by Naomi Loomis
I was nominated to attend a Young Cattlemen’s Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America hosted by Nebraska Cattlemen. I accepted and joined 9 others in the conference.
I will start by saying that my way of thinking is forever changed. I had many emotions during my days in the conference. I have come away with new friends and a better understanding of the entire beef community, the people who raise beef from pasture to plate.
I was so impressed. Everyone that attended had a different story but we all had the same desire: To become BETTER. We are the next generation that is carrying on the Family Farms and Ranches that make up a huge part of Nebraska. I gained a respect for each of the other members.
Our agenda for Day 1 included a tour of the Cargil Meat Solutions a cattle harvest and beef fabrication facility, a Beef 101 at the University of Nebraska, and a tour of Skeeter Barnes Restaurant. We started this day at 7 am, wasn’t sure what all of these tours included but I was ready to conquer it. Today I am so thankful for the opportunity. My reaction to the cattle harvest and fabrication facility is one that I am thankful for all of the hands that God has made so we can have BEEF on our plates. Beef 101 at UNL was something that I needed. I now have more knowledge of different cuts of beef and how we can add value to our product. We ended our night with a tour and a Ssteak at Skeeter Barnes. My heart was overfilled; every place that we toured thanked “US”- the people that make it possible for them to have a job and for making healthy, wholesome beef.
Our agenda for Day 2 included a tour of Cargil Meat Solutions, in Nebraska City, tour of Sysco Corporation, Beef Advocacy Media Training and dinner at the Nebraska Club. Again we started this day at 7. As we toured the Cargil Meat plant, my thoughts kept going back to how important that I was. Why? Because if I don’t take care of my cattle at home, YOU would not be able to have an Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich, a Prime Rib at Christmas, and the list goes on and on. Thank you Cargill Meat Solutions for letting me tour your plant. Beef Advocacy Media Training by Daren Williams added to my thankfulness that I HAVE A STORY TO SHARE. Nebraska Cattlemen’s Vice President, Jeff Rudolph, said in class that behind every corn stalk is a farmer and behind every head of beef is a rancher. I love it! I personally work every day to be a better person. Do YOU? We were showed the new ad that Chipotle showcased at the Grammys. I do not like it and I have voiced my opinion on their website. I did not like how they portrayed the farmer and rancher. If you would like to view it see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos&feature=colike then share your opinion with Chipotle on their website at http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/fan-antics/talk to us/talk to us.aspx. We ended a day with a very good steak at the Nebraska Club with many of the Nebraska Cattlemen staff, and a Beef Check off representative.
Our agenda for Day 3 included attending Legislative Agriculture Breakfast, meeting Lieutenant Governor Sheehy, meeting with the Nebraska of Department of AG, meeting at the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, attending a Nebraska Unicameral Session, lunch with state senators and sitting in on Legislature Hearing. First of all I love the State of Nebraska Capitol. It was amazing and I encourage everyone to tour it. I also was very humbled by this day, because every Senator, Lieutenant Governor Sheehy, Nebraska State Vet, and every other person that we meet at the capital all said Thank you. With every “Thank You” for all you do, my heart swelled a little bit more. People that I think have a more important job were thanking me for what I love to do. I also was so impressed that people were standing up for us. We have no idea how many people are pulling for us. Us, meaning everyone that has anything to do with ag. I gained better understanding of what happens at the capitol. I would like to say “Thank YOU” to all of you.
On my way home from Lincoln I had 400 or so miles to go over and over all of the tours and all of my thoughts, and all that was said, all that wasn’t said but felt and I have came to a conclusion that I am thankful. I am thankful for my opportunity to own cattle and start a product that is healthy and wholesome, something that I feed my family every day: Beef! I am thankful for the men and women that work at the different stages of the product chainand I am thankful for the people that stand behind us in the “Real World.” The world that has no idea where their food comes from. I am also thankful for those that I met at the Young Cattlemen’s Conference. I am thankful that I have the ability to tell my story.
Naomi Loomis is a third generation cow calf producer from the sand hills of Nebraska. Her husband, 4 kids and her own a ranch south of Alliance, Nebraska. They raise Angus cross cattle and run a few yearlings in the summer and fall. Along with cattle they also raise Quarter Horses. They pride themselves with land stewardship and producing beef.
To see more photos of Nebraska’s YCC check out the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Facebook page.