Wiggins new president at ICA
By Kyle Mooty
The recent rains have certainly helped Texas cattlemen, many of whom have sold their cattle or at least reduced their herd sizes due to the drought.
Kerry Wiggins, the new president of the Independent Cattlemen’s Association headquartered in Lockhart, warned, “I don’t think we are there yet.”
Wiggins, who has 46 years in the commercial banking industry, has a small cattle operation in Milam County.
“I heard a rancher say, ‘We don’t need tenths of inches, we need inches of rain,’” Wiggins said. “The state’s livestock business is hopefully seeing the drought subside.”
In July, the Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas (ICA) elected and installed Wiggins of Travis County as President and Chairman of the organization for a term of two-years. Wiggins succeeded Brad Cotton of Wilson County, who served in the same role for the previous two years.
“Brad’s leadership and optimistic approach was critical in navigating through the many challenges the global COVID-19 pandemic imposed on the organization,” ICA said in a press release. “Despite those challenges, Brad’s administration was enormously successful in achieving membership growth at every level while also initiating a complete modernization of the ICA state office.
“Brad’s efforts resulted in a more robust advocacy strategy with state and federal lawmakers and an expansion of the ICA brand. Brad’s legacy as President will be remembered as one that always put the independent producer first. The ICA Family looks forward to his continued involvement and membership on the ICA Executive Committee as Past President.”
ICA’s Executive Director is Cooper Little of Lockhart.
Wiggins said COVID-19, in an of itself, didn’t affect day-to-day fcattle farming, but that it did have a trickle down effect in some ways.
“This is not my day job, but it is my passion,” Wiggins said. “The demand for beef is still strong. The prices are up in the grocery stores but that does not boil down to the ranchers.
“ICA represents rancher operations that are not necessarily the big corporate ranchers that have thousands of head of cattle. Most of ours have 25 or more. We want representation that is fair with our state legislature, such as water quality, taxes, and subsidies.”
In the press release, ICA noted Wiggins had come up through the youth agricultural programs in Texas.
“Wiggins entered the cattle industry at childhood after participating in the Trinity Valley Exposition Calf Scramble,” the release said. “Wiggins used his winnings to purchase a bull for use on his father’s commercial cow herd in exchange for a percentage of the calf crop. As a young man, his passion for the cattle business continued to grow. In addition to assisting in the management of his father’s operation, Wiggins assembled his own commercial cow-calf operation, running roughly two hundred head on leased land in Liberty County.
“In 1973, Wiggins made the decision to liquidate his herd in Liberty County to fund his undergraduate studies at Sam Houston State University. From there, he pursued a graduate degree in banking from Louisiana State University.”
Wiggins is currently a Senior Vice President and the Chief Credit Officer at Horizon Bank in Austin where he is responsible for credit approval and a portfolio quality of greater than $1 billion.
Wiggins is presently a Board member of Rodeo Austin, formerly serving as Rodeo Austin President in 2007. Currently, Wiggins is partnered with Curtis Calhoun in Cal Wig Ranch LLC., a commercial Brangus cow-calf operation located in Milam County.
ICA also noted earlier this month of Producer Owned Beef LLC, a US beef processing facility owned by cattle producers, for their commitment to reversing compensation disparities cattle producers currently face with their newly announced $670-million investment in the first of its kind producer-owned beef processing facility in Amarillo. The facility is designed to process 3,000-plus head of cattle per day and aims to employ nearly 1,600 people from the High Plains region.
Additionally, ICA commended Governor Greg Abbott and the state of Texas for recognizing the need for such a facility by awarding $12.232 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to assist with the capital investment needed to get this state-of-the-art facility online.