J.D. Fitzpatrick, Winchester, KY, will be recognized as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) 2001 Top Hand Club Champion during the 2002 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, in Denver, CO, Feb. 5 to 9.

2001 marked a record year for the 19-year-old Top Hand Club program, which recognizes individuals who are building a stronger association through their membership recruitment efforts. One hundred eighty-seven NCBA members joined the Top Hand Club by recruiting three or more new NCBA members between Oct. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2001.

Fitzpatrick, a cattle order buyer, recruited 80 new NCBA members to become the 2001 Top Hand Club Champion. Close behind was Angus breeder Mark Nelson, Wilton, CA, with 71 new NCBA members. Both men will earn trips to the 2002 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, in Denver, along with other prizes.

The NCBA Top Hand Club program, sponsored exclusively by Merial, rewards recruiters for their efforts with prizes ranging from NCBA apparel and promotional items to Cattle Industry Convention packages. In addition, Top Hand Club members receive red carpet treatment, including preferred seating, at NCBA events.

"Top Hand Club members come from every segment of the industry and in every size, but they are all committed to a strong voice for the beef industry, in Washington, DC," says Mike John, a beef producer, from Huntsville, MO, and chairman of NCBA's Membership and Association Services Committee. "They recognize that only by increasing membership in NCBA can individual producers increase their role, and the industry's role, in our nation's capitol."

The NCBA Top Hand Club program was created in 1982 to recognize those members who continually give their time and efforts to increasing membership. To become a new Top Hand Club member, producers need to recruit three new NCBA members by Sept. 30 of each year. For more information or recruitment tools, contact NCBA's membership department, at 303-694-0305.

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