Preparing Young Producers
UI Extension helps prepare the next generation of leaders in the Idaho beef industry
The University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences strives to improve agriculture and the success of agriculturalists across the state through Extension programming.
One event, the Idaho Young Cattle Producer Conference, was created in 2017 to educate and provide young cattle producers with the knowledge and resources they need to be successful in establishing and growing their own operation.
University of Idaho Extension partnered with the Idaho Cattle Association to host the fourth annual conference in June 2020 in Burley.
Jim Church, UI Extension educator in Idaho County and chair of the conference committee, said the conference exposes young producers to all facets of the beef industry in Idaho.
“We bring in cow-calf producers, feeder and stocker producers, feedlot industry representatives, purebred operation managers, packers, and others,” Church said. “We even have sessions with experts on marketing and finance.”
Ashley Moedl, who has a small cow-calf operation in Ririe, participated in the 2020 program. She said she enjoyed meeting and learning from leaders in the industry.
“It was such a valuable experience,” Moedl said. “We were able to network and it’s nice to know we’re not alone in trying to build our operation.”
For the first time in 2020, the conference overlapped with the Idaho Cattle Association’s midyear meeting, which the young cattle producers were able to attend.
“The participants were able to meet the ICA members and some of the seasoned producers in our industry who are just a wealth of knowledge,” said Carmen Willmore, UI Extension educator in Lincoln County and member of the conference committee.
Other committee members include Meranda Small, UI Extension educator in Bingham County, and Sarah Baker, UI Extension educator in Custer County, along with beef producers and agribusiness representatives from across the state.
“It’s really enjoyable to get to see all the segments of the industry come together,” Small said. “We each have our own role. We each have our own challenges and needs and goals, but at the end of the day, we are still one industry. And it’s exciting when we all get the chance to work directly together and meet the next generation of producers.”
Twenty-two participants between the ages of 18 and 40 attended the three-day program and received a graduation certificate upon completion.
The conference is free of charge to participants, who only pay for their travel and lodging. Donations from agribusinesses finance the conference, including support from Simplot, Bayer, Merck Animal Health, Northwest Farm Credit Services and the Magic Valley Cattle Association.
“We couldn’t do it without the sponsorships,” Baker said. “Because of the sponsors’ generosity, participants don’t have to worry about a monetary investment. Their support is invaluable.”
The event was originally developed after the team conducted a needs assessment by talking with cattle producers in Idaho about additional education and outreach activities they would like to see from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences related to beef programming. As a result, producers across the state expressed the need for a program that would teach young cattle producers the ins and outs of the industry.
Plans are underway for the fifth annual conference to be held in summer 2021.
Article by Jean Parrella, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Photos provided by Jim Church, University of Idaho Extension
Published in August 2020