Buzz and Jean Berney: Distinguished Service Award 2015

Buzz and Jean Berney have given almost 60 years of service, resources, and leadership to the local, state, and national beef industries, WSU, and 4-H and youth programs. They are well known as innovative and progressive ranchers and have the oldest coordinated range plan for a ranch in the state of Washington. The Berney’s outstanding efforts in resource conservation and management have been recognized by the Okanogan Conservation District and the Conconully Chamber of Commerce (Persons of the Year). They were also recipients of the Norm McClure Excellence in Coordinated Resource Management Award.

While ranching and raising a family, the Berneys actively served their community. Buzz was a member of the National Guard and the Okanogan Sheriff’s Department Posse Search and Rescue team where he helped save a number of lives. Jean is a long-time judge for baking, public speaking, demonstrations, and record keeping at county and state levels, and the Washington State Beef Ambassador contest. She also served on the state 4-H Curriculum Review for Foods and Clothing, the state 4-H Leaders Forum, Future of Farming Committee, Wenatchee Valley College at Omak Foundation Board, Intermountain Agriculture Committee Board, and was appointed by Governor Gary Locke as a member of the Transition Team for Agriculture. Jean also educated elementary and high school students about beef nutrition, was a speaker at Farm Fair in Spokane, and was instrumental in promoting the National Beef Cook-Off. She received the Washington State and American National Cattlewoman’s Outstanding Cattlewoman Award and the 50-year 4-H Leader Award.

Buzz and Jean were both students at Washington State College in the 1950s and have been active supporters of WSU ever since. Jean served for seven years as a member of the WSU Agriculture and Home Economics Advisory Council and advised three different Deans. Together, the Berneys were cooperators in our Integrated Resource Management Program, the Wagyu Project, a calf preconditioning project, WSU “Beef SOS”, WSU Project 2020, and also participated in range grass evaluation, assessment of alfalfa varieties, wormer evaluation, yellow star thistle control, and copper and selenium nutrition projects. They have supported Cougar Cattle Feeders by donating a steer every year since its inception. In addition, the Berneys are supporters of the WSU Home Economics Scholarship and are Lifetime WSU Alumni members. Furthermore, Jean’s mother, through a private donation, funded the WSU Extension Position on the Colville Indian Reservation. According to Jean, her mother donated this money, “All because of the WSU presence in our life.”