Named after the immortal Scotsman in the movie “Highlander”, Connor MacLeod Elliott clearly inherited his father’s public speaking ability. At an early age he also displayed an incredible comprehension of science and nature. At age 5, following one of his many “nature hikes”, Connor found an owl pellet containing the partially digested remains of a shrew. He carefully extracted the skeletal remains and meticulously reconstructed the skeleton. (His mother still has the prize in a glass case on her desk.)
As a high school junior, Connor competed against seniors from all classes of schools throughout Missouri to win 1st place in the FFA’s Advanced Public Speaking competition. Having won the Division I (freshman) contest and third place in Division II (sophomores), he was the first student in contest history to make three consecutive final four appearances. Connor culminated this amazing run as a semifinalist in the National FFA Competition at Louisville, Kentucky. His respective speech topics were biotechnology in agriculture, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and the utilization of ethanol in the production of hydrogen fuel cells.
A gifted academic, Connor graduated in 2006 from Stewartsville C-2 High School with the highest G.P.A. in school history. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where he majored in Animal Science and Captive Wild Animal Management. Connor also attended The University of Pretoria, South Africa, in a six-month University of Missouri Study Abroad Program. There he worked with DVM Justin Benadi, a specialist in exotic and endangered species. Following his junior year, he was admitted to the University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine where he graduated in 2013.
Following Vet School, Connor served an internship with the Laurentian Wildlife Estate near Montreal Canada. He then worked two years with bison specialist Don Woerner, DVM, Laurel, Montana, before accepting a position with the USDA. Connor serves the Colorado Springs region and resides in Durango, Colorado.
Connor is considered one of the nation’s foremost authorities on bison – the official mammal of the United States. He is a lifetime member of the National Bison Association and serves as chairman of the North American Bison Registry Committee.
Connor is a member of the Culberson United Methodist Church and recipient of the Boy Scouts of America God and Family, God and Me, God and Community, and God and Country Awards. He is an Eagle Scout with multiple palms and Keeper of the Sacred Bundle in BSA’s Tribe of Mic-O-Say. His hobbies include mountain biking, fly fishing, and serving as an instructor for West Coast Swing dancing.
Area native, Connor MacLeod Elliott, DVM, was recently named chairman of the North American Bison Registry (NABR) Committee. The appointment was made by National Bison Association President, Dick Gehring of Moundridge, Kansas. Connor assumed the position after DVM Gerald Parsons of Stafford, Oklahoma, announced he would remain on the committee, but step down as chair. Parsons strongly recommended Elliott fill the position.
Elliott previously served as secretary for the committee and supervised development of its record-keeping software. The NABR is comprised of scientists, veterinarians, and bison producers who are dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the American Bison. Its membership consists of persons widely considered to be the foremost authorities on our National Mammal. The Registry is charged with establishing rules and protocols to genetically test and register North America’s bison population.
Connor Elliott’s bison experience started at age 16 when he purchased a few bred cows for his Supervised Agricultural FFA project. He was a student at Stewartsville, Missouri, and initially kept the animals on a family farm near Chillicothe. Connor maintains a small herd today on his father’s farm north of Stewartsville.
Connor attended Chillicothe’s Bishop Hogan and public schools until 2000, when the family moved to DeKalb County. He graduated from Stewartsville High School in 2006 and was a 2013 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine. Connor is the son of DeNeece Saunders and Judge Brent Elliott of Stewartsville, and the grandson of Lucille Head, Chillicothe.
Connor is a lifetime member of the National Bison Association and currently serves as a veterinarian with the USDA in Durango, Colorado. Like many producers, he was fascinated by the results of DNA testing his herd. “I was ecstatic to learn my herd bull is a direct descendant of the Yellowstone herd. We also have cows whose ancestry traces back to South Dakota’s sacred Wind Cave animals and Montana’s National Bison Range herd. “
Connor explained, “DNA testing affords us the opportunity to introduce genetic variety into our herds and develop the traits particular producers want or need. We want to make bison production desirable and profitable, while at the same time preserving the natural characteristics of this magnificent species.”
An estimated 70 million bison once roamed the continent before wholesale slaughtering reduced their numbers to less than one thousand. Restoration efforts and a recent rise in production has raised current North American numbers to nearly one-half million. The population increase is largely attributed to popularity of bison’s lean meat that contains omega 3 compounds like those found in fish oil. In 2016, bison received designation as the National Mammal of the United States, forever solidifying its significance in our country’s history and its future.