Six inducted to the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame
Written by A.L. (Ike) Eller Jr.
Six individuals who made significant contributions to their industries were inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame this year. Clockwise from top left: J. Burton Eller Jr., Floyd W. Lofton, Aaron A. Gunn, Randall S. Updike, and Daniel Myers, and Teresa Callender.
The Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame celebrated its 10th anniversary and inducted six individuals to its Blacksburg gallery this fall.
Seventy-two people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the past 10 years. Portraits of these individuals are on permanent display in the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena on the Virginia Tech campus.
Those inducted in the 2019 class represent the statewide beef, dairy, pork, and horse industries and were selected based on their outstanding contributions.
J. Burton Eller Jr., of Warrenton, Virginia, served the beef industry as advocate and as lobbyist and administrator of the National Cattlemen’s Association. He is an expert at coalescing disparate factions in the food, agriculture, and natural resources sectors around the legislative and regulatory issues of mutual benefit.
Aaron A. Gunn (deceased), of Lunenburg County, Virginia, left a legacy through his American saddle horse breeding program. He also made an impact on subsequent generations as they continued their equine ventures with honesty, sportsmanship, and integrity.
Floyd W. Lofton (deceased), of Berryville, Virginia, was an outstanding breeder of Hampshire and Yorkshire hogs who contributed to the improvement of commercial swine in the region. He was recognized by the Virginia Swine Breeders and Virginia Pork Industry Associations. He was very active in his community and was a strong supporter of 4-H livestock programs.
Daniel Myers and Teresa Callender, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, are a superb father and daughter team who operate the Walkup Farms Holstein breeding establishment. They are also well-known as farmers who have a passion for the dairy industry and are well-respected by the community and their fellow producers.
Randall S. Updike, of Washington, Virginia, who worked at Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, developed buyer relations that increased competition for Virginia livestock, guided growth in the Virginia Cattle Feeders Association, and promoted feeder cattle to out-of-state buyers. He also started year-round feeder cattle marketing and oversaw swine exports to South America. He is a noted livestock judge and coached the 1965 national winning livestock team.
The Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 for the purpose of bestowing honor and recognition upon outstanding Virginians who have made significant contributions to Virginia’s livestock industry and its people.