BLACKSBURG, Va. — Five outstanding industry leaders were inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame during an award ceremony in fall 2023.
The inductees’ portraits joined those of 86 other Hall of Famers permanently hung in the Virginia Tech Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena on Plantation Road in Blacksburg.
Nominees for the award come through the member state commodity organizations, namely the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association, the Virginia Pork Council, the Virginia Horse Council, and the Virginia Sheep Producers Association.
The following are the 2023 inductees:
John Miller, of Bridgewater, Virginia, was an unwavering champion for Virginia’s dairy industry, demonstrating unparalleled passion and commitment. Though Miller passed away in 2023, his leadership and impact on the dairy industry are still evident today. Through his advocacy efforts as executive secretary/treasurer of the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association, he raised awareness about the economic and cultural significance of dairy farming in Virginia. Miller was nominated by the Virginia State Dairyman’s Association.
Nancy and Ken Barnhart, of Williamsburg, Virginia, purchased Angus Semen Service as a fledgling company in 1985. The Barnharts recognized the need and desire of Angus breeders across the U.S. and Canada for a firm to market, sell, and distribute Angus semen across North America. The Barnharts’ commitment to bull owners and customers was a huge contributing factor to their acceptance and growth. Their business model and success helped trigger national and international AI Studs to diversify their marketing beyond dairy and to increase beef bull rosters and promotional catalogs to enhance and expand their efforts in the marketing of beef genetics. The Barnharts were nominated by the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association.
Edward “Skeeter” Hembry, of Warrenton, Virginia, was an expert in quarter horses. He served as an American Quarter Horse Association judge for 25 years in the United States and Canada and his stallions sired champions for decades. As owner and operator of Skeeter’s Custom Leather & Tack Shop for over 50 years, he produced custom Western saddles and touched the lives of many throughout the horse community and beyond. Hembry passed away in 2021 and is remembered for his way, his welcoming smile, and his friendly demeanor. He was nominated by the Virginia Horse Council.
David Shiflett, of Grottoes, Virginia, spent his lifetime providing service to the livestock and agricultural industries in Augusta County and across the commonwealth. A long-time agricultural education teacher, Shiflett has served on numerous agricultural and community boards and provided leadership to the sheep industry through the Virginia Sheep Producers Association, Virginia Sheep Producers Association Seedstock Council, and Virginia Sheep Industry Board. The Shiflett family’s sheep operation is well known for serving the commercial industry. Shiflett’s passion for working with youth through the Virginia Junior Sheep Breeders Association and other entities has had a profound impact on the next generation. Shiflett was nominated by the Virginia Sheep Producers Association.
–Max Esterhuizen, Virginia Tech