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Youth Perspective: Beef Industry Issues

amanda-speaking.jpgI spent the earlier part of the week at the 2009 American Jr. Simmental National Classic in Columbus, Indiana, where I gave the motivational welcome speech to start the festivities of a fun cattle event. For this keynote, I spoke to the young group about never abandoning their roots in agriculture, a mistake I made in early high school. Did you know that? Back then, I was absolutely ashamed to live on a cattle ranch, and I was convinced that I would not make a career in the agriculture industry. It's funny how things change, isn't it? In addition to speaking, I also judged the Public Speaking Contest, where more than 250 young people presented their ideas about the issues facing the beef industry today. Every week, BE EF Daily dives into some interesting dialogue about the challenges we face today, but it was an entirely different experience to hear about these challenges from a young person's perspective.

index_1.jpgTopics included: creating an enterprise budget for a cow/calf operation, eliminating animal stress during the winter months, understanding the female reproductive tract, dealing with calf scours, identifying poisonous plants in grazing systems, utilizing vaccines in animal health, selecting and culling females, preparing calves for the feedlot, using feed additives for optimal animal nutrition, conducting breeding soundness exams for herd bulls, combating the animal rights movement, eliminating difficulties during calving season and selecting the correct corral and squeeze chute designs for working cattle.

As these young kids tackled some heavy issues in the industry, I realized that these were some of the best and brightest that would carry on the traditions of beef cattle production. I felt so honored to be able to judge this competition and be a part of an exciting event for Simmental breeders. With kids like these in our industry, the future of agriculture certainly looks bright!

BEEF Daily Quick Fact: Unfortunately, vegetarians are three times more prevalent in today's society than farmers and ranchers. (Source: Trent Loos in his speech at Illinois Beef Association's Summer Conference)

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