Harold Harper, a livestock visionary, was recently honored by CSU’s Department of Animal Sciences as the 2014 Livestock Leader for his exceptional contributions to the sheep and lamb industry.
Harper was recognized at a reception in the newly renovated Animal Sciences Building on Oct. 3 as part of the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Ag Day festivities.
“In many ways, the lamb and sheep industry in Colorado exists as it does today because of Harold Harper,” said Kevin Pond, head of CSU’s Department of Animals Sciences. “He is easily described as an industry pioneer, an entrepreneur, and an innovator. His advocacy and dedication to advancing the sheep and lamb business make him an outstanding choice for our Livestock Leader Award.”
Harper began his career in Colorado livestock in 1974 in Eaton. Throughout the years, Harper has been involved in all aspects of lamb business. From procurement to the fabricated product, he has been involved in one way or another. His entrepreneurial spirit has propelled him to invest in additional agricultural endeavors, including Harper Feedlot, primarily focused on lambs.
Harper also has been a strong supporter and advocate of the sheep industry. His involvement and dedication to such organizations as AGR, Colorado Woolgrowers, National Lamb Feeders Association and the American Sheep Industry Organization has helped the industry grow and tackle difficult issues throughout the years.
Vision for the future
Harper’s son, Mike, joined his father in operating the feedlot in 1988. In this managerial role, Mike Harper started implementing his own vision for the future of his family’s operation. In 2006, they added cattle to the operation. In addition, hay and corn are produced on the feedlot’s acreage to help supplement feeding operations.
Mike has followed in his father’s footsteps of being a strong supporter of the industry. He is a past president of the Colorado Woolgrowers and currently an active member, and he presently holds positions on the National Lamb Feeders and the American Sheep Industry Organizations.
The Harpers’ continued investment and diversification into their business has created a strong foundation that has withstood the challenges of the past and created a strong vision for the future that lies ahead.
Heart and soul
Harold Harper has always given his heart and soul to the sheep industry. The industry has given him a long and rewarding career that continues to this very day.