Young Cattlemen's Conference Gives Cattle Producers Total Industry Insight
DENVER - Future cattle industry leaders recently expanded their knowledge of the cattle and beef business, as 47 young cattle producers participated in the 27th annual Young Cattlemen’s Conference tour. The program is a comprehensive, nationwide tour of various industry sectors, designed to enhance leadership skills in young cattle producers. The tour is sponsored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), NCBA state and breed affiliates, Tyson Fresh Meats, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding and John Deere.
Most participants in the 8-day tour were nominated by their respective NCBA affiliates. Additional cattle and beef industry representatives also attended.
“The Young Cattlemen’s Conference is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for participants to enhance their knowledge of the industry and lay the groundwork for leadership roles,” said NCBA President-elect John Queen, a cattle producer from Waynesville, N.C., who traveled with the group “We are dedicated to the industry’s future and committed to developing leadership.”
The tour started at the NCBA headquarters in Denver, with an organizational overview of the association with NCBA’s management team, an industry case study presented by Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, a Cattle-Fax industry outlook session, checkoff program updates and a spokesperson training seminar. Participants also had the opportunity to see the work of the Beef Checkoff Program and sample new beef products currently being developed. While in Denver, the group also toured a Safeway retail store and learned about Rancher’s Reserve brand beef marketing efforts.
Once leaving Colorado, the group stopped in Ulysses, Kan., home of Grant County Feeders, a 112,000-head feed yard. After an extensive tour of the feeding operation and feed mill, the group traveled to Tyson Fresh Meats in South Sioux City, Neb., for a tour of its newly expanded, 5,000-head per day processing plant. The plant offered a fascinating look at a very modern and worker-friendly production line. The group also toured the adjacent hide tannery, for a chance to learn about the added value leather processing brings to the cattle industry. Following these tours, the group received informative presentations from several members of Tyson’s senior management team.
In Chicago, the group met with the senior management and several cattle traders of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. They also toured the trading floor to experience firsthand an active day of futures trading. Participants also visited The Bruss Company, a beef product fabrication facility. This tour offered them a view of how boxed beef is turned into custom order portions for major restaurant chains and some of the nation’s top steakhouses. Their day in the Chicago area also took them to McDonald’s world headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., for a presentation on McDonald’s role in the beef business, and the company’s views on several major issues affecting the beef industry.
The group then traveled to Washington D.C., where participants were greeted at a reception hosted by John Deere. The following morning, the group received an issues briefing from Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas), as well as NCBA’s public policy staff. The participants were then joined by several members of Congress and over 500 Capitol Hill staffers for a Beef Caucus Picnic at the Taft Memorial Park next to the U.S. Capitol.
Later in the day, these future leaders were given the opportunity to visit one-on-one with members of their state’s Congressional delegation, expressing their viewpoints regarding the beef industry and their cattle operations. A particular point of focus on these visits was the effort to permanently repeal the Death Tax, a burden that has saddled the cattle industry for decades.
The group then traveled to Aldie, Va., for a tour and barbeque at Whitestone Farms, one of the nation’s elite purebred Angus operations.
The group also traveled to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and met with several top USDA officials, including Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner, GIPSA Administrator Jim Link, and Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Ag Services Floyd Gaibler. They received an overview of USDA’s role in such issues as trade negotiations, animal identification, and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act. The group enjoyed a lunch hosted by the Canadian Embassy, with a briefing on the important trade relationship between the United States and Canada.
Participants also received a fascinating White House briefing with Barry Jackson, deputy assistant to the President, Keith Hennessey, deputy assistant to the President for economic policy, and Reynolds Kiefer, director of Iraq for the National Security Council.
The group wrapped up the trip later in the evening with Potomac River boat tour, which included an auction in support of the NCBA Political Action Committee.
Participants in the Young Cattlemen’s Conference were: Jim Yance, Columbia, Ala.; Gary Mortimer, Dewey, Ariz.; Clint Victorine, Hydesville, Calif.; Eric Hafenfeld, Weldon, Calif.; Mike Shields, Westcliffe, Colo.; Trevor Tuell, Yuma, Colo.; Jim Peebles, Silver Springs, Fla.; Chuck Joiner, Carrollton, Ga.; Scott Spence, Kamuela, Hawaii; Charles Lyons, Mountain Home, Idaho; Keith Dorty, Freeport, Ill.; Jessica Utesch, Pierson, Iowa; Heather Donley, Ellsworth, Kan.; Matt Perrier, Eureka, Kan.; Kevin Unger, Oberlin, Kan.; Clayton Huseman, Topeka, Kan.
Other participants included: Corinne Kephart, Pleasureville, Ky.; Ted Reichmann, Villard, Minn.; LeAnne Peters, Carthage, Miss.; Merrel Breyer, Richland, Mo.; Jason Camp, Belgrade, Mont.; Trent Loos, Loup City, Neb.; Chris Schluntz, Republican City, Neb.; John Young, Ashby, Neb.; NCBA President-elect John Queen, Waynesville, N.C.; Shammy Rodriguez, Tuscarora, Nev.; Jason Schmidt, Medina, N.D.; Jake Wolfinger, Lancaster, Ohio; Mark Meyer, Creswell, Ore.; and Dan Gross, Mt. Wolf, Penn.;
Additional participants included: Neal Ruhd, Clear Lake, S.D.; Todd Nogelmeier, Dakota Dunes, S.D.; John Foley, Dalhart, Texas; Ed Burr, Jr., Stratford, Texas; Missy Bonds, Saginaw, Texas; Austin Brown, III, Beeville, Texas; Grady Cage, San Antonio,Texas; Jeb Skiles, Hereford, Texas; David Baumann, Amarillo, Texas; 2006 Y.C.C. chairman Paxton Ramsey, Devers, Texas; Ryan Taylor, Moab, Utah; Wes Killion, Boardman, Oregon; and NCBA staffers Marvin Kokes, Rick Husted, Joe Schuele, Jacque Matsen and Stacey Katseanes.
For more information on the NCBA Young Cattlemen’s Conference or to nominate someone for next year’s tour visit www.beefusa.org.