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Feedout programs provide cattlemen with real-world experience

Feedout programs provide cattlemen with real-world experience

Hereford feedyard

As two of the industry’s leading educational opportunities, the American Hereford Association (AHA) feedout programs offer participants an inside look at the cattle feeding industry and the merits of raising quality cattle.

Developed as a way for cattlemen and women across the country to prove the worth of their genetics, the AHA established the Hereford Feedout Program in 2020 and the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) Fed Steer Shootout contest in 2017, with both programs relocating to HRC Feed Yards, Scott City, Kansas in 2021.

The 2022 Hereford Feedout Program and NJHA Fed Steer Shootout provide breeders the opportunity to collect valuable carcass and performance data, maximize profit potential and expand marketing avenues. Both programs provide participants with a real-world experience in the cattle feeding industry and give a first-hand look into their genetics at work.

Hereford breeder and participant in the Hereford Feedout Program, Darrin Reed, Clay Center, Kansas, advocates for breeders to participate in the program.

“Breeders and commercial cattlemen alike can get the data back to prove what they are doing is working for their operation,” Reed said. “At the end of the day being profitable is the number one goal for commercial cattlemen and registered breeders. You couldn’t ask for an easier program to work with and getting the data back is invaluable information.”

The program has become a valuable asset for breeders to understand how their cattle perform in a feedlot through the data collected. Trey Befort, AHA director of commercial programs, has witnessed the growth of the program since its inception.

“From the beginning our goal has been to provide breeders and junior members the opportunity to better understand the cattle feeding industry through a real-world experience,” Befort said. “The information participants receive on their cattle has become a foundation for the future success of the Hereford breed as producers strive to breed cattle that will perform for commercial cattlemen.”

With future leaders of the beef industry in mind, the NJHA Fed Steer Shootout was developed to provide junior members the opportunity to collect feed yard performance and carcass data while gaining a broad knowledge of the cattle feeding and packing industries during the comprehensive educational contest.

Blake Bruns of North Platte, Nebraska participated in the 2021 NJHA Fed Steer Shootout and attended the inaugural educational field day hosted at HRC Feed Yards.

“It is very important for youth to get involved in programs like these because they learn more about the cattle industry,” Bruns said. “This teaches them so much more about the feedlot, nutrition, feeding steers and caring for them, and opens more career paths for them.”

To participate in the 2022 programs, participants are encouraged to enroll by Nov. 1. All cattle will be delivered to HRC Feed Yards from Dec. 11-15. To properly prepare cattle for the feed yard, interested participants are encouraged to review and follow the suggested preparation protocol developed by HRC Feed Yards.

More information, the enrollment form and the specific protocol for the Hereford Feedout program can be found here. To learn more about the NJHA Fed Steer Shootout visit https://hereford.org/youth/njha-fed-steer-shootout/.

Contact Trey Befort, tbefort@herefordbeef.org with any questions about the programs.

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