Dustin and Erin Bender recently participated in the Ohio Cattlemen’s Foundation Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC) as representatives from Morrow County. Dustin and Erin began raising cattle in 2006 with the goal of creating a sustainable grass-fed Angus operation. Dustin is the Vice President of Bender Communications, Inc. while Erin is the Director of Licensing for the Technology Commercialization Office at The Ohio State University. They enjoy being involved in their local cattlemen’s association, where they were past awarded the Morrow County Young Cattlemen of the Year Award.
The 2015 YCC tour was held August 13-15. This year’s three-day leadership development program, with sponsorships from Farm Credit Mid-America and the Ohio Soybean Council, brought together 31 young cattlemen and women from across the state.
The conference kicked off Thursday evening with a dinner sponsored by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, where participants were able to witness the 2015 Ohio State Fair Commercial Cattle Show Carcass Awards ceremony. Guest speaker Dr. John Stika, President of the Certified Angus Beef Brand, LLC, followed the awards presentation with an update on the challenges and opportunities that face the cattle industry today.
Friday morning attendees participated in a spokesperson training program led by Daren Williams, Executive Director of Communications for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Williams led participants through mock television interviews and provided them the tools necessary to effectively share their story with a consumer audience. For lunch, attendees were able to spend time at Cameron Mitchell’s The Pearl restaurant where head chef, Natalie Bidinger, spoke on how the beef checkoff program was benefitting their restaurant. After lunch, participants traveled to the Ohio State House where they met with Representative Brian Hill (97th District), Chair of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. Rep. Hill spoke about current Ohio legislation affecting the beef cattle industry and the future of agriculture in Ohio. That evening, attendees enjoyed dinner and “Beef Night at the Ballpark” events at Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers.
Saturday morning delegates traveled to The Ohio State University where they were led through a mini Beef 509 course taught by Dr. Lyda Garcia, Ohio State University Meat Science professor. The young leaders learned about factors affecting meat quality, grading, price, flavor and tenderness. That afternoon they received a state of the industry update from John Grimes, Ohio State University Extension Beef Coordinator. The update provided a market outlook for the cattle industry for the upcoming months.
In addition, participants learned more about how their beef checkoff dollars are invested in Ohio Beef Council promotional programs to increase the demand for beef. They were also part of a discussion about how the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association advances the policy and regulatory interests of Ohio’s beef industry through advocacy efforts.
The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is a non-profit membership organization that represents the business interests and way of life important to farm families that raise cattle. It serves as the voice and issues manager for all of Ohio’s beef cattle business including cattle breeders, producers and feeders. It is the beef industry’s grassroots policy development organization and is an affiliate of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Young cattle farmers interested in attending the 2016 YCC should contact Emily Jackson at (614) 873-6736 or [email protected] for more information.