During the fifth-annual Beef Leaders Institute, Angus breeders from 11 states were able to experience all aspects of the beef industry – from feedlot to retailer. Hosted by the American Angus Association, the four-day leadership training provides young producers, between 25 and 45 years old, the opportunity to network with others, learn more about the Association and engage in many sectors of the entire beef industry.
"At BLI, we had the unique opportunity to see the Association and learn about its rich history in the cattle business," says Dan Ogren from Langford, S.D. "It's more than that, though. I had the chance to meet new people who are involved in the breed and learn from their experiences and operations."
This year's BLI took place June 17-20, thanks to funding made possible by the Angus Foundation. Twenty Angus producers met in Saint Joseph, Mo., to begin the program with an in-depth tour of the Association. While there, participants heard about the variety of ways the Association works.
"We are encouraged by the bright, up-and-coming leaders of the Angus breed," says Bryce Schumann, Association chief executive officer. "This year's BLI was filled with informative sessions and top-notch tours."
All BLI participants also completed the Master's of Beef Advocacy program, organized by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. They participated in a commencement before beginning their two-day tour across three states.
Throughout BLI travels, they visited Gregory Feedlot, Tabor, Iowa; Tyson, beef processing plant, Dakota City, Neb.; Whole Foods Market, grocery store, Omaha, Neb.; Cargill Meat Solutions, value-added processing plant, Nebraska City, Neb.; and Sysco, food distributor, Lincoln, Neb.
"It was very interesting to see all the aspects of the beef industry," says Brock Foxhoven from Crofton, Neb. "I see the industry through the filter of my cattle and my operation but don't get the chance to see it through the eyes of a feeder or packing plant. BLI expanded my point of view to see the whole picture."