Ron Eustice to retire from Beef Council Oct. 1
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 05/30/2012 1:30 PM
The Minnesota Beef Council is seeking a new executive director.
Ron Eustice, who has been the voice of the state's beef industry since he became executive director of the council in 1990, is retiring.
"It's nice to finish my career when I'm on top, when the industry is doing well and it is still exciting to come to work every day," said Eustice, 67.
Several factors played into his decision to retire. He's not getting any younger and he wants time to travel at his own pace. His first granddaughter is due in August and he wants more time to spend with his family. Eustice also wants to continue writing and researching his family history.
"What I'm going to miss is dealing with a crisis and turning it around," Eustice said.
Houston County beef producer Carol Abrahamzon said Eustice's crisis management skills were an asset.
"First and foremost, he's never afraid to get out there and talk about what needs to be talked about," said Abrahamzon, who is also a member of the Minnesota Beef Council.
Eustice is always willing to be right there and right on message, which is so important to the beef industry, she said.
He "never skirted a fight," said Kerry Siekmann, agricultural statistician with USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service Minnesota field office.
Eustice said he made the decision to retire while recuperating from foot surgery last year. He is back in good health, but decided the time was right to retire.
The hardest part was breaking the news to the board. The beef council directors have become his friends.
He's also fortunate to have an excellent staff — Audrey Rodvold, Brian Preiner, Colleen Zenk and Conrad Kvamme have been invaluable.
Rather than face the full board with his decision, he first broke the news to former chairman and close friend Dennis Swan of Balaton to gauge his reaction.
Swan said even though Eustice is retiring, he knows he will keep speaking for agriculture and the beef industry in particular.
"I know that he's going to keep on working for the food safety end of it and he's going to be communicating with lots of people. His communication will not stop because he retired from the Minnesota Beef Council," Swan said.
Eustice feels blessed to choose when to retire. "Many don't get to make that choice," he said.