(KANSAS CITY) - Mark Gardiner of Ashland, KS, has been elected as the new Chairman of U.S. CattleTrace. He began his one-year term in the volunteer position during the organization's annual symposium November 14-15 in Kansas City. Joe Leathers was elected as the Chair-Elect. Gardiner and Leathers will lead the organization during the next year.
Gardiner's roots in the cattle business trace back to 1885 when Gardiner Angus Ranch was established. He graduated with a degree in animal sciences and industry in 1983 and came back to ranch with his father and brother, Greg, who had already returned to the ranch. In early 2000, he took over management of day-to-day operations managing both a commercial cowherd and an Angus seed stock business.
Gardiner’s commitment to the industry extends beyond U.S. CattleTrace. He played a pivotal role in the creation of U.S. Premium Beef, contributing to its viability for nearly 20 years as the board chairman. Additionally, he has served in various leadership roles, including NCBA Seedstock Chairman, on the American Angus Association board, Irsik & Doll board, along with serving on his local school and church boards.
Having been involved in U.S. CattleTrace since its inception in 2018, Gardiner expresses excitement about bringing the system closer to full operation. Coming from a seedstock background, he sees the interconnectedness of all segments in achieving common goals. Gardiner believes in a collective effort to make the cattle business better and more resilient for future generations.
Joe Leathers of Guthrie, TX, brings decades of experience in the cattle industry. Embarking on his cowboy journey at the age of 19 laid the groundwork for his entry into the 6666 Ranches in 1998. Within the ranch, he has climbed the ranks, advancing from ranch foreman to taking on the position of general manager in 2008.
Much like Gardiner, Leathers servant heart to the industry has led him to volunteer in many capacities and organizations. His involvement with CattleTrace began in 2011. Recognizing the benefits of electronic IDs, Leathers has been actively engaged in the pilot programs and, subsequently, the formation of U.S. CattleTrace. As a member of the board, he emphasizes the importance of a producer-driven approach to developing a voluntary, viable and efficient traceability program.
For more information about the U.S. CattleTrace Board of Directors, visit uscattletrace.org. ###
Caption: Pictured are the 2023 U.S. CattleTrace Chairman Mark Gardiner (right) and Chair-Elect Joe Leathers.