I want to say a few words about the Beef Cattle Short Course. After my Dad passed away and I was handed the reins to the ranch, I needed help – I needed information – I needed the right relationships for a well-managed, prosperous cattle operation. My Dad was a great cow man – instinctively knew the business. Me??? I had some catching up to do. So one of the first things I did was attend the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course.
This is a 3 day seminar that represents the culmination of knowledge from industry leaders and experts. Each year more than 1,300 beef producers (nationally & internationally) attend BCSC to expand their knowledge and join in the discussion of the most current issues facing the producer. We talk about forage management, nutrition, cattle breeds and genetics, issues affecting landowners (water rights, negotiating oil & gas leases, condemnation of pipelines), cattle marketing, record keeping, pesticide re-certification and brush management seminars with demonstrations, calving issues, reproductive management, whole herd health plans – any topic to make us better stewards of the land and better cow men (and ladies).
The general session always features leading beef cattle experts or an expert from the field of discussion. This year Brian Bledsoe (Southern Livestock Standard Weatherman) will return to talk about the weather outlook. This one session alone was worth everything to us as we headed into and dealt with the drought the past few years. It helped us with planning for the drought – herd liquidation or downsizing – feed requirements. This year we will also have Dr. Bill Mies talk about what the next 10 years look like for the beef industry. Once again – a topic worth discussing so we can better manage our operations.
Then there are the hands on demonstrations – fence building, brush busters, and actual cattle working. The cattle working demonstration is a must – focusing on gathering, sorting, and processing according to Beef Quality Assurance Principles. Proper cattle handling, vaccination procedures, castration, dehorning, and parasite control is demonstrated.
There is also a trade show. Everyone that is anyone in the beef cattle business is there!! You need purebred breeders and associations – they are there!! Drought insurance or farm credit – ranch supplies from fly tags to boots – methods of ranch record keeping and social network marketing – the most updated vaccine information – pesticide and herbicide information – ag equipment from tractors, loading chutes and portable panels, spray equipment – and the list goes on and on!! You need to come see for yourself!!
This year there is a Youth Track Program to teach young people ages 13 to 18 how to learn more about the beef industry and to be effective ambassadors for beef. I think we could all use a lesson in advocacy!!
It is an amazing 3 days. Your registration includes breakfasts and the “Aggie Prime Rib Dinner”. And just in case you are wondering how you will remember everything you see and hear – you are given a manual of the entire proceedings – all the notes, how to’s, information for you to have when you get back to the ranch. This program was one that really helped me get my boots back on the ground – get my hat back in the ring – my head back to ranching. I met so many people who really helped me then and are still helping me today. Ranching requires relationships – and there is no better place to meet the experts and your fellow ranchers all in one place. I have made lifetime friendships at BCSC. I have never met a rancher that I did not learn something from. So if you are looking for the best of the best – see you at the Beef Cattle Short Course in College Station August 4th – August 6th!!