Family, friends and colleagues can celebrate with Max Deets of Beloit, Kan., Nov. 17 at a tailgate party just outside of Kansas State University's Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The university's Department of Animal Sciences and Industry is hosting the party, culminating two days of honoring Deets as its 2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner. The celebration will begin two hours before K-State's Wildcats meet the Missouri Tigers.
Deets, who manages the Solomon Valley Feedlot, is a past president of the Kansas Livestock Association. Following that position, he served on the board of directors for the Meat Export Federation and the National Cattlemen's Association. He was Beef Industry Council chairman-elect for the National Live Stock and Meat Board when the NCA and NLSMB merged in 1996, forming what's now known as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. He was the new NCBA's elected president the following year.
"Max was and is the voice of cooperation,'" says Ken Odde, head of K-State's Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. "He knows that joining forces doesn't always come easily to cattle producers. But, he's worked hard to break down the barriers between the various industry groups, so they can collaborate, develop a common voice, and become what he calls 'consumer-driven, but producer-controlled.'
"Max has combined this with Kansas common sense, a businesslike approach, and his long-time interest and efforts in practical science. As a result, he has been a real catalyst for positive change in the U.S. cattle industry. We're proud of Max's achievements."
Deets attended K-State after serving with the U.S. Navy during World War II and was a member of the livestock and wool judging teams. In 1949, he also married Marcelyn McCoy; they have six children and six grandchildren.
Max Deets started his professional career, farming in Sumner County until 1955. He then became manager of Ecco Ranch near Buffalo. For most of the 1960s, he switched to cattle finishing on his own, plus doing testing and evaluations for the Beef Improvement Federation and the Hereford and Angus associations. After a brief stint with Ark Valley Feeders in 1969, Deets assumed his current position in 1970.
As manager of the Solomon Valley Feedlot in Beloit, Deets is responsible for the facility's design, construction and operation. As one result, he was involved for all 30 years that the feedlot served as home for the Kansas Bull Test.
His other industry involvements have included the National Beef Board (Kansas chair), NCBA Grading and Inspection Committee (current chair), Livestock and Meat Industry Foundation (board of directors), Beef Referendum Advisory Council, KLA Tax Committee, and KLA Cattle Feeders Council.
"My favorite Max Deets quote may be: 'We'll get the job done by working together and doing a better job than the chicken people,'" says Michael Dikeman, professor of meat science at K-State and chair of his department's Distinguished Alumnus Award committee. "He's spent a good part of his life doing just that."