Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement recognizes Calkins, Rishel as 2024 honorees

Ronnie Green
The Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement recognized two honorees and inducted eight new members during its annual banquet, held at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln’s East Campus in March.
March 27, 2024

Lincoln, Neb. —The Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement recognized two honorees and inducted eight new members during its annual banquet, held on the University of Nebraska—Lincoln’s East Campus in March.

Founded in 1916, the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement is dedicated to preserving and improving Nebraska Agriculture. Each year, the group recognizes at least one honoree and elects new members. Honorees are recognized for their contributions to Nebraska agriculture.

Honorees celebrated at the 2024 event are:

Chris Calkins, Lincoln. 

Dr. Chris Calkins, a Meat Science Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has made significant contributions to the meat industry over his 40-year career, particularly in beef quality research. His efforts have led to the development of Beef Value Cuts such as the flat iron steak, with a financial impact estimated at $1.5 billion annually. As a technical advisor for the Nebraska Corn Fed Beef program and a key figure in industry advancements, his work has notably enhanced beef quality and industry standards. 

Chris's pioneering research includes the development of an instrument capable of predicting beef tenderness, which has six awarded patents and addresses a potential U.S. market worth over $750 million annually. His focus on sustainability through projects like Wet Distiller's Grains and Beef Quality, along with his dedication to education, mentoring over 50 graduate students, and fostering international collaborations, underscores his commitment to improving both the industry's profitability and meat quality. Chris's contributions have been recognized globally, earning him numerous accolades and establishing his legacy in promoting Nebraska agriculture worldwide.

Bill Rishel, Lincoln.

Bill Rishel's journey in the cattle industry began with his relocation to North Platte, Nebraska, in 1975, where he, along with his wife Barb, founded Rishel Livestock Services, Inc., and established Rishel Angus, a registered herd of Angus cattle. His vision propelled Rishel Angus to prominence, influencing major artificial breeding companies and revolutionizing Angus genetics within the industry. Bill's commitment extended beyond his ranch, holding significant leadership roles in organizations such as the American Angus Association, Certified Angus Beef, and the Nebraska Cattlemen, where he notably contributed to the advancement of the livestock industry and agricultural practices in Nebraska.

Rishel's ethos of servant leadership and dedication to superior Angus genetics have significantly enhanced profitability for his customers, added value to the beef cattle industry, and improved consumer experiences. His holistic approach to agriculture, emphasizing sustainable land management and ethical animal treatment, alongside his global outreach and contributions to genetic evaluation and livestock shows, have garnered him prestigious awards and international recognition. Bill Rishel's legacy is a testament to his impactful service to the land, animals, and the broader community, marking him as a pivotal figure in shaping the future of agriculture and cattle industry. 

During the ceremony, the NHAA inducted eight members for the 2024 year.

New members of NHAA are:

  • Aaron Berger, Kimball
  • David Briggs, Alliance
  • Tom Field, Raymond
  • Kelly Heath, Lincoln
  • Tom Hoegemeyer, Lincoln
  • David Nielsen, Lincoln
  • Loren Taylor, Broken Bow
  • Wes Ulrich, Mitchell

More information on 2024 and previous honorees can be found on the NHAA website,

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