Beef Leaders Institute Grants New Vision
Angus BLI Class of 2016 includED: Kevin Murnin, Burlington, CO, Ty Walter, Hudson,CO & Benito Vigil, Espanola, N.M.
Twenty American Angus Association members recently traveled five days across the country for an in-depth industry tour through the Beef Leaders Institute (BLI). Looking to further their knowledge and education, the cattlemen and women experienced a whirlwind week developing relationships and exploring all aspects of beef production, from the feedlot to the consumer.
The Angus Foundation-sponsored event was hosted June 20-24 and started at the Association’s headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo.
“BLI gives Angus producers an inside look at all aspects of the beef industry,” says Chelsey Smith, Association assistant director of events and education. “We connect producers with feeders, packers, processors, retailers and experts in the fields of genetics, reproduction and industry, so they leave the program with knowledge and information to better their operations.”
As a member of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Kevin Murnin understands the importance of furthering one’s education. Murnin believes that staying current on new trends and learning from fellow producers and industry professionals is vital to be successful in the cattle business.
“In terms of education, you can never quit learning,” Murnin said. “It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are at. This beef industry is an ever-changing industry, and there is always something to learn, there is always something you can improve on, there is always something your operation can do better.”
Murnin said that it is important for ranchers to come together and realize everyone helps one another.
“BLI has been a great experience as far as getting to meet a lot of producers from all over the U.S. and seeing what the American Angus Association is doing for us as producers, and what we can do to help them out, as well,” he said.
As a director of the Colorado Angus Association, Ty Walter makes time to work for the organization, as well as manage his family’s farm, Walter Angus. Walter hopes to take the knowledge he gained while attending BLI to implement new technologies into his herd and reach the high-quality beef target.
“BLI really helps bridge the gap between the cow-calf operation and the retail side,” Walter said. “It has been a really good experience, and it is exciting to see our hard work pay off, especially for those who focus on carcass quality.”
As both a commercial and seedstock breeder, Benito Vigil attended BLI to better his knowledge on the entire industry. In order to raise high-quality bulls for his customers, he understands the importance of using technology and tools the American Angus Association has to offer.
“We run a cow-calf operation and just got started with a seedstock operation last fall,” Vigil said. “I wanted to come to further my knowledge of the seedstock industry.”
Vigil said learning about the packing business, branded beef programs, genetic possibilities, and what the association can offer ranchers like him was extremely valuable. He also said seeing the demand for CAB has reinforced the importance of using high-quality genetics.
“I plan to work to put together better bulls in order to create a better end product,” he said.
The mission behind BLI is to provide young producers, between the ages of 25 and 45, the opportunity to network with their peers in the Angus breed, while learning more about their organization and the entire beef business. Participants were selected through an application process and represent bright leaders within the Angus breed.
“Events like this are truly priceless,” says Lindsey Grimes, Saint Joseph, Mo. “They bring everything back into perspective; you learn what is truly important, and you get a refresher on everything from the seedstock side to the packer. It makes you recognize and understand the big picture.”
Throughout the ninth-annual BLI, the group toured throughout the Midwest and ended in Wooster, Ohio, at Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) headquarters. Along the way, participants were able to visit GeneSeek Neogen Operations in Lincoln, Neb.; J’s Steakhouse in Fremont, Neb.; Weborg Feeding Co. in Pender, Neb.; Trans Ova in Sioux City, Iowa; a Tyson beef processing facility in Dakota City, Neb.; Sysco in Cleveland, Ohio; and a retail tour at Buehler’s Milltown in Wooster, Ohio.
Participants were able to experience all areas of the beef business, interact with production experts and develop a larger vision to improve their operations back home.
“You should never be done learning,” says Justin Uhrig, Hermosa, S.D. “As a producer, it is mind-boggling to see how much CAB and the Association have advanced our breed. The dedication they have has created opportunity and advancements for the Angus breed as a whole, and it’s an opportunity that continues to grow.”
Additionally, Grimes said having the opportunity to tour facilities like Trans Ova and CAB was incredible because it shows what her family’s operation aims to produce.
“It makes me a better breeder,” Grimes said. “As producers, we need to keep in mind what will make our customers money, and, ultimately, what will provide the consumer a safe and wholesome product.”
A complete list of 2016 BLI participants follows. For more information on how to participate in the leadership event, visit www.angus.org.Applications for the 2017 class will be available online starting next winter.
— Written by JD Rosman, Angus Media
Beef Leaders Institute – Class of 2016
- Derik Arntzen, Hilger, Mont.
- Bryce Borror, Gerber, Calif.
- Susanne Bush, Gatesville, Texas
- Kyle Grim, Thomasville, Pa.
- Lindsey Grimes, Saint Joseph, Mo.
- Jeff Herian, Alliance, Neb.
- Joe Lowe II, Smiths Grove, Ky.
- Ryan McConnell, Dix, Neb.
- Kevin Murnin, Burlington, Colo.
- Hannah Connealy-Raudsepp, Boston, Mass.
- George Richburg Jr., Auburn, Ala.
- Reid Roberts, Sparta, Mo.
- Eric Still, Lead Hill, Ark.
- Benjamin Tokach, Saint Anthony, N.D.
- Nicole Tommell, Fonda, N.Y.
- Justin Uhrig, Hermosa, S.D.
- Brent Versemann, Perryville, Mo.
- Benito Vigil, Espanola, N.M.
- Tyler Walter, Hudson, Colo.
- Sally Yon, Ridge Spring, S.C.
ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association® is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving more than 25,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.
For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit www.angus.org.