After ten days of intensive leadership training and a three-city tour which showcased every facet of the beef industry, 60 beef leaders have successfully completed NCBA’s 2019 Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC). The event, which is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Elanco, Farm Credit, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, John Deere, Tyson and NCBA (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association), 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 2019 class began its journey in Denver with classroom sessions designed to provide background knowledge about NCBA and the work it conducts on behalf of its members and the beef community. Blake McDonald represented ASA at this year’s event.
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 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 a nearby Safeway flagship store to learn how beef is being marketed to consumers at the retail level, giving the group an in-depth understanding of every aspect of the beef supply chain.
“The market for beef is becoming increasingly complex and it’s important that the next generation of leaders has a complete understanding of how changes in the marketplace impact our product,” said NCBA President-Elect Marty Smith. “The participants in YCC return to their respective state associations and serve in a wide variety of leadership roles and many of them rise to the national level, so providing them with the background knowledge they receive during this trip, helps prepare them for that future in leadership. It’s an important function for NCBA and one we take seriously.”
Visits in Chicago included stops at Hillshire Farms and 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 largest beef patty manufacturers.
The 2019 YCC class finished its whirlwind tour 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.
“This week, we had participants from across the nation, come together both as a class and as leaders, to serve the beef industry. The knowledge and friendships that have been gained over the past 10 days will last a lifetime and each of the 2019 participants will leave their mark on the future,” said 2019 YCC Chair Andy Bishop, a cattleman from Kentucky. “Visiting the offices of 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’ve had this week. After spending time with each of these talented individuals, I’m absolutely confident that the future of the beef industry is bright.”
Look for Blake McDonald’s personal report on YCC in the Register magazine this fall.