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Tag Archives: Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association

Nebraska’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference

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.

Naomi Loomis with Daren Williams during MBA training

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.

 

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Bucking the System

by Jaclyn Wilson

With age comes a little bit of wisdom. Case in point, I have a gelding that likes to buck. I use to just jump on and have a little fun with it, but the older I get, it’s not near as fun as it use to be. We have an understanding now. I’ll let him buck it out in the corrals before I get on, as long as he doesn’t tear down the fence. Once in a while his level of understanding has gone a little astray, but for the most part it has been a win/win situation. Yesterday we talked about “if it’s broke, fix it.” Today we are moving onto step #2 “bucking the system.”

I read a quote by Winston Churchill that struck home this morning; “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.” Now I’m not for everybody going out and trying to get a posse of enemies. It might have worked at the OK Corral, but like I said yesterday…”Times, they are a changing.” We are in an industry that I feel is feeling some of the crunch of the national political/economical turmoil, and how we handle that is going to mold the future not only for my generation, but the generations that followed.

NCBA CEO Forest Roberts visited the Cornhusker State this last week. I had the opportunity to sit in on a Q and A session in Alliance-located in the western side on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills. I was impressed with the decorum of the individuals that attended the presentation. Even if they didn’t agree with the answer, or NCBA policy, they remained respectful. The report from the day before was not as encouraging. Evidently a couple of individuals got together and turned the meeting into a spectacle. Am I the only one out there that remembers we are all part of the same industry?? If you are going to voice an opinion let me give a couple of hints. First, keep emotion out of it. Second, do your homework, case in point on a policy that I co-introduced at our NC State Convention last December I had done over 3 months of research. Third, stick with the facts. Fourth, if something irritates you instead of stooping to that level, become a class act. Fifth, anyone can look like an idiot at a given time, try not to. Sixth, whether people agree or disagree, it’s hard to disrespect reason, and Seventh, if all else fails pull out the cattle prod.

If everyone followed the previously mentioned advice, maybe we could start bridging the gap. I’m NOT talking about the producer/consumer gap. I’m talking about the gap that I have the most concern with….the Beef Man to Beef Man gap. Let’s talk hypothetically.

John is head of a business that is not making money. John comes to talk to a group of cattlemen year after year looking for answers. John does not seem to be looking for his own answers. The group gets disgusted with the lack of answers, and comes up with their own. John gets mad. Other cattlemen that aren’t listening in on John’s meeting get upset, because this subject is taboo. Emotion gets involved, other people besides John and the cattlemen get involved and boy for awhile it was ugly. Then something happened. People became educated, they became informed, they got involved, they learned about the cattlemen and their staff/leadership, and that gap between “us” and “them” became smaller. The topic is still emotional to some, but reason is starting to prevail. Margaret Mead said it best; “never doubt that a small group of educated people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

I encourage every cattlemen or cattlewomen out there to “Buck the System” but remember one thing. Know your facts, be a class act, and if your gelding wants to take another spin around the corral, let him, because patience and intelligence prevails.

Jaclyn Wilson is a fifth generation rancher from the Nebraska Sandhills.  She currently serves on the Nebraska Cattlemen Board of Directors and the Nebraska Agriculture Leadership Council.  When she’s not ranching, she writes a blog for Midwest Producer called “Jac’d Up.” 

 

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Opportunity for Young Nebraska Cattlemen & Cattlewomen

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has recently announced they have some open slots available for the 2011 Nebraska Ranch Practicum.  This program allows participants to expand their knowledge of many ranching practices with new angles.  A variety of topics are covered including the effective use of decision support tools to evaluate management and marketing alternatives, plant identification, range conditions and grazing strategies, wildlife management, evaluation of cow body condition scores and beef cattle production systems.  The 2011 Nebraska Ranch Practicum is also available to count for college or continuing education credits.  This is a great opportunity for young cattlemen and women just getting started into farming and ranching. To learn more about the Nebraska Ranch Practicum visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s website and also check out this article from the North Platte Bulletin.

 

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Interview with Nebraska Cattleman, Jim Ramm

By Jesse R. Bussard

I originally first met Jim Ramm, now current President-Elect of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association, back in September of 2010 during NCBA’s Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.  Jim was there, like many other cattlemen and women, learning more about current issues facing our cattle industry and speaking with his state legislators about these issues.

Jim Ramm grew up on his family’s ranch in the Nebraska Sand Hills.  Mainly a cow-calf operation they specialized in Black Angus, selling stocker calves and bred heifers.  Their breeding philosophy was to always add value to the cattle herd.  Keeping the top 1-2% of the bull calves from their herd to sell as breeding bulls was a great example of this strategy.

During his college years, Jim attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Animal Science and was a member of the livestock judging team.  One of my favorite things he shared with me was that in 1969 he served as a National Representative for his Block and Bridle Club at the annual convention held at Penn State University (Go figure, I’m a PSU alumna).

