Conference graduates are prepared to advocate for beef

Following a ten-day tour showcasing every facet of the beef industry, 61 emerging beef leaders successfully completed National Cattleman’s Beef Association’s 2018 Young Cattlemen’s Conference, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Elanco, Farm Credit, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, John Deere, Tyson and the NCBA. Now in its 39th year, YCC is designed to develop and train the next generation of ranchers, beef producers and advocates. The group began its journey in Denver, Colorado, 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 NCBA’s consumer marketing programs. The group made a visit to Greeley, Colorado, to tour Five Rivers Cattle Feeding’s Kuner Feedyard, the JBS processing plant and an opportunity to meet with the executive team at JBS Headquarters. Prior to leaving Denver, participants also stopped at one of Safeway’s flagship stores to learn more about beef marketing at the retail level, giving the group an in-depth understanding of every aspect of the beef supply chain.

“We really strive to give participants the full view of the industry,” said NCBA President-Elect Jennifer Houston, who also participated in the tour. “We know and expect that these individuals are going to go back to their state associations and become leaders within those organizations that are so important to the success of the beef community.”

Visits in Chicago included stops at Hillshire Farms and the new McDonald’s global headquarters office. Participants also gained a behind the scenes look at the manufacturing facilities of OSI, Inc., one of the nation’s premier beef patty manufacturers.

The 2018 YCC class wrapped up in Washington, D.C., where participants learned about the impacts of public policy on their operations. After an in-depth briefing from NCBA’s lobbyists and policy experts, participants took to Capitol Hill, visiting more than 200 congressional offices to advocate for industry policy priorities.

“Those farmers and ranchers out here from states spanning the nation, from Hawaii to Pennsylvania, have told their stories over the course of the past week,” said 2018 YCC Chair Will Mayfield. “Getting into the offices of our elected officials on Capitol Hill to explain how these policies impact our operations is incredible.”