New Technologies and Old Techniques Key to Young Producer’s Success

By Brittni Drennan, IBBA Communications Coordinator

Most involved in the cattle industry are aware of a potential threat that began creeping up in the minds of producers across the nation and is gaining speed as it quickly approaches. The question lingering among farmers and producers is, “Who is going to lead the future of agriculture”?

While many producers are ready to hand down the reins of their operations, there are fewer young people willing to take over. However, that does not mean there are not still some out there willing to jump in and give it a try.

Brody Wallis grew up in Atoka located in southeastern Oklahoma and was always drawn to the agriculture industry. He was raised on his family’s small ranch in which a commercial cow-calf operation was in place to manage the property as well as keep family ties to the cattle industry. He then began taking more of an interest in the cattle operation as he was exposed to agriculture through 4-H and showing cattle throughout high school in FFA. He especially enjoyed visiting relatives on larger cattle operations in north Texas where he was able to watch and learn how large-scale commercial cattle ranches operated.

Wallis started college at Oklahoma State University with the intent of practicing large animal veterinary medicine. He later decided that he wanted to be in the beef industry in another capacity. He changed his Animal Science option from pre-vet to business and began taking classes in economics and range management to gain knowledge that would prepare him for a future in the cattle industry. His formal education helped Wallis form the basis for a small herd of cows on his family ranch.

“As a long-term goal, I want to be a producer who can make a positive impact in the industry,” Wallis said. “With an aging industry and aging producers, there are going to be more opportunities for young producers to introduce new ideas and perspectives to advance and grow the industry all while maintaining the values and beliefs that leaders ahead of us instilled.”

Wallis grew up around commercial cow-calf operations, but when he went to college one of his goal was to diversify himself within the beef industry. He worked for the OSU purebred cattle operation while obtaining his bachelor’s degree as well as worked for a year in the OSU meat laboratory on the campus in Stillwater. To gain valuable experience in the cattle feeding industry he worked as an intern for JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding LLC in Hartley, Texas. Wallis is now about to complete his master’s degree at OSU in animal science specializing in ruminant nutrition while doing his research in grazing stocker cattle and subsequent feedyard performance.

“As young people in the industry, we can bring advanced technologies and higher education back to introduce to the operation,” Wallis said. “And with my background and the mentors I’ve had, I want to provide quality genetics to commercial producers whether it’s Brangus bulls and females or crossbred females.

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“Where’s the Seedstock Sector Headed?”

The following article is an opinion piece written by Jacob Mayer on the Cattle Call blog.

A Look into my not so Crystal Ball

By Jacob Mayer

“However, one technology that all too often gets overlooked is beef cattle’s only free lunch – crossbreeding and heterosis. It could be the savior for breed associations as maintaining genetic diversity is critical to the long term success of beef…”

A while back I read a short article by Troy Marshall titled “Where’s the Seedstock Sector Headed?” The piece really got me thinking. Mr. Marshall complimented breed associations for their past successes, looked at the current challenges, and speculated on their role in the future. He also commented that he was opposed to the road the pork industry has taken, which has “rendered [swine breed associations] largely irrelevant.” Long before I had even finished reading, I said to myself, “Isn’t that exactly the direction we are headed?”  Why you ask, well here is why:

Trend #1: Small Number, Large Size: Doing more with less
Trend #2: Eating Inside: Individual animal welfare
Trend #3: Dressed in Black: Too much emphasis on hybrids?

Click here to continue reading the full article and find out more on these three trends. Feel free to comment and leave your opinions for discussion.

Fall 2011 Brangus Sales

Slideshow featuring a few photos from the last few sales including Doguet’s, Salacoa Valley’s, and Magnolia Classic. Feel free to submit your own photos to Brittni Drennan.

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