New addition to an old tradition

Sep 3, 2010
by WLJ

For more than 56 years, cattle producers from around the world have traveled to College Station to attend the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Short Course. As one of the premier educational beef programs in the country, this year, a special track designed specifically for Texas youth was added to the comprehensive course.

Hosted each year by Texas AgriLife Extension, attendees learn from industry experts in subjects such as ranch management, nutrition, reproduction, genetics, carcass evaluation, record keeping, cattle handling, landowner issues and much more.

"While youth have always been welcome at short course, we wanted to go a step further and tailor some sessions that were more relevant and useful for youth," said Jason Cleere, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist and conference coordinator. "Partnering with the Texas Beef Council (TBC) allowed us to give this group a hands-on look into the beef industry and the critical issues we are facing today."

The unique two-day youth course was led by industry experts covering topics such as beef quality, live cattle evaluation, quality and yield grading, and carcass fabrication. Students also went through a training to learn how to become a beef advocate and utilize online social media tools to tell the beef production story.

In addition to the youth-focused sessions, the group was also able to attend the popular live demonstrations offered at the short course. Students had the choice to observe chute-side calf working, cattle behavior, penning, cattle selection or ranch brush clearing.

"The youth here in Texas play a vital role in the cattle industry’s future," said Jason Bagley, TBC beef quality manager. "The beef checkoff’s leadership has recognized the value in innovative youth programs aimed at training up-and-coming beef producers who will one day be supplying the world with a safe and wholesome product. The checkoff wants to ensure our future beef producers are armed with the beef quality knowledge to make sound management decisions."

For more information on this and other checkoff-funded programs, please visit or call 800/846-4113. — WLJ