KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 90 Hereford breeders from 14 states gathered in Scott City, Kan., April 2, to continue learning about the cattle feeding industry as well as look at their own cattle on feed with the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) Fed Steer Shootout Program and the American Hereford Association’s (AHA) Hereford Feedout Program. Hosted by the NJHA at HRC Feed Yards, the field day welcomed both current and future participants in the programs to learn about the cattle feeding industry as well as meat processing and fabrication.
Demonstrations by Cargill Inc., focused on carcass fabrication and processing, encouraging junior members ages 7-22 to learn more about the packing aspect of the beef supply chain, and future careers in the industry. Parents and adults in the Hereford Feedout Program also participated in these workshops, encouraging in-depth conversations and questions about the fabrication process, labor issues, supply and demand, and other issues affecting this sector of the supply chain.
Jarrod Gillig, Cargill Protein North America, President of Business Operations & Supply Chain, spoke about the different ways producers can prepare their cattle for the feedlot and for market, emphasizing that genetics are a key factor in success. “Are you taking your cattle to their genetic potential?” Gillig said. “Then it becomes the feedlot manager’s goal to maximize that genetic potential, so when it moves to us at Cargill, we can evaluate it and see how it grades.”
Junior members spent the noon hour in career panels, with representatives from Cargill, Merck Animal Health and Certified Hereford Beef, discussing careers that range from fabrication manager, sales representatives and marketing coordinator positions. The diverse age range provided thought provoking questions as well as simple explanations to the younger generation, while still exposing them to career options. Simultaneously, adult participants took part in an in-depth market report from Tanner Aherin, Cattle Fax analyst. This workshop provided a spirited discussion about the future of the beef industry.
Following lunch participants in the field day were invited to HRC Feed Yards for tours of the facility and the chance to view their cattle on feed. Participants in the Fed Steer Shootout Program can enter individual cattle, pens of three or pens of five, who will be fed and then processed. Participants receive supplemental educational materials to learn about the industry as well as carcass reports at the end which determine the winners that will be announced at the 2022 AHA Annual Meeting, Oct. 21-23, in Kansas City, Mo.
Lee Mayo, owner and operator of HRC Feed Yards is a Hereford breeder and passionate advocate for the program, who encourages the next generation to see the cattle feeding industry as a viable career option. “It is important to remember that all of us here are part of feeding the world,” Mayo said. “No matter what part of the beef supply chain you are a part, you have a role in feeding the world.”
Entries for the 2023 contest will be accepted until Nov. 1, 2022, with steers delivering to the feed yard the first part of December to begin the feeding phase of the contest.
The National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) is one of the largest, strongest and most active junior cattle programs in the country. Over the years, members of this association have gone on to earn international and domestic respect as models for youth organizational success. The NJHA, through its extensive educational programs, continues to lay the foundation for the beef industry’s future leaders. The traditions of the past coupled with the energy of today’s board of directors have created a progressive approach to further develop a meaningful and educational association focus.