I recently had the chance to interview Jim.  He shared with me some insight into why he’s involved in the cattle industry and his thoughts on some of the current issues facing us today.

Why did you become a member of your state cattlemen’s association and NCBA?  What involvement do you have with these organizations? Why do you think it’s important for other cattle producer’s to become a member?

I always wanted to be involved in the cattle industry. If you want to make changes in how things are done or see how decisions that affect your industry get made,

I currently serve as the President-Elect of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association and am a member of NCBA’s Research, Education, and Innovation Committee.  I became involved with the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association when elected as an area president of a local affiliate and was then asked to serve as the chairman of the Animal Health Committee.  Later I was elected to the state board of directors as a regional director.  After my term on the board of directors, I was asked by the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Foundation to be on their board of directors and also served as President for two years.

It’s important for cattle producers to become engaged in the local cattlemen’s associations.  I always remember the old adage, “He who shows up makes the decisions on how things are done.”  Our legislators are becoming farther and farther removed from agriculture, therefore it is our responsibility to give them input and perspectives into current issues facing our industry.

Why do you think the beef industry is important for your state?

It’s our state’s single largest industry and the engine that powers the state’s economy.  Nebraska has a unique mix of natural resources that allow it to be well-suited for beef cattle production.  The large grasslands of the Sand Hills are suitable for cow-calf and stocker operations.  The Platte Valley’s heavy soils are well-suited for corn production.  Having many ethanol plants in our state also offers us a great feed source, distiller’s grains.  With a large number of feedyards and meat processing plants our state is ideal for raising beef cattle and is centrally located, making it an ideal shipping point for beef from many points in the nation.

What do you hope your State Cattlemen’s Association and NCBA will accomplish in the next year? Next 5 years?

In the next year:  I hope that our state is able to get an upper handle on animal activist groups such as HSUS and PETA.  We will also need to work on eliminating unnecessary regulations that EPA is trying to enforce on farmers and ranchers, such as the proposed dust particulate laws.

In the next 5 years:  Animal activist groups will continue to be an ongoing issue we will have to deal with.  A better line of communication between the farmer or rancher and the consumer needs to continue to be developed.  Keeping Congress informed about current issues facing beef production will be vital to ensure that they make the right decisions for our industry.  In Nebraska, real estate taxes are another hot issue because a large portion of our taxes come from this source.

If you could have coffee with your elected representative in Washington, DC and talk about anything you wanted what would you say?

I would ask about the current status of the GIPSA rule.  USDA still has yet to release an economic analysis of the potential impact of this rule.  Also the proposed regulations from EPA that are affecting agriculture concern me.  Other issues that are important to me are getting the estate tax permanently changed and moving our country away from dependence on foreign oil.  We need to invest in renewable, sustainable fuels research.

I would also like to ask them what their perspective is on the economic future of our country with the ever-growing deficit and high unemployment rates.  It would also be interesting to hear their thoughts on the current presidency compared to the availability and transparency of past presidencies.

In your opinion, what is the best way to connect cattle producers and consumers – both in rural and urban areas?

I believe that the Beef Check-off is currently doing a great job at promoting beef with advertisements and educational events for consumers.  However, as cattle producers we still need to do our part to share our story with the consumer.  Speaking to groups such as community service clubs and in classrooms in urban schools are great examples to get the word out about beef.  Also becoming involved with your state or county’s FFA and 4-H programs is a great way to impact the future of our industry.

What is one of the most important things you’ve learned about beef cattle production while you’ve been involved in the industry?

Probably the thing that stands out the most is how the beef industry keeps evolving.  As producers we need to constantly be aware of animal welfare and continue to work at educating the consumer that U.S. beef is lean, healthy, and safe.

What do you think are the top three issues that affect young cattle producers?

  • The cost of production and amount of capital needed to get started in the beef industry
  • The extreme volatility of the commodity markets
  • Unnecessary government regulations that may potentially be imposed on different segments of the cattle industry (i.e. EPA dust particulate rules, Prop 2 in CA)

Any advice for young producers?

Get involved in your state cattlemen’s organization.  Expand your horizons.  Be aggressive.

Anything else you’d like to say…

By getting involved in your state cattlemen’s association, you will let your voice be heard.  This will help to determine how actions are taken, whether on a state or national level, for regulations that will directly affect your way of life.  By showing up and making your opinion known, you can make a difference.

If you’d like to learn more about Nebraska’s beef industry, check out the Nebraska Beef Council.

 

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HSUS Meets an Average Cattleman

Ever wonder what would happen if HSUS president, Wayne Pacelle, visited an average cattlemen?  Now’s your chance to find out.  Check out this video created by YPC Member, Doug Ferguson from Beatrice, Nebraska.

 

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