Beef Leaders Institute grants new vision

Farm Forum

Twenty American Angus Association members recently traveled five days across the country for an in-depth industry tour through the Beef Leaders Institute (BLI). Looking to further their knowledge and education, the cattlemen and women experienced a whirlwind week developing relationships and exploring all aspects of beef production, from the feedlot to the consumer.

The Angus Foundation-sponsored event was hosted June 20-24 and started at the Association’s headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo.

“BLI gives Angus producers an inside look at all aspects of the beef industry,” says Chelsey Smith, Association assistant director of events and education. “We connect producers with feeders, packers, processors, retailers and experts in the fields of genetics, reproduction and industry, so they leave the program with knowledge and information to better their operations.”

The mission behind BLI is to provide young producers, between the ages of 25 and 45, the opportunity to network with their peers in the Angus breed, while learning more about their organization and the entire beef business. Participants were selected through an application process and represent bright leaders within the Angus breed.

“Events like this are truly priceless,” says Lindsey Grimes, Saint Joseph, Mo. “They bring everything back into perspective; you learn what is truly important, and you get a refresher on everything from the seedstock side to the packer. It makes you recognize and understand the big picture.”

Throughout the ninth-annual BLI, the group toured throughout the Midwest and ended in Wooster, Ohio, at Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) headquarters. Along the way, participants were able to visit GeneSeek Neogen Operations in Lincoln, Neb.; J’s Steakhouse in Fremont, Neb.; Weborg Feeding Co. in Pender, Neb.; Trans Ova in Sioux City, Iowa; a Tyson beef processing facility in Dakota City, Neb.; Sysco in Cleveland, Ohio; and a retail tour at Buehler’s Milltown in Wooster, Ohio.

Participants were able to experience all areas of the beef business, interact with production experts and develop a larger vision to improve their operations back home.

“You should never be done learning,” says Justin Uhrig, Hermosa, S.D. “As a producer, it is mind-boggling to see how much CAB and the Association have advanced our breed. The dedication they have has created opportunity and advancements for the Angus breed as a whole, and it’s an opportunity that continues to grow.”

Additionally, Grimes said having the opportunity to tour facilities like Trans Ova and CAB was incredible because it shows what her family’s operation aims to produce.

“It makes me a better breeder,” Grimes said. “As producers, we need to keep in mind what will make our customers money, and, ultimately, what will provide the consumer a safe and wholesome product.”

A complete list of 2016 BLI participants follows. For more information on how to participate in the leadership event, visit Applications for the 2017 class will be available online starting next winter.