Tom Burke | 2017
Lifelong Angus sale manager, author, speaker, Angus enthusiast, youth supporter and former American Angus Association board member Tom Burke of Platte City, Missouri, has been selected as the 2017 inductee into the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery.
Born | Artist: Richard Steward Halstead (born 1947)
Impact & Accomplishments
Burke grew up on an Angus farm in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, where he showed Angus cattle as a junior, participating in both 4-H and FFA. As a teen, Burke served as both Minnesota State 4-H Club president and as a Minnesota State FFA officer, also serving as a delegate to the 1962 National FFA Convention. He was also named Minnesota Star Farmer in 1960. Burke was a charter member and first president of the Minnesota Junior Angus Association.
“I was an Angus enthusiast from day one,” Burke says. “I liked the breed and the cattle. In that era, you showed cattle more than you do today. There wasn’t much of a performance program—it was all built around what happened in the showring.”
Burke served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1967, and then took a position as a field man for Drover’s Journal, the predecessor to today’s Drover’s beef industry magazine. After two years in that role, he joined the American Angus Hall of Fame in Smithville, Missouri, in 1967. He has served as sale manager for the Hall of Fame ever since, taking over the business in 1972 after the passing of Hall of Fame founder J.B. McCorkle.
Through the years, Burke has remained a staunch Angus breeder and supporter. Today, he owns a herd of 200 registered Angus cows and 40 registered Suffolk ewes.
Burke’s passion for Angus cattle has been a driving force throughout his life.
“My purpose and pleasure has been to see Angus cattle raised on every continent,” Burke says. “One thing I know for sure is that the best Angus cattle and breeders are in North America.”
Burke has been relentless in his service to the Angus breed. At age 16, he served as a delegate to the Association’s annual meeting. In 1972, he was named Missouri Angus Association Man of the Year, and has served as the All-American Angus Breeders Futurity Chairman since that year.
In 2004, Burke received the American Angus Association’s Angus Heritage Award, and his herd was named by the organization as a Historic Herd in 2006. Both the Kansas and Georgia Angus Associations have made him an honorary member. From 2013 to 2016, Burke served on the Association’s Board of Directors, along with the Angus Foundation Board of Directors. In 2017, he served as a U.S. delegate to the World Angus Forum.
In addition to his service to the Angus breed, Burke has an impressive record leading to his induction into the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery, including:
Conducting more than 10,000Angus sales in 47 states, six Canadian provinces, the Caribbean and Scotland
Speaking to students at 20 U.S. Universities and Colleges
Co-authoring nine best-selling Angus books that have been distributed in 20 countries
International Livestock Show Board of Directors, 1974-1975
One of five original lifetime members, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, 1984
National Suffolk Association Board of Directors, 1988-1996, 2005-2008
Named “America’s Most Traveled Person” by USA Today, 1993-1004
Nation Western Stock Show Marketeer of the Year, 1994
Inducted into United Suffolk Breeders Association Hall of Fame, 2014.
Did You Know?
Burke manages the American Angus Hall of Fame in Smithville, MO.
“The future of rural America and agriculture is bright, but it’s our responsibility to feed a hungry world,” Burke says. “We have a lot resting on our shoulders to be efficient enough to feed the world. In 2016, the Angus breed registered 334,000 head of cattle--more than all other beef breeds combined, so we have a lot going for us.”
Courtesy of Drovers Cattle Network