Beef Leaders Institute Grants New Vision
All-encompassing tour gives Angus members insight into farm-to-fork beef production.
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.
BLI Class of 2016
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.”
The 2016 Beef Leadership Institute participants were Derik Arntzen, Hilger, Mont., Bryce Borror, Gerber, Calif., Susanne Bush, Gatesville, Texas, Kyle Grim, Thomasville, Pa., Lindsey Grimes, Saint Joseph, Mo., Jeff Herian, Alliance, Neb., Joe Lowe II, Smiths Grove, Ky., Ryan McConnell, Dix, Neb., Kevin Murnin, Burlington, Colo., Hannah Connealy-Raudsepp, Boston, Mass., George Richburg Jr., Auburn, Ala., Reid Roberts, Sparta, Mo., Eric Still, Lead Hill, Ark., Benjamin Tokach, Saint Anthony, N.D., Nicole Tommell, Fonda, N.Y., Justin Uhrig, Hermosa, S.D., Brent Versemann, Perryville, Mo., Benito Vigil, Espanola, N.M., Tyler Walter, Hudson, Colo., Sally Yon, Ridge Spring, S.C.
Written by: JD Rosman, Angus Media
What is Beef Leaders Institute?
Established in 2007, the Beef Leaders Institute (BLI) was designed for Association members 25-45 years old to provide insight into the beef industry, while enhancing their knowledge of the Association and strengthening leadership skills. It is funded by the Angus Foundation as one of its adult educational activities.
During the three-day event, BLI participants are able to tour a beef harvesting and packing facility, retailer, fabricator, feedlots and other industry segments, including the Association.
The event takes place each June, and applications are due March 1.