Tag Archives: 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show

Beyond the Pasture Gate

by Lance Zimmerman

One of the great things about the NCBA Young Producers’ Council is how it brings together full-time and part-time cattle producers as well as people involved just beyond the pasture gate.

Regardless of the day-to-day tasks that might consume YPC members, the common goal to work on policy issues, member recruitment, personal development and networking creates focus for the organization.

The leadership committee has a variety of activities planned for 2012 that will provide purpose and direction for the group, and I want to encourage everyone to look for ways to get involved.

I talked with a cattleman from Nebraska before the Annual Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, and he shared a concern that I feel is worth mentioning on the YPC blog. His passion for young producers was immediately evident.

He spoke to me about the opportunity for our generation to get involved in NCBA, network with older producers and become engaged in policy discussions. Then, the conversation turned to one of caution. As an established producer, he recognized the family and financial burden it takes to leave an operation for a few days to become engaged in an organization like NCBA.

Airline travel, hotel reservations and convention registrations certainly present a financial burden to many young producers trying to establish their own operations. On top of that, many producers in their 20s and 30s are the only source of labor for their operations. They often have to leave those operations in the hands of extended family and friends.

These are challenges of involvement for any producer, but the producer mentioned the stakes are often raised for young producers that have young families depending on them.

I bring all this front and center because I truly believe the YPC can find answers for these challenges.

First, the YPC provides opportunities that might not require a large travel commitment. The mentor program that was unveiled during the Nashville meetings is a perfect start. You be paired with a mentor in your state who is willing to be a sounding board as you look for guidance and advice.

Also, membership education and recruitment is an opportunity that exists on nearly a daily basis, and policy and beef quality assurance issues are something that producers can champion regardless of timing and location.

Those elements of YPC and NCBA involvement definitely help people stay engaged, but I also think it is important for us to address the challenges of involvement at the national level. The cost to travel to national-level meetings is significant, and YPC took steps toward addressing this in 2011 with its convention registration scholarships.

The council wants to build on this in 2012. I believe there are ways YPC can help members overcome these trials, but we need members to be involved in the discussions. Keep watching your e-mail to get involved in the upcoming YPC task forces. Details will likely also be shared through the YPC blog and facebook page as we get more information.

Healthy discussion regarding these challenges will help the YPC work toward reasonable solutions to encourage involvement at summer meetings in Denver and the 2013 annual meeting in Tampa.


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NCBA Young Producers Council Elects New Leadership

Front Row: Ben Neale, Travis Hoffman, Ansen Pond, Jaclyn Wilson-Demel, Jen Livsey; Back row: Faustine Curry, Evan Tate, Rae Marie Gordon, J.W. Wood, Philip Weltmer

NASHVILLE, TENN. (Feb. 3, 2012) – More than 70 young cattlemen and women from across the nation gathered yesterday to take part in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Young Producers’ Council (YPC) business meeting.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important our industry’s young people are to the future of this organization,” said Bill Donald, outgoing president of NCBA, during comments he made to YPC members. “When I look out at this room, I see the future of our industry.”

A packed meeting agenda included nominating and approving the 2012 YPC executive committee and board of directors. In addition to serving on the board, members will also represent YPC on various NCBA policy committees.

Lance Zimmerman, of Castle Rock, Colo., was elected as chairman. J.W. Wood of Pa’auilo, Hawaii, was elected as vice chair and Travis Hoffman of Fort Collins, Colo., was elected as the council’s secretary. Individuals elected to the YPC board and the NCBA policy committees where they will represent YPC include:

  • Faustine Curry, Texas – Agricultural Policy
  • RaeMarie Gordon, Colo. – Cattle Health and Well Being
  • Sarah Baker, Idaho – Federal Lands
  • Ansen Pond, Texas – Live Cattle Marketing
  • Jen Livsey, Texas – Membership
  • Evan Tate, Ky. – Property Rights and Environmental Management
  • Phillip Weltmer, Kan. – Tax and Credit
  • Jaclyn Wilson-Demel, Neb. – Resolutions

Outgoing chair Ben Neale of McMinnville, Tenn., will serve on the board in an advisory capacity.

In addition to conducting its annual business meeting, YPC members conducted a strategy session with Matt Buyers, vice president of operations and human resources for Five Rivers Feeding.

This year’s meeting was sponsored by Dupont. YPC was established during the 2008 Cattle Industry Summer Conference and was initiated to help NCBA members ages 18 to 35 develop their leadership skills and become more involved in NCBA policy development. The group also helps provide networking opportunities, continuing education and professional development activities.

Membership in the council is free to current NCBA members. For more information, become a fan of YPC on Facebook or


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Cattlemen’s College: 300 Days of Grazing

By Jesse Bussard

Year-round grazing is a concept that many around the country only dream of.  Yet, researchers Tom Troxel PhD, John Jennings PhD, and Shane Gadberry PhD from the University of Arkansas have proven that when implemented with the proper forage and cattle management strategies, a nearly year-round grazing program is possible in some parts of the US.  They elaborated on this impressive system during one of the Grazing and Forage Management Sessions during this morning’s Cattlemen’s College event at the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention.

The concept of the 300 Days of Grazing System developed out of a need to eliminate rising input costs for livestock producers.  Never in the history of our industry have the costs of inputs such as feed, fuel, and fertilizer increased by such a dramatic amount in such a short period of time.  By implementing more efficient pasture, hay, and feeding management producers involved in the program were able to greatly increase savings and decreased harvested forage needs in the herds.

Jennings asked the question “Do you plan and manage for a hay crop?”  He stated that if producers can do this they just as easily plan and manage for a pasture crop.  The basic steps behind the 300 Days of Grazing System include the following:

  • Start with an inventory of your forage base
  • What management practices can you add to increase seasonal grazing
  • Add complimentary forages to fill in seasonal gaps
  • Plan forage/grazing practices ahead for the year.
  • Monitor and adjust the forage and livestock over time as conditions change

The research for this grazing system was conducted in 110 demonstrations in 48 counties across the state of Arkansas.  These consisted of hay management demos looking at trying to reduce storage and feeding losses, stockpiling both warm and cool season forages, implementing rotational grazing systems, using complementary forages like winter and summer annuals, incorporating legumes, and also whole farm demonstrations.  Whole farm demos included both studies conducted on-farm and at University of Arkansas research farms.

With a simple forage management practice of stockpiling forages showed to be a very cost-effective practice.  Average savings for stockpiling Bermudagrass compared to feeding hay averaged $12, $42 and $52 per animal unit (AU; AU = 1000 lb cow) in 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively.  An average savings for stockpiled fescue compared to feeding hay average $42, $54, and $48 per AU in 2008, 2009, and 2010.  The greatest savings was seen on a farm that strip-grazed stockpiled fescue/white clover and did not need to apply fertilizer with a savings of $83.50/AU

Overall producers that participated in the program were able to graze anywhere from 275-335 days throughout the year.  All of this was accomplished by implementing practical forage management tactics such as overseeding legumes, stockpiling forages, and implementing rotational and strip grazing systems.  Total direct reported savings to producers throughout this three year study totaled $191,727.  Benefits in increased cow efficiency and a decrease in direct expenses have proven that utilizing more practical, applied forage management concepts allow cattlemen to minimize inputs leading to an optimization of cattle performance and added profits.


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