NILE salutes cattle industry as it celebrates 50 years
50 years ago, in 1967, businessmen, cattlemen and industry professionals gathered up with a vision to “Preserve and Embrace Agriculture and the Western Way of Live.” As we celebrate our past and look the future we thank the many people who have been a part of our mission.
This month’s NILE Salutes is the Beef Cattle Industry. For 50 years the cattlemen of Montana and the surrounding regions have supported and promoted the NILE by attending and exhibiting their livestock.
The NILE was founded by some of the most progressive cattlemen and businessmen in the industry. It is only fitting that we salute and Thank all of the many beef producers who have built the NILE into what it is today.
Cattle are a huge part of the NILE, filling up the barn from start to finish, packing the schedule with shows and sales all week long. The 77,400 square foot Expo Center Building is completely full of 14 different cattle breeds. When the NILE started the pens at the Public Auction Yards were utilized. Even though the Expo Center is full, the NILE has grown so much that additional buildings need to be used to fit all the exhibitors. The Montana Pavilion houses the sale ring and the historical Heritage Building houses the Commercial Pen Classic Heifer Show.
At the turn of the century, in 2000 the NILE started the Merit Heifer Program. The purpose of the project is to help youth get a start in the beef cattle business by awarding heifer calves to project participants chosen on the basis of merit, future goals and ability to care for the animal. Kids between 12 and 16 years old can apply for a heifer.
Each program participant will own their calf jointly with NILE until the completion of the program, at which time NILE officials will sign off and the participant will take full ownership of the heifer and her offspring. During the program duration, participants are responsible for raising the heifer, arranging for her to be bred, completing the record keeping procedure and bringing the animal back one year later as a bred replacement heifer for exhibit at the NILE Stock Show.
Over 325 heifers and kids have gone through this program–that’s a lot of future cattle producers who have gotten a leg-up in this industry. That’s also a lot of donors. Generous ranchers have given up one of their heifers for the sake of this program–some giving a heifer multiple years. People like this truly make the cattle industry special and we salute you! The NILE Merit Heifer Program would not be possible without the support of beef producers. Thank you!
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the Oct. 23, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News