Hans Wittenburg of Edna, Texas was presented the Legends Award by Nolan Ryan during the 57th Annual Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Convention “Beefmasters on the Bay” in Galveston, Texas. The Legends Award was started in 2002 by then BBU president Nolan Ryan and is awarded to members who have been raising Beefmaster cattle for 50 years or more. There have been eight previous Legends Award recipients prior to Hans Wittenburg.
Wittenburg grew up in Lockhart, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry and was commissioned second lieutenant in the United States Army. As a young man fresh out of college, Hans married his wife Mary Ann on January 28, 1951, and went to work for Green Valley Cattle Co. in San Marcos, Texas. During this time, he saw his first Beefmaster cattle, and their performance at the feedlot made a memorable impression on him. After serving in the Army for two years, Wittenburg began working with his father-in-law at John Deere of Edna, Texas in 1955 and he went on to own the John Deere dealership until 1998. During this time he was named Jackson County’s Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year” in 1967 and he became an active member of BBU in 1968 after purchasing his first Beefmasters at a sale in Alice, Texas.
As a Beefmaster breeder he has influenced and paved the way for advancements in the breed for almost fifty years. In 1976, Wittenburg served as the president of the Lone Star Beefmaster Breeders Association and went on to serve on the BBU board of directors for eight years, serving in all officer positions including president. In 1983, Wittenburg was selected as the BBU breeder of the year and also went on to serve a second term on the BBU board of directors. From 1968 until 2015, Wittenburg served as chairman or member of every BBU committee, including a decade of service to the breed improvement committee. In 2003, Wittenburg was inducted into the BBU Hall of Fame and throughout the years has been awarded Jackson County “Rancher of the Year” multiple times. Wittenburg has consigned a number of animals to various Beefmaster sales over the years, ultimately having the good fortune of winning grand champion numerous times at the sales and futurities.
Hans and Mary Ann have three sons Fritz, Randy (wife Joanie), and Joe Mack (wife Beverly) and Hans is the beloved “papa” to ten grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, with two more on the way. Hans Wittenburg is truly a legend within the Beefmaster breed and a well-known man throughout the agriculture community.