"The Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame honored Dr. Dee Griffin, director of the Texas Veterinary Medical Center at West Texas A&M University, with its coveted Industry Leadership Award during the ninth annual Hall of Fame induction banquet July 11 in Denver.Dr. Dee Griffin
The annual award is presented to distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service and have made significant contributions to the advancement of the cattle-feeding industry.
“Dr. Griffin is the consummate professional in this business. He conducts himself with integrity, compassion, honor, and a giving spirit,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University. “He is always giving his best to the livestock industries, veterinary medicine, and the State of Texas. We are honored to have him as a faculty member of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) leading the partnership between West Texas A&M and the college.”
Griffin is widely credited with helping found the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, through which he passionately educates veterinarians and producers on animal husbandry, antibiotic stewardship, health management, and other issues related to beef quality.
The BQA program began primarily in response to drug residues, which were a common problem in beef at the time. A concerted industry effort, with Griffin leading the charge, educated producers and veterinarians about antibiotic uses, dosages, extra-label use, and withdrawal times. Griffin also assumed a leadership role in educating veterinarians and producers on proper injection sites, methods, dosages, and other management decisions affecting beef quality. Griffin’s contribution to this and to the reduction in drug residues is applauded industry-wide.
“Dr. Griffin has dedicated his lifetime of service and expertise to the cattle feeding industry, and he truly is passionate about making a difference to the industry and the veterinary community that serves this vital component of agriculture and feeding the world,” said Dr. Dean Hawkins, dean of agriculture and natural sciences at WTAMU. “He is a great ambassador for WTAMU and the CVM. His lifetime of dedication to the feedlot industry makes him more than deserving of this recognition. We are proud of Dr. Griffin and our partnership with the CVM, and this is a prime example of Serving Every Texan Every Day,”
“Even an old dog can catch a bone,” Griffin said. “Cattle and people have treated me and my family far better than I deserve. When they presented me with this award they said, ‘You have given so much.’ The truth is, I have given far less to agriculture and veterinary medicine than they have given me. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve Texas.”
Raised on a cow-calf operation in western Oklahoma, Griffin took an early interest in beef production, which led him to complete his doctor of veterinary medicine degree (DVM) at Oklahoma State University in 1976 and his Master of Science degree in pathology and ruminant nutrition from Purdue University.
Following graduation, he practiced beef-cattle medicine, mostly in feedyard settings, until taking a faculty position at the University of Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Education Center (GPVEC). After 25 years at the GPVEC, Griffin retired in 2016 and assumed a new role as clinical professor and director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center (TVMC), located at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.
“Having a leader like Dr. Griffin at West Texas A&M University ensures the success of our partnership due to his commitment to the cattle industry, passion for veterinary medicine, and dedication to the teaching and service missions of both WT and the CVM,” said Dr. Kenita Rogers, executive associate dean at Texas A&M. “He is a vital part of our initiative to serve the veterinary needs of the Panhandle and be a great partner to the livestock industries in this region.”
Griffin credits some of his early mentors with helping foster what became the BQA philosophy. He worked for Hitch Enterprises in Oklahoma for several years and often quotes that company’s late-CEO Ladd Hitch, saying, “If it is not right, make it right.” He also cites long-time Texas Cattle Feeders Chairman Richard McDonald for developing the original six summary points for BQA, which all fit on a single note card.
“All six points were aimed at following the rules,” Griffin said. “A rule for feeding high-quality, clean, uncontaminated feed; a rule for following the labels for FDA-approved medications; a rule for following USDA-approved vaccines; a rule for following EPA-approved pesticides; a rule for keeping records of product use; and a rule for treating cattle as precious creatures from God. It doesn’t take a complicated book, just thoughtful, responsible cattle management.”
Since its inception in 2009, the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame has celebrated the achievements of pioneering entrepreneurs who helped build the U.S. cattle-feeding sector. In addition to Griffin’s Industry Leadership Award, two cattle-feeder inductees also were recognized."
-Megan Palsa, West Texas A&M University