Montana’s Bevis attends 2009 Beef Leaders Institute |

Montana’s Bevis attends 2009 Beef Leaders Institute

Bo Bevis of Yellow Water Ranch LLC, Winnett, MT, was one of 20 young members of the American Angus Association selected to participate in the 2009 class of Beef Leaders Institute (BLI), May 31-June 3. BLI is designed to cultivate leaders in the beef industry while enhancing understanding of the total beef production system. This is the second year for BLI, sponsored by the Angus Foundation.

“There were so many things I enjoyed about the 2009 Beef Leaders Institute. If I had to pinpoint it to just one it would have to be the friendships I created. It was really interesting to see the differences in everybody’s operations and in the various parts of the country that everybody was from,” Bevis says. “It was a very geographically diverse group, and I think everyone took something new home with them because of that.”

After an evening and morning of learning more about the American Angus Association and its entities – Angus Productions Inc. (API), Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI), the Angus Foundation and Certified Angus Beef (CAB) LLC – the group loaded a bus and headed north, where they spent two days on tours. Tour locations included Tyson’s beef processing plant, Dakota City, NE; Whole Foods Market, Omaha, NE; Gregory Feedlots Inc., Tabor, IA; Cargill’s Further Processing Facility, Nebraska City, NE; SYSCO Lincoln, Lincoln, NE; the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE; and Gottsch Cattle Company, Red Cloud, NE.

“I really did not think it possible to get served that much knowledge in just four short days,” Bevis adds. “And what a largely diverse network of knowledge it was. Going hand-in-hand with the knowledge was the new experiences, from learning more about the American Angus Association and its structure, to learning about the Association’s entities.

“From there I thoroughly enjoyed touring the Tyson plant at Dakota City. That was a brand new experience to me, and it was a great industry insight to take in. Another fun, new industry insight to take in was touring the Whole Foods Market in Omaha. That was a very interesting experience to say the least. They let us in on some insights about their world and hopefully we let them in on a little about ours.”

Engaging case studies were lead by industry experts in the areas of consumerism and cattle feeding. Tom Field, executive director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, challenged the beef producers to become more aware of what the average consumer faces at the meat counter by assigning them a beef purchasing project prior to BLI. Each producer had to purchase a cut of beef, evaluate the meat counter and beef packaging and prepare the beef.

Tom Brink, senior vice president and chief risk officer for JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, discussed breaking even and capturing the most profit while feeding cattle and walked the group through several marketing grids.

In addition, Mark Allan, associate director, global technical services with Pfizer Animal Genetics, presented information on the future of genomic enabled selection in the beef industry.

“What really sunk in, and what I took home from BLI is this. We need to do something. We need to get involved and start being leaders. Dr. Tom Field had a quote in his presentation by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead that made me laugh and woke me up.

“It said ‘Somebody’s got to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.’ We do need to do something and the time to start doing it is now. At the same time we also need to stay positive and have a good attitude and outlook on what the future holds and what we can do to protect our industry and our way of life. Like my good friend Bill Davis said, ‘they now have drive-up ATM machines with Braille on them, now that’s positive.'”

BLI is an annual event designed for American Angus Association members 25-45 years of age. It is limited to 20 participants to allow for tours and discussion, and is based on application. For more information about BLI, the Association or Angus Foundation, visit

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