August 1, 2017
Many cattle producers don’t often have the opportunity to experience the packing and processing segments of the business. For Dereck Washam, touring the greater Omaha, Neb., packing facility was an eye-opening experience.
“It truly amazed me to see how efficient the entire plant ran by manual labor,” Washam says.
Washam was one of four Missouri cattle producers who joined an elite group of American Angus Association members at the Beef Leaders Institute, held June 19-23. BLI is a pasture-to-plate experience for young leaders in the Angus industry that explores high-quality genetics, performance programs, genomic technology, herd health and Certified Angus Beef. This year’s class consisted of nearly 20 individuals.
Representing Missouri were Coy Young, Young Angus Farm, Blythedale; Washam, Hillside Angus, Pierce City; Jocelyn Washam, Hillside Angus, Wentworth; and Traves Merrick, Gleonda Angus Farms, Miller.
“The week for the Beef Leaders Institute focuses on continuing education in the industry,” says Adam Conover, American Angus Association regional manager. “I think one of the great things BLI offers is the diversity of education over the course of five days, and the opportunity for breeders to network with one another. There are lifelong relationships that stem from the week.”
The event, funded by the Angus Foundation, began at the association headquarters in St. Joseph.
Participants talked with staff and learned how each department works to serve its nearly 25,000 members.
Angus producers work closely with the association to register their cattle, and many association employees are known as voices through the phone to producers. For Merrick, the chance to tour the association gave him a greater understanding of its operations.
Looking at the industry
BLI toured throughout the Midwest and ended in Wooster, Ohio, at CAB headquarters.
Caitlyn Brandt, event coordinator for the association, explains that BLI targets young leaders in the Angus industry, ages 25 to 45.
“BLI is designed to provide Angus producers the opportunity to see all sectors of the beef industry after cattle leave their farms,” Brandt says. “By having the chance to network with other producers, feeders, packers, processors, retailers and other industry experts in the areas of genetics, reproduction and marketing, participants go home with knowledge and information that provides better insight into making production decisions on their operation.”
As the livestock industry continues to become more innovative, it is important for cattle producers to be forward-thinking on their farms, she says.
“Technology changes every day,” Young says. “Genomic technology is always changing. As a producer, you either can stay on top of the change or get left behind. Being able to tour GeneSeek allowed us to better understand our investment in DNA testing. It is money well spent, because GeneSeek keeps up with the technology while trying to make it cost-effective for us as producers.”
For more information on how to participate in the leadership event, visit angus.org. Applications for the 2018 class will be available online starting next winter.
Source: Angus Media
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