BY JACOB SMITH
I’d like to start out by thanking the Montana Stockgrowers and the Research, Education and Endowment Foundation for selecting me to go on the Young Cattlemen’s Conference trip this year. I had a great time learning and meeting 60 young producers from all over the United States. Our group’s professions included all aspects of the industry, ranging from the cow/calf producers all the way up the chain to people involved in beef retail.
It was a whirlwind trip and a little overwhelming at times, but a great experience. We started out in Denver by introducing ourselves and getting to know each other a little bit. We then spent the next few days learning about the NCBA and performing leadership seminars as well as taking a tour of a JBS feedlot and packing plant. Then we jetted off to Chicago to tour the CBOT/CME(the futures market) and OSI(the company that makes all of McDonalds hamburgers). Next we headed to DC. In DC we learned about the current issues we face as an industry and how we should approach our senators and representatives about these issues. During our free time we were able to take a walking tour of our nation’s monuments.
My favorite part of the trip was being in Washington, DC. I have never been actively involved in politics other than voting, but on this trip we set-up meetings with our Senators and Representatives. We were told beforehand that the meetings would probably be with only the staffers, but I was able to meet personally with Senators Tester and Baucus and with Representative Rehberg. It was great to be able to go in and sit down with them to talk about the issues facing us as an industry nationwide. Additionally, being able to visit about issues we face in our own state was one of the highlights of my time with them. We also had time at the end to just visit about Montana (our favorite state).
I would like to say thank you again to everybody that made it possible for me to go on this trip. If you would like to ask me any questions or have me come give a presentation to your group feel free to contact the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s office for details: (406) 442-3420.