The Nebraska Brand Committee has selected John Widdowson of Kearney, Nebraska as its new Executive Director.
Widdowson is a fifth-generation family farmer and rancher who has been actively involved in ranching most of his life. Widdowson holds a degree in Animals Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has first hand knowledge of the needs of Nebraska's cattle producers. Widdowson has served on the Governor's Ag Committee and has served on the five-member Nebraska Brand Committee since 2015, most recently serving as the Committee's Chair before his resignation from that position to become the Committee's full-time Executive Director. While on the Committee Widdowson spearheaded efforts to modernize the Committee, including the Committee's move to electronic brand record, inspections and recordkeeping.
The vacancy was created by the resignation of former Executive Director Bill Bunce in August of 2017. Since then longtime Committee employee Dave Horton has been serving as the Interim Executive Director. Horton will remain employed by the Committee as its Chief Investigator.
The Committee spent significant time over the past year identifying and selecting its next leader and developing a new Strategic Plan to guide the Committee and its staff in the years to come. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture assisted with the selection process, and the interviews of finalists by the Committee members occurred in early February.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts praised the decision: "Congratualtions to the Brand Committee on the hiring of John Widdowson as the their next executive director. The brand play's an important role in Nebraska's ranching community, and John will do a great job of leading the committee into the future."
Current members of the Nebraska Brand Committee are Vice Chair Adam Sawyer, Bassett; Terry Cone, Burwell; Jay Martindale, Brewster; and Chris Gentry, Hyannis. Governor Ricketts will appoint Widdowson's successor as a voting member of the Committee, and the Committee will hold an election of a new Chair at its next regular meeting scheduled for March 17, 2020 in Broken Bow, Nebraska.