Alisha Nord joined an elite group of American Angus Association members by attending the tenth-annual Beef Leaders Institute (BLI) June 19-23. BLI is a complete pasture-to-plate experience for young leaders in the Angus industry that explores quality genetics, performance programs, genomic technology, herd health, the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB) brand and much more. This year’s class consisted of nearly 20 individuals from all areas of the country.
As a fifth generation farmer, Nord attended BLI to learn more about less familiar aspects of the beef industry and network with other Angus producers.
“Whether you’re a young producer or an established producer, getting off the farm and learning different techniques and meeting new people from across the United States is a great way to broaden your horizons and learn new techniques and opportunities within the economy of agriculture,” Nord said.
The five-day event, funded by the Angus Foundation, began in Saint Joseph, Mo., at the Association headquarters. Participants interacted with staff and learned how each department works to serve its nearly 25,000 members.
BLI toured throughout the Midwest and ended in Wooster, Ohio, at the CAB headquarters. Along the way, participants were able to visit GeneSeek Neogen Operations in Lincoln, Neb.; Feller & Co. Cattle Feeder in Wisner, Neb.; Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc. in Omaha, Neb.; Trans Ova in Sioux City, Iowa; a Sysco distribution center in Cleveland, Ohio; and a retail tour at Giant Eagle’s Market District Supermarket in Cleveland, Ohio.
Caitlyn Brandt, event coordinator for the American Angus Association, explains that BLI targets young leaders in the Angus industry, ages 25-45, and gives them opportunities to see all sectors of the industry and how Angus plays a role in each of them.
“BLI is designed to provide Angus producers the opportunity to see all sectors of the beef industry after cattle leave their farms,” Brandt said. “By having the chance to network with other producers, feeders, packers, processors, retailers and other industry experts in the areas of genetics, reproduction and marketing, participants go home with knowledge and information that provides better insight into making production decisions on their operations.”
The Angus Foundation wants to give young producers an opportunity to be open to learning and expanding their knowledge. Nord learned how the different sectors of the beef industry work together towards a common goal.
“There were so many different things I learned at BLI,” Nord said. “Whether that be how precise cuts are made by just one person in an assembly line at a packing plant or learning how to communicate to consumers the quality of Certified Angus Beef and how to properly promote it.”
A complete list of 2017 BLI participants follows. For more information on how to participate in the leadership event, visit www.angus.org. Applications for the 2018 class will be available online starting next winter.
–– Written by Morgan Marley, Angus Media