Oklahoma Beef Council and has been a district director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. He is involved in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, serving as the Region IV Federation Vice President, on the Finance and Audit Committee, and is currently serving as Vice Chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. A proud OSU alum, Clay serves on the Animal Science Alumni Board and is a graduate of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program, currently serving on the OALP advisory board. He was also an inaugural member of the King Ranch Leadership Program and has served locally the last nine years on the Payne County Farm Service Agency county committee. He holds the ag industry in the highest regard and does his best to make an impact.

Joe Farris, Fairview

Joe Farris of Fairview has a long history of involvement in the agriculture industry. He currently serves as the Sr. Vice President of Bank of Western Oklahoma in addition to owning and managing an operation of bulls and replacement heifers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education from Oklahoma State University and taught at Fairview as the Agriculture Education instructor from 1978 to 1982. Farris has served on the State Board of Agriculture since 2006 and is also a member of the Dewey County Fair board. He is also currently serving on the Dewey County Excise Board.

Nocona Cook, Cordell

Representing the Southwest district, Nocona Cook is no stranger to supporting Oklahoma agriculture. As a fifth-generation farmer in his family and the owner of Cook Farms near Cloud Chief, OK, he raises wheat, alfalfa and cotton– all in addition to his commercial cow-calf operation and custom swathing and hay-baling business. He has held many leadership roles including serving on the Washita County FarmBureau Board, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, Washita County Cattlemen’s Board and the Cordell School Board. He is also the President of the Washita County Fire Association and the Fire Chief/EMT for the Cloud Chief Fire Dept.

 Brent Bolen, Idabel

Brent represents Southeast Oklahoma and has a long history of involvement in Oklahoma agriculture. He and his family are chicken, cattle and hay producers in McCurtain County. His company, Bolen Farms, is a contract poultry producer for Tyson Farms. The Bolen family has multiple poultry broiler houses that produce more than 900,000 eight-pound chickens per year. Boland is an advocate for Oklahoma producers and has served on the Oklahoma Agriculture Advisory Committee, Vice President of the McCurtain County Farm Bureau and president of the Idabel School Board.



Cattlemen’s Education Series Session 3

Stephen Swaffar, Noble Research Institute 

Soil Health for Improved Range and Forage Health

Steve Swaffar serves as an agriculture consultant in the producer relations program for the Noble Research Institute. He works with producers to understand and improve their soils, their grazing operations and ranch habitat. Steve joined Noble in December of 2021 after serving as Executive Director of the non-profit No-till on the Plains for eight years. At No-till he worked with conservation leaders and professionals, researchers, authors, media and producers to provide high quality, practical educational offerings. From 2000-2014, Steve served as the Director of Natural Resources and State Governmental Relations Director for the Kansas Farm Bureau. He led conservation policy efforts both in the Kansas State Capitol and in Washington DC on behalf of the farmer and rancher members. Steve proudly holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas. Steve is married to his wife Donna for 29 years, they have 2 adult children, Tyler and Nathan.   

Cattlemen’s Education Series Session 4

Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University

Cattle Market Outlook

Derrell Peel is the Charles Breedlove Professor of Agribusiness in the Department of Agricultural Economics.  He has served as the Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist since he came to Oklahoma State University in 1989.  He has B.S. and M.S. degrees from Montana State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He previously served as the Superintendent of the Southeastern Colorado Range Research Station in Springfield Colorado.   His main program areas at Oklahoma State University include livestock market outlook and marketing/risk management education for livestock producers.  

 Derrell also works in the area of international livestock and meat trade with particular focus on Mexico and Canada and the North American livestock and meat industry.  He lived in Mexico on sabbatical in 2001 and has developed an extensive knowledge of the Mexican cattle and beef industry and the economics of cattle and beef trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

OCA General Business Meeting

Todd Wilkinson, NCBA President

Industry Update

Todd Wilkinson is a co-owner and operator of a commercial cow-calf operation with his son, Nick, in De Smet, South Dakota. He is also a co-owner of Redstone Feeders, a family owned cattle feeding and finishing operation. 

In addition, Wilkinson has practiced law for more than 40 years, specializing in estate planning and agricultural law. He is a graduate of Augustana College and USD School of Law. His firm, Wilkinson & Schumacher, is sought after by landowners (cow-calf, stocker and feeder segments) across the state when they are facing legal challenges. 

Over the years, Wilkinson has been heavily involved in local, state and national leadership roles. During his time on the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association board, he had many roles including president in 2015-2016. Wilkinson has also served on numerous NCBA committees as well as the Environmental Working Group, Traceability Working Group and Cattle Marketing Working Group. Wilkinson served as NCBA Region VII policy vice president for two years. Wilkinson is a founding member and current vice president of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Foundation. 

 He and his late wife, Jean, have three children and nine grandchildren.

