Source: National Cattlemens’ Association news release
Last week, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) program concluded its successful relaunch after a three-year hiatus. This year’s class included 71 leaders from across the nation and every segment of the beef industry. After nine days of intensive leadership training and a five-city tour which showcased every facet of the beef industry, these leaders completed their trip with a full day of representation in Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Elanco, Farm Credit, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, John Deere, Tyson and NCBA, is designed to give participants exposure to the full supply chain. Completion of YCC prepares participants to serve as leaders within their state associations in addition to being advocates for NCBA and the beef community.
The 2023 class began its journey in Denver, Colo., with classroom sessions designed to provide background knowledge about NCBA and the work it conducts on behalf of its members and the beef community. In Denver, participants took part in leadership development sessions, media training, and hands-on demonstrations of the work NCBA does as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. The group also made a visit to Greeley, Colo., to tour Five Rivers Cattle Feeding’s Kuner Feedyard and enjoyed an evening with Trent Johnson and the outstanding staff at Greeley Hat Works.
“The challenges facing cattle and beef producers increase every day. Part of NCBA’s role, and an important part of our success, is the ability to identify and develop leaders while also preparing them to meet these challenges head-on. YCC is a crucial part of this process and we are thankful to each of our sponsors for helping us conduct this important program,” said Wyoming cattle producer and NCBA president-elect Mark Eisele, who also participated in the trip. “Developing the next generation of leaders is just one of the ways that NCBA continues to protect and enhance the cattle business. The YCC program helps participants develop their leadership skills, while also exposing them to the full value chain in a way that not many producers get to experience.”
Eisele noted that the YCC experience allows participants to return to their respective state and breed associations and serve in a wide variety of leadership roles. Many participants then rise to national roles at NCBA and other industry associations, so the background knowledge they gain during this trip helps prepare them for that future in leadership.
“Providing knowledge, information and leadership skills is an important function for NCBA and one we take seriously,” Eisele said.
In Nebraska and Ohio, YCC participants had the opportunity to visit Tyson Food’s Dakota City beef processing plant, the headquarters of Certified Angus Beef and Wendy’s restaurants. Stops in these locations allowed the group to gain a better understanding of the full beef value chain, from processing through marketing and consumer outlets for beef. The 2023 YCC class finished its itinerary in Washington, D.C., where participants learned how NCBA’s policy work impacts their operations and the broader industry. After an in-depth policy issue briefing from NCBA’s lobbyists and staff experts, participants took to Capitol Hill, visiting more than 200 congressional offices to advocate for industry policy priorities.
“Over the past nine days, each member of the class has had the opportunity to better understand the cattle and beef industries and the complex relationships that represent the industry today. In addition, each of us has made connections and had experiences that will benefit us now and in the future. The leadership skills and the knowledge we’ve gained will allow each of us to continue on our leadership journey and provide us with ways that we can give back to the industry that we love,” said 2023 YCC Chair Jake Feddes, a Montana cattle producer. “Visiting the offices of our elected officials in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the issues that affect us, was particularly meaningful for our class and we’re proud of the impact we had on Capitol Hill. After spending time with each of these talented individuals, I’m absolutely confident that the future of the beef industry is bright.”