Jack Ward has been named Executive Vice President (EVP) of the American Hereford Association (AHA). He has served as AHA’s chief operating officer and director of breed improvement since he joined the AHA team in 2003.
As EVP, Jack will lead, direct, manage or support all functions of the Association, including serving as the Association secretary. Reporting directly to the AHA Board, he will develop and recommend policies, plans and programs to effectively meet the needs and challenges of the membership and to enhance the growth and reputation of the Hereford breed and the American Hereford Association.
“After a rigorous search, Jack was an inspired choice by the Board,” says Eric Walker, AHA president and a Hereford breeder from Morrison, Tenn. “His knowledge and experience of all aspects of the seedstock industry combined with his commitment and respect for the Hereford breed and its members made him the choice candidate.
“He cares deeply about organizational development, the people who work at AHA and our Hereford members. We believe he will continue to lead the Association as the breed continues to increase market share in the commercial industry.”
With deep roots in the beef cattle industry, Jack has been involved in the seedstock industry since birth. While growing up in Indiana, he was active in 4-H and FFA showing cattle, sheep and pigs. He earned his associate of science degree from Black Hawk East, Kewanee, Ill., and bachelor's degree in agriculture economics from Purdue University.
Jack’s leadership has created increased interest and participation in the Association’s National Reference Sire Program (NRSP) and testing Hereford genetics in real-world commercial settings. During his tenure AHA has increased the number of commercial cows used in testing young sires from 700 to 2,000.
He was also instrumental in AHA’s development of genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs) and other breed improvement strategies such as the newly released udder EPDs.
“As Executive Vice President, I will strive to encourage a culture that enhances the skills and expertise of our competent and qualified staff with the direction and guidance of the AHA Board while continually monitoring the needs and interests of our diverse membership,” Jack says. “It is both humbling and an honor to lead an organization that has been such a major part of my life and my life’s work.”
Along with his solid background in Association work, he also has real world seedstock experience spending 16 years managing several predominant seedstock operations and most recently was managing partner of Maple Lane Angus.
He is recognized throughout the industry for his ability to effectively communicate and educate. He has traveled across the U.S. and overseas to lead educational forums. Jack serves on the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) board of directors — serving from 2006 to 2010 and was re-elected to the board in 2014. In 2013, BIF honored Jack with its Continuing Service Award for his contributions to BIF past, present and future.
He currently serves on the Ultrasound Guidelines Council (UGC), the Scientific Advisory Board for the Feed Efficiency Project and on the beef species advisory board for the National Animal Germplasm Program.
A proponent of performance data coupled with phenotypically correct cattle, Jack has judged livestock shows for more than 30 years in the U.S and six foreign countries.
Family is also a very important part of his life as well. Jack and his wife, Mary Ann, reside in Plattsburg, Mo., and have two sons — Cameron and Carter. Cameron is a senior at the University of Southern Indiana and Carter is a sophomore at Black Hawk East. Jack and Mary Ann raised both boys involved in agriculture and both have a passion for showing and raising livestock.
Jack is also active in his community. He’s a member of St. Ann’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. Jack served as president of the Clinton County Extension Council and was a 4-H beef leader in Clinton County.