James Krantz, of Howard, was recently selected as the 2023 recipient of the South Dakota State University Friend of the Beef Industry award for his contributions to the South Dakota beef industry.
“Humbling best describes my feelings toward this award,” Krantz said. “Our state is extremely fortunate to have numerous individuals, past and present, who have helped construct a beef industry that is so well recognized and respected.”
Krantz graduated from SDSU in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. During his college career, Krantz enjoyed working at the SDSU Meat Lab and being part of the Meat and Livestock Judging teams.
“Not only did my coursework prepare me for a future in the beef industry, but my four years of experience working in the SDSU Meat Lab exposed me to the relationship between the feedlot sector of the industry and the consumer end product,” Krantz said.
Most of Krantz’s direct involvement in the beef industry came from joining the SDSU Cooperative Extension service in 1991. As an SDSU Extension agent, educator and cow-calf field specialist, he was directly involved in the land-grant mission of bringing on-campus and industry research to cattlemen.
Producer commitment to animal well-being was a significant focus area of Krantz’s training sessions as the SDSU Extension cow-calf field specialist.
Krantz also played a key role, along with Mike Barber, SDSU Foundation representative, in generating donor funds for the SDSU Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility. Krantz said that many of South Dakota’s cattlemen saw the need for the facility and provided financial funding for the project.
“I believe that South Dakota cattlemen are respected nationally for the quality of cattle they produce and their contributions to the leadership within the industry,” Krantz said. “Being a beef producer is special to me, especially in South Dakota.”
Presently, Krantz has no professional involvement with SDSU. However, he remains a committed contact and continues to serve the South Dakota 4-H program as a volunteer on the South Dakota State Fair beef committee.
“James Krantz dedicated his career to serving the beef industry as a member of the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service,” said Joseph Cassady, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “Since his retirement, he has continued to support the beef industry with a particular focus on youth activities.”
Krantz has run a commercial cattle operation for over two decades, focusing on raising show steers and heifers for 4-H and FFA youth.
Krantz is an active volunteer helping youth learn more about how to show and judge livestock. He is an avid supporter of these opportunities because he sees young people gain confidence and communication skills, while learning about hard work, decision-making and animal stewardship.
Krantz has impacted the beef industry in a variety of ways. However, he says his favorite success stories are when he provided a producer with one solution or if one youth developed communication skills and improved confidence from participating in livestock judging programs.
“Many cattlemen have been mentors for me, and if I am worthy of this recognition, they have played a role in that merit,” Krantz said. “It would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the role my wife, Deanne, and our children Laura, Melissa, Tara and Rodney have played over the years. They have been there every step of the way to support me in our own cattle operation and my work in Extension.”
Krantz and his family were recognized on the field during the 2023 South Dakota State University Beef Bowl football game on Sept. 9.
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