Born in 1929 in Stuart, Neb., Paul Engler took an early jump out of the starting gate and has never looked back. He bought and managed his first 100 head of cattle by the time he was 14. By the age of 15, he started college. He graduated with a degree in agriculture in seven semesters.

It was in 1960 that Engler demonstrated the economic viability of large-scale cattle-feeding operations by becoming the founder, owner and operator of Hereford Feedyard, the first large-scale commercial feedyard in Hereford, Texas.

In 1972, Engler joined the Iowa Beef Producers as the head of carcass division. During his tenure, he initiated the establishment and design the IBP Beef Slaughter Plant at Amarillo, Texas, then the largest beef harvesting plant in the United States.

One of Engler's most notable accomplishments began in 1975, when he founded Cactus Feeders. The company employs more than 500 people in 11 locations across Texas and Kansas. He is credited as the creator of "formula pricing," a method that provides incentives to feeders to consistently produce beef that meets consumer health and quality standards. Formula pricing also is credited with indirectly increasing consumer sales of beef.

During his time at Cactus Feeders, Engler established the first employee stock ownership plan in the fed-cattle industry. He also expanded fed-cattle operations internationally. Since its beginning, the company has been an early adaptor of innovations and new developments ranging from operational efficiencies and safety programs to research and environmental stewardship. Cactus Feeders ranks as one of the 50 largest companies in Texas and is on the Forbes list for top 500 private companies in the United States.

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