LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Individuals who have dedicated their lives
to agriculture and farming generally don’t do it for the recognition, but rather
their passion for the industry.
However, commodity groups sometimes will honor an
outstanding producer who has spent their majority of their life striving to make
a difference for the betterment of the industry, which is exactly why the
Indiana Beef Cattle Association annually hands out the Robert C. Peterson
Lifetime Achievement Award.
Joe Moore, the executive vice president for the IBCA, noted
that Peterson, the namesake for the award, is an icon in the Indiana beef
For several years, Peterson ran Lynnwood Farms for Purdue
University and played an instrumental role in the development of the IBCA, which
is why the group felt it was fitting to create a lifetime achievement award in
his honor, Moore said.
This year, the IBCA chose Sam Washburn to receive this
“His impact to the Indiana beef industry over the years has
not only been in the state, but national and international,” Moore said.
Washburn, however, attributes his success to getting started
at a younger age than most producers, while living longer at the same
He noted that many producers usually don’t find their niche
on their operation until they are around 60, but he started getting heavily
involved with both sheep and cattle in Indiana during his 30s.
When Washburn first started farming, he recalled, he
primarily was focused on sheep and his lamb feeder lots, but when the market for
feeder lambs started to change in 1976, his operation transitioned to a
100-percent cattle feeder lot.
He had around 2,500 yearling heifers, but since the cows
were for feeder lot purposes, the animals constantly were coming and going on
During the ‘90s, the cattle feed lot industry experienced
the same thing the lamb feed lot market went through several years earlier,
Washburn said, which was that farmers were selling the smaller herds for bigger
ones and pulling cattle off of pastures to switch them to high-energy ration
Besides his involvement in production agriculture, he also
has played a key role in not only the IBCA, but also the National Beef
Cattlemen’s Association, and through the organizations, he had the opportunity
to serve on various committees, along with participating in some international
programs, as well.