Whitestone Farm Named Virginia
2001 Outstanding Seedstock Producer of the Year
Livestock Update, March 2001
Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech
Virginia BCIA is proud to present the 2001 Virginia Outstanding Seedstock Producer Award to Whitestone Farm of Aldie, VA. Whitestone Farm is owned by George Lemm, Robby and Kitty Robertson and Tom and Nancy Andracsek. As general manager and a managing partner, Mark Duffell is responsible for the daily operation of Whitestone Farm that is located in Loudoun County in Northern Virginia. The operation currently encompasses 2300 acres of owned and leased land in the Loudoun County area. This pasture and crop acreage supports the 400-cow registered Angus operation. Since its beginning in 1981 with a set of commercial Angus cattle, Whitestone Farm has grown into a nationally and internationally recognized seedstock operation.
Today, the Whitestone herd consists of 100 registered Angus cows, 40 registered Red Angus cows, and an additional 100 commercial cows that are maintained as embryo recipients. Both fall and spring calving are practiced. The herd is built on the basis of cow families, both through acquisition of top-producing females as well as development of these cow families that carry the Whitestone prefix. The success of the Whitestone program stems from the identification and development of these cow families. An extensive embryo transfer program, which includes a satellite herd of 200 recipients, is utilized to propagate the superior genetics that have been identified. The use of proven, high accuracy bulls AI that meet stringent criteria for economically important traits are selected to compliment the cow families. Special focus has been directed to sires with superior carcass merit. The use of AI and embryo transfer, as well as ultrasonic evaluation of body composition have been key tools for genetic improvement.
Whitestone markets genetics through three annual sales. The fall "Brand of Quality" production sale offers top embryo transfer heifer calves, as well as all three-year-old cows with calves at side. The spring "Pasture Performance-Tested" bull sale offers yearling bulls as well as open yearling heifers. The bulls are evaluated on-farm in large paddocks, with comprehensive performance information collected. The females and bulls offered through these annual sales have been in high demand by both seedstock and commercial cattlemen. Cattle have been sold to nearly every state and the U.S., as well as semen and embryos to Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The 27 bulls that are owned with or leased to AI studs are further testimony to the acceptance and demand of the Whitestone program. Whitestone has also had tremendous success in the showring, having exhibited several ROV Champions. However, their herd goals continue to focus on producing profitable genetics that work for the industry from conception to consumption.
The "Whitestone Influence Feeder Calf and Replacement Heifer Sale" was initiated in 1998. The sale offers feeder calves and replacement heifers sired by Whitestone bulls. Whitestone has worked closely with their customers to develop a documented health, management, and genetic verification program for this sale. This program has provided valuable feedback from bull customers and feeder cattle buyers that is put to use by Whitestone to further improve their genetic program.
Conservation practices and environmental awareness are a priority for Whitestone Farm, and for their efforts they received the 1996 Steward of the Land Award from the American Angus Association and the 1997 Northern Region Outstanding Forage Production Award. Additionally, Whitestone has been the host for numerous tours and educational events, including the NCBA Young Cattleman's Conference and several cooperative extension programs.
Mark Duffell has held several local, state, and national beef industry leadership positions. He is immediate Past President of the Virginia Angus Association, and serves on the Loudoun County Farm Bureau Board. Mark has also been honored at the national and state level as an outstanding manger and herdsman.
The Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association is pleased to present the 2001 Virginia Seedstock Producer of the Year Award to Whitestone Farm.