September 25, 2008 – Terry Stokes, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), announced he will resign from his position following the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention, January 31, 2009.
Stokes said representing cattlemen and championing their cause has been the greatest honor and the most fulfilling job of his career, but he explained it also is all-consuming. He said he is looking forward to spending time with his family and exploring new opportunities.
“Terry shared his news with the NCBA officers this morning. I speak for all of them when I say we want Terry to stay. His leadership and commitment to the beef industry are incomparable. Yet, personally, we respect and honor Terry's decision to make this life change. We only hope he continues to contribute to the industry; his leadership is that valuable,” said Andy Groseta, cattle producer, Cottonwood, Ariz., and president, NCBA.
Stokes joined NCBA 12 years ago, in 1996, as chief financial officer. He was appointed CEO in 2002. During his tenure as CEO, NCBA grew revenues 41 percent. Membership grew more than 17 percent in the past three years.
“So much of Terry's work has been behind the scenes. He is not a ‘look-at-me' kind of leader. So I'm not sure how many people realize what a difference he has made to NCBA and the beef industry. That said, I respect his personal decision to find the next mountain to climb,” said Gary Voogt, cattle producer, Marne, Michigan, and president-elect, NCBA. “NCBA deals with every issue the cattle industry faces, and Terry can speak to every single issue. He is amazingly adept at knowing what's going on and what needs to be done,” said Voogt.
Stokes led the NCBA team in its response to the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States, a response that has been credited for maintaining consumer confidence in beef. Since that discovery late 2003, Stokes has dedicated countless hours to working with the U.S. government convincing world leaders to open their borders to U.S. beef.
“Those who have worked with Terry know he is, above all else, a collaborator. He can bring a room of opposing interests and personalities together and find common ground. And that's because Terry is always focused on doing the right thing,” said Steve Foglesong, cattle producer, Astoria, Illinois, and vice president of NCBA. “NCBA has been Terry's extended family, and we are extremely thankful to his family for sharing him as long as they have. This industry and NCBA are better for it,” said Foglesong.
Stokes also directed the development of a strategic plan for NCBA efforts funded by the beef checkoff, focusing on product innovation, nutrition and safety, what he calls the three pillars of demand. Most recently, Stokes ensured the 2008 Farm Bill included cattlemen's top priorities, such as minimizing the record-keeping burden of Country of Origin labeling on producers and securing increased funding for conservation programs.
“NCBA is a stronger association today because Terry has been at the helm. He leaves it with a clear vision: to create a growing, profitable and sustainable beef industry. We will miss his leadership, commitment and passion both to the industry and NCBA,” said Groseta.
“Working with Terry through January next year, we will ensure a seamless transition,” concluded Groseta. NCBA's officers will begin work on a search plan for the next CEO of NCBA.