Cattlemen’s Education Series Session 5

Panel Discussion

BEEF: How It Gets To Dinner

Erica Hering, Ralphs Packing Company

Erica Hering was raised on her family’s cattle feedlot in central Oklahoma, and is also the third generation leader of her family’s fourth generation meat processing business, Ralph’s Packing Company.  Ralph’s has been serving Perkins, Oklahoma and the surrounding region since the 1950s, and is a dual inspected facility under the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture as well as the USDA. Ralph’s has been transformed into a contemporary specialty meats business specializing in further processed meats, including beef jerky, snack sticks, smoked meat products, as well as fresh beef and pork.  Ralph’s processes under it’s own brand, but also offers state and USDA inspected private label processing. Erica is a past president of the American Association of Meat Processors, the largest meat trade organization in North America, as well as the Oklahoma-Texas Meat Processors Association.  She’s currently a member of the Industry Advisory Committee of the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University.     

Jake Nelson, Ralph’s Packing Company

Jake Nelson was born in El Paso, TX and was quickly translocated to Sand Springs, OK by his parents in 1973. His quirky curiosity about the butchers of the local Safeway store, coupled with 4-H and FFA Meat Judging opportunities led Nelson to study Meat Science at Eastern Oklahoma State College. He continued on to Oklahoma State University and began working in the muscle biology laboratory, the original Meat Laboratory, the OSU meat judging program, and ultimately bringing into operation the meat processing facility of the Robert M. Kerr Food & Ag. Products Center. In January of 2021, after literally spending half of his life at the corner of Farm and Lincoln on the OSU campus, Nelson moved his career to Ralph’s Packing Company where he enjoys the complexities and rewards of the meat industry.

 Dr. Kirby Childs, Greater Omaha Packing Company

Dr. Kirby Childs currently serves as Vice President of Quality Assurance and Technical Resources at Greater Omaha Packing Co.  Kirby has 20 years of experience overseeing Quality Assurance programs in raw and further processing in beef, pork and poultry production operations.  Additionally, he has led Research & Development teams and brought products to market for national and regional chains. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Oklahoma Baptist University, Master's of Science degree in Food Science from Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D., focused on meat food safety, from Colorado State University.


  John Walke, Walke Brother’s Meat Company

Walke Brothers Meat Company was started in Claremore in 1996 when the Walke family purchased H&H Meat Processing, which was built in 1977. Beginning as a state inspected processing facility focused primarily on custom cattle fabrication, the Walkes are currently operating under federal inspection and offer a variety of services including retail and wholesale meat production, co-packing and private labeling as well as custom and USDA inspected slaughter and fabrication of beef and hogs. John Walke is a past president of the Oklahoma-Texas Meat Processors Association, served on the board of directors for the American Association of Meat Processors and continues to be active these organizations along with his wife Michelle and sons, Eric and Lyndon, who oversee operations in the family business


Cattlemen’s Education Series Session 6

Resilience Across Our Supply Chain

Brooke Davis, Assistant Director of Food Safety & Quality Systems at Lopez-Dorada Foods

Brooke’s responsibilities span across the beef and pork supply chains from live animal production to finished goods, touching food safety & quality from packer to customer, animal health and well-being initiatives, and support of supply chain sustainability initiatives through a Board of Directors seat on the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

After college, she spent 3.5 years in the beef packing sector, then moved to the further processing side where she has worn many hats over her 19 years with Lopez Foods. Brooke is a fourth generation on her family’s small cow/calf operation in Northwest Oklahoma.  She and her husband Lelyn have three children, Annyn (9), Adler (11), and her step son Matthew (20). 

Alex Floyd, Assistant Director of Sustainability at Lopez-Dorada Foods

Alex Floyd is responsible for the overall leadership and execution of the organization’s sustainability strategies and plans. This includes internal and supply chain initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases, energy consumption, water usage, and waste. Alex has a master’s degree in Sustainable Engineering and undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Nuclear Technology. Alex possesses over 12 years of experience in energy and sustainability. For the past 5+ years, he has focused his expertise specifically in the food and agriculture industry.During his free time, Alex enjoys attending ballgames, exploring theme parks, and experiencing performances alongside his wife and three children.


OCA / OCW / OJCA Joint Closing Session

Matt Makens, Makens Weather

Weather Outlook: The Impact El Niño Brings Us through 2023 & 2024

Makens Weather, LLC was formed in 2016 and grew quickly by providing actionable weather and climate information specifically geared toward clients’ needs. Matt’s primary focus is on long-term seasonal and climate forecasts as well as short-term weather hazards for the agricultural industry. Makens Weather serves global clients from Australia to Canada and throughout the United States.

 Matt Makens grew up outside of Castle Rock, Colorado on a small acreage where he competed annually in the Douglas County Fair and Rodeo with a variety of animals and was a member of the livestock judging team. 

 His dad, a veterinarian with a clinic in Denver, was a high-risk buyer from time to time which was a wonderful exposure to veterinary medicine at home. His mom had a hard time keeping Matt inside as he was always on the loose wandering on the land and watching the weather. 

 Matt has presented thousands of weather forecasts and outlooks to dozens of specific industries. Matt attended The University of Kansas, degreed in Atmospheric Science. After leaving college with more of an engineering background than a broadcasting one, he worked in a variety of broadcast news markets across the country for over 20 years (“retiring” from broadcast news in 2021) while also consulting with energy and insurance companies, public works departments and forecasting for ag radio stations. His presentations have earned him five Emmy Awards and honors from the American Meteorological Society as well as the National Weather Association. He and his wife Hillary returned to Castle Rock where they are raising their two children.