Tracy Brunner
Tracy Brunner is the fourth generation on his family operation located in Ramona, Kansas. He has served as president of his family corporation since its inception in 1988. Tracy manages the feedyard and the yearling grazing operation. He also oversees the cattle and grain marketing decisions, commodity risk management, customer relations, and financial reports.Tracy’s family also operates a seed stock enterprise raising bulls and replacement heifers for many ranchers throughout the U.S.
Tracy graduated from Kansas State University in 1978 with a degree in Animal Science and a Master of Agribusiness. Through the years he has held many leadership positions in the beef industry including; Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) President, KLA Executive Committee, Kansas Beef Council Executive Committee, KLA PAC Chairman, KLA Advisory Council and Kansas Governor’s Agriculture Advisory Board.
Not only has Tracy been very active at the state level he has been active at the national level as well. He was the Policy Division Chair in 2009. He was on the Executive Committee from 2005 until 2009 and Tracy served on the NCBA Board from 1998-2011.
Tracy believes good cattle industry leadership focuses on working together to help NCBA members achieve their goals of prosperity and maintaining their lifestyle, through profitable and sustainable farm and ranch businesses.


Dr. Brandon Depenbusch
Brandon earned a Bachelor’s of Science with a major in Animal Sciences and Industry, a Master’s of Science in Ruminant Nutrition, and completed a Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition in 2009 at Kansas State University. As he earned his degrees, Brandon gained valuable experience and training through work at the K-State Beef Cattle Research Center. Brandon is the Vice President of cattle feeding at Irsik and Doll Feed Services, Inc. As well as being a co-founder of U.S CattleTrace.



Dr. Trent Fox
Raised on a farm in south-central Kansas, Dr. Trent Fox’s lifelong interest has been cattle production. Trent received both a Ph.D. in Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and a DVM from Kansas State University, as well as a master of science degree in Ruminant Nutrition from Texas A&M. Trent is a partner and consulting veterinarian with Veterinary Research & Consulting Services, LLC.



Debbie Lyons-Blythe
Debbie is a cattle rancher from the Flint Hills of Kansas. She and her husband, Duane, run 500 head of Angus cattle near the small town of White City. Duane is a banker, so Debbie is in charge of the ranch’s daily activities. They raised five kids on the ranch that was homesteaded in 1890 by Duane’s great great grandfather. In addition, Debbie blogs about their life on the ranch at She feels it is important to give people the opportunity to learn about how beef is raised.
“I began blogging in 2009 to tell some stories of what happens on a ranch and to answer questions from people who don’t live in rural areas. I think the conversation is changing and growing in the past 5 years. There are many more people involved in agriculture that are willing to answer questions. I also found that my blog posts are about three major topics: Kids, Cows and Grass! Those are my passions.”



Dr. M. Gatz Riddell
Gatz Riddell was raised on a homesteaded farm near Conway, Kansas. He received his D.V.M. degree from Kansas State University in 1977. Following an internship and residency at Auburn University from 1977 to 1981, he practiced in Tennessee until returning to Auburn University in 1984. He became a Diplomat of the American College of Theriogenologists in 1982 and received his MS from Auburn in 1984. Dr. Riddell represented the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) on the AVMA Drug Advisory Committee and later served on and chaired AVMA’s Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents. He received the AABP Award of Excellence in 1999. He retired from Auburn University in 2005 as Professor Emeritus and is currently the Executive Vice President of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. He is a Past President of both the AABP and the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC). He lives in Auburn, Alabama and is married to Kay Pelly Riddell and they have three children, Molly, Wes and Jonathan.



Dr. William S. Swafford
Dr. William S. Swafford received a bachelor of science degree in Microbiology and a DVM degree both from Kansas State University. He has extensive experience in a variety of positions in field veterinary services, clinical research, global technical services, corporate management and mixed animal practice. He currently is active as an independent veterinary consultant providing clinical research guidance and field technical support for biological and pharmaceutical product development.
Dr. Swafford is a past President of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants and is currently the AVC Executive Director. He has been a Director on the Western Veterinary Conference Board and is active in AABP and state and local veterinary groups.

Dr. Don Close
Don Close is Chief Research and Analytics Officer at American AgCredit. Prior to joining American AgCredit, Close served as a senior animal protein analyst at Rabo AgriFinance in the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness group and as market director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association in Amarillo, Texas, representing cattle feeders in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. He previously held roles with AzTX Cattle Co. in Hereford, Texas; Future Beef Operations in Parker, Colorado; and PHI Marketing Services at Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa. Close has conducted research on a wide range of topics including confinement cow/calf operations, LFTB, ground beef and development in international trade. He is also a regular speaker for state, national and international livestock groups across North America, Australia and New Zealand. Currently, Close authors bi-monthly columns for the National Cattlemen’s publication and is working on market issues at the intersection of marketing and ag policy. Close is a graduate of West Texas A & M.