Call it creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness or just plain old “farm-sense,” but the winners of the 2013 Profit Tips Contest prove once again that improving production practices on the farm and ranch can often be accomplished with simple ideas. This year’s winning tip was submitted by Louie Woodall, Sumner, Texas, who was chosen by a panel of three judges and will receive $500 from Drovers/CattleNetwork. Woodall’s winning entry was a modified squeeze chute designed to keep calves calmer.
Two runners-up in the contest received $250 each for their tips. Michael Jones, Mount Airy, N.C., added clover and other warm-season grasses to fescue pastures to minimize the effect of endophyte-infected fescue. Henry Wilson, Sandersville, Ga., modified a calf feeder by adding a 1-inch-square strip of wood to the inside to prevent spilling.
This years’ judges, Tracy Thomas, Anne Burkholder and Dan Thomson, were asked to evaluate all Profit Tips Contest entries for several criteria. The guidelines suggest that tips can relate to saving money, increasing income, improving cattle performance, reducing labor, reducing stress on the animal or workers, saving time or other valuable beef business tips. Information submitted in the contest should allow readers to apply the tip on their own operations.
Throughout the year, profit tips are sent to Drovers/CattleNetwork. Individuals who submit tips that are published earn $75 and are automatically entered in the annual contest. Tips that are sent via email with a digital photo earn $100 if they are used.
Entries are now being accepted for the 2014 contest. