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Kentucky Young Producer Spotlight: SaraVard & Matthew Von Gruenigen

Originally posted on Kentucky Cattlemen’s Young Producers’ Council blog

SaraVard and Matthew on their farm in Garrard County.

SaraVard and Matthew on their farm in Garrard County.

This month’s farm family in the Young Producer spot light is the Von Gruenigen’s.  They run a beef cattle operation in Garrard County consisting of around 90 momma cows and when the market is right they purchase fall feeders. They do commercial cows and influence their herd with whatever pure bred bull will provide the desired genetic improvements. They also put up all their own hay.

Both SaraVard and Matthew also work full time jobs, Matthew at Sherman Williams in Richmond and SaraVard at Ag Credit in Stanford. SaraVard and loves her job and the company and the opportunities that they are able to provide for their customers.

She developed an interest in farming as a child when her grandfather farmed but when he passed away when she was in the 8th grade, the farming operation came to a halt. When she got into high school, she still had a yearning to be involved in agriculture and it was then that she decided to major in the field. She received her undergrad from EKU with a major in Agriculture and a minor in Business and during the end of her schooling, interned for the Kentucky Beef Council.

As I had also interned for the Beef Council, we talked and talked about how life changing the experience was! “My internship opened so many doors for me and I’m forever indebted to all the people at KCA for that opportunity. I made contacts and gained knowledge and experience that I never would have if it weren’t for my internship! It was an invaluable experience that taught me about beef from a consumer standpoint and I am to this day a huge beef advocate! I learned where our check off dollar was going and can honestly say it’s totally worth it. I still have friends and family calling me for beef tips and recipes and Matthew really appreciates all the cooking tips I gained from the experience,” laughs SaraVard.

SaraVard helps on the farm as much as possible and runs the books for the operation. Matthew is more of the farm manager and the day to day care taker. SaraVard calls him the ‘brunt of the farming operation’. He’s been farming with his uncle since “his foot could reach a tractor clutch” and farming has been his passion since that time. His experience speaks for the influence that an experienced farmer can have on a young farmer. “I’m so thankful for all the help I’ve had from my family and my experienced cattle friends! I would never be where I am without them. They’ve done everything from give me advice on the phone to coming out to my farm when I have a sick calf!” He went on to explain that he wished farmers could understand how helpful their advice is to a new farmer and hopes this can inspire more farmers to reach out to farmers who are getting on their feet.

Both SaraVard and Matthew are also excited to network with a group of successful young farmers who can relate more with the struggles of starting out in this generation. “Farming is different now than it used to be,” says Matthew, “these are people who can help us figure out how to overcome the obstacles of farming today, because it’s different than it was even 5 years ago. There’s a lot you can learn through education but there’s a lot you just have to get out there and figure out the hard way. If we can share those things with each other, our jobs will be a whole lot easier.”

SaraVard and Matthew are really working hard to have a successful farming operation and are hoping that the newest addition of their family will carry on the tradition. That’s right! They are expecting a baby boy on Halloween of this year and his name will be ‘Ken Tuck’.

“I’m happy to have a child in a farming environment. There’s so much they can gain from it: work ethic, life skills, family traditions, pride in what your family has done for so many generations and just knowing that you can continue what they’ve started- being a good steward of the land,” says SaraVard.

Feature written by Sara Neumeister

 

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Montana’s Global Reach

BY WALKER MILHOAN, YPC Leadership Board

Oro y Plata

Montana’s state motto represents the riches of this great land of the north. Montana has always been well versed in the pioneering spirit and that tradition continues today. Although the jetliner has replaced the covered wagon, the adventurous nature of the states’ inhabitants is continually taking them to the far reaches of the globe in search of making the job of growing food a bit more profitable, less cumbersome, and more interesting.

The Land Down Under…

945608_10151522406397849_974608673_nIf you haven’t met a rancher from Montana, just wait around a bit and it’s likely that you just might. From Russia to Africa to Australia, Montana’s beef sector has a grasp on nearly the entire world. 

Meet Karoline Rose, founder of Collegiate Stockgrowers at Montana State University. It could be argued that Karoline was the driving force behind the Collegiate Stockgrowers movement all across the country over the last year and a half. Karoline was recently in Australia where she worked on a large beef operation and learned the ways of cattle ranching from an upside-down perspective (that’s a hemispherical joke!).

