Kelli grew up on a diversified farm and ranch in southwest Nebraska. She served as vice president of the Nebraska FFA, and then went on to serve as the National FFA President in 1988. Donnell grew up on a ranch in Throckmorton, TX raising beef cattle and Quarter Horses. He served as vice president of Texas 4-H and President of the Texas FFA. He then went on to serve as the National FFA President in 1990. They each traveled a full year to 40 states and several foreign countries as ambassadors for youth in agriculture. They also worked with U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture, USDA and USDE personnel and met U.S. Presidents Reagan and Bush.
Kelli attended the University of Nebraska and then Oklahoma State University to earn a degree in Agriculture Economics. Donnell is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Animal Business. Since graduation they have returned to ranch life, in Throckmorton County and are actively involved in the families’ Registered Cattle Business. They share responsibilities for marketing and advertising, while Kelli is responsible for data management and Donnell for genetic management of the 8 breeds of cattle on the ranch..... Angus, Red Angus, Simmental, Simbrah, SimAngus, Senepol, Senegus, and a new 4-breed composite developed at the R.A. Brown Ranch, named Hotlander. The Brown’s seedstock business has put them on the Cattle Fax listing of the Largest 25 Seedstock breeders the last few years.
R.A. Brown Ranch has been a family business since 1895 and continues to be a leader in raising top quality registered Quarter Horses and registered and commercial cattle. Their working family ranch utilizes over 74,000 acres in Texas and Colorado and maintains records 1,000 head of registered cows, 1,400 commercial cows and 35 Quarter Horse broodmares. The Mission Statement of the ranch is clear: “We are striving to improve the efficiency of converting God’s forage into healthy, nutritious, great tasting beef to better feed His people.”
Kelli and Donnell are very involved in the livestock industry where they are using their leadership skills to help put agriculture in the forefront. Currently they are working on some production agriculture ventures in Brazil & Australia in the next international expansion for the ranch. They both continue to do workshops and speak for agriculture audiences around the world….including for a group of cattlemen in Australia. They are also proud to be driving a brand new Dodge pickup…..courtesy of Texas Farm Bureau for being 2 nd in 2002 in the Texas Young Farmer/Rancher Contest. Kelli is currently serving on the Natl. Board of Directors for the Red Angus Association and the State Board of Directors for the Texas FFA. Donnell will be serving as a voting delegate to the 2004 American Angus Association Annual Meeting. This is the third year they have been asked to help with Changing Seasons. Their workshops and speeches involve humor, personal experiences, facts and thought provoking ideas that entertain and motivate audiences of all ages.
Kelli and Donnell have two sons - Tucker and Lanham - who will make the 5th generation on the ranch to raise “cows, kids and Quarter Horses”.
John and Jennifer Niemann are a dynamic couple from Andale, Kansas. Their agriculture backgrounds, outgoing personalities and interest in young people make them a perfect fit for the Changing Seasons program.
Currently Jennifer’s focus is family time and finances, and her highest calling is the growth and development of their three children – Peyton, age 6, Trace, age 4 and Hillary, age 2. A native Texan, Jennifer was raised on a commercial cow-calf ranch in Dalhart, Texas, and loves to spend time there every chance she gets. She graduated from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, where she received a degree in communications/public relations. She is very involved at Asbury church where she & John are members, helping lead worship on praise and worship teams. She is also involved in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) as the MOPPETS children’s program director for the two 40-member Asbury MOPS groups. Jen enjoys being outside with the kids (she’s currently learning how to not throw a football like a girl), exercising, Bible study and helping with the kids’ sports teams.
Prior to motherhood, she worked for the National FFA Foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana as a Regional Director for corporate support. Prior to FFA, Jennifer worked for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, spending one year in the Washington, D.C. office, working in public relations, followed by four years in the Denver office in fund-raising. Her first job after college was with the Texas Beef Council in Austin, Texas, promoting the Beef Check-off Program and, in her opinion, it was the greatest job ever!
John Niemann’s roots go back to a diversified family farm in Northeast Kansas — which means they had a little of everything, but not much of anything! John served as the Kansas FFA State President in 1989 and KSU Ambassador in 1992. John is an Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity Alumni. After graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in agri-business in 1993, he joined Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, where he spent 8 years in various sales, training & development, new product launches and marketing roles
In 2001 John accepted a position with Cargill Meat Solutions (CMS) Corporation in Wichita, KS as the Brand Manager for Sterling Silver premium meats. John then led the company’s effort of promoting the Excel name as a brand, which covers 80%+ of the product CMS sells to the global marketplace. John is currently the AVP, Business Manager for Branded Beef Programs. John also serves as Chairman of the Kansas FFA Foundation Board of Trustees, sits on his church’s staff parrish board and serves as a volunteer coach for his sons’ basketball and baseball teams. In his spare time he is an avid outdoorsman — including hunting, fishing, landscaping and golf. His favorite things, though, are playing sports with his kids, teaching them the finer points of gardening, including worm and bug catching and taking them to sporting events.
John & Jennifer also enjoy spending time volunteering together at their church. John leads the Sports and Recreation Ministry team and together they team-teach a Crown Financial Ministries class each spring. John, Jennifer, Peyton, Trace and Hillary currently reside outside of Wichita in Andale, Kansas — their home of almost 5 years.