“There is nothing better than a good set of neighbors.  Rural living here is very similar to the US and I love every minute of it.  We are knees deep in calves and yesterday Pete and Donna came over and tagged calves with us for 2 hours.  The 5 of us worked extremely hard and ended up tagging about 60 calves in 4 hours.  Without their help, we wouldn’t have even driven through every paddock.

You can read more about Karoline’s adventures here.

…Up Above,

1064233_10200896252435849_796907344_oIn Russia, Amy Dellera and Jane’a Elke are helping the Stevenson Sputnik Ranch with Artificial Insemination efforts and getting a little taste of what life is like nearly 6,000 miles from the ranch gate. Russia has been a top destination for Montana’s seed stock producers, and since 2010 nearly 44 of the states’ ranchers have sold live cattle or genetics to Asia’s largest country, clearing nearly $20 million in sales.[1] If that isn’t exciting news, what is?

…and in the Middle!

1014806_10152915889065557_382700201_oOn the African front, yours truly has been to Ghana once already this summer and I will again be returning in August with my brother Trey. Both Trey and myself are undertaking Fellowships as part of Texas Christian University’s – Institute of Ranch Management in an effort to establish relations with Ghanaian businessmen, ranchers, and government officials for the purpose of building a demonstration ranch in the Lower Volta Region of coastal Ghana.

The ranch will be similar to a fully-functioning extension service here in the U.S., and local cattlemen will be able seek assistance, learn production techniques, build livestock budgets, plan grazing rotations, and much more, all through the ranches various fellows that will be attending on a yearly basis. The Institute also plans to send various industry professionals to Ghana with the purpose of providing much needed advice on things such as animal health, genetics, pest control and more.

Back to Montana

So once again, if you haven’t met someone from Montana, wait around for a while and you likely will. As you can see, Montana is representing industry players on a global front. These professionals recognize the the face of a changing global economy, and the importance that will have in the future to the ranchers at home.

 

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2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference Schedule ~ YPC

FROM THE YPC TEAM:
Summer-Conf-logo-2013
The 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference will feature meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, American National CattleWomen, Inc. and National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Here cattle industry members will meet in both NCBA Policy committees and subcommittees, as well as Joint committees and subcommittees to discuss current developments, to work on initiatives developed at Convention and to make plans for the upcoming fiscal year that begins October 1.
CISC is August 7-10 at the Denver Hyatt Regency.
The Young Producers’ Council will meet during the conference and you are invited to attend its meeting and social Thanks to Caterpillar for generously sponsoring the YPC events!  Below is the schedule of events. Please remember to use #CISC13 in your tweets about the conference and feel free to reach us at @BeefUSA and @YPCBeef.
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Wednesday, August 7
 
3-5PM: YPC Leadership Workshop
  • Where: Room Agate AB at the Hyatt Regency Denver
  • Who: YPC Leadership and Task Force Members
  • What: Caterpillar Speakers Chris Cahal and Brad Cofield: “Leadership Skills and Sound Business Decisions in Cyclical Markets”
6:30-8:30ish: YPC Leadership Dinner hosted by Caterpillar
  • WhereWynkoop Brewery – 10 minute walk from the Hyatt.
  • Who: YPC Leadership and Task Force Member
Thursday, August 8
 
3-5PM: YPC Summer Meeting
  • Where: Room 103 at the Colorado Convention Center (across the street from Hyatt Regency Denver)
  • Who: All YPC Members and anybody who wants to become a YPC member. 
  • What: How NCBA Committees Work, How Policy works, and Why It Matters
    • Kent Bacus and Kristina Butts from our DC office will be giving real life examples of how they take NCBA policy and go to work for us on Capital Hill.  NCBA’s CEO, Forrest Roberts, will be wrapping things up.
8-9PM: YPC Social
  • Where: Mineral Hall Foyer at the Hyatt Regency Denver
  • Who: YPC Members and the NCBA Executive Council.
  • What:  Enjoy cocktails (all attendees will receive 1 free drink ticket) and a great view of Denver.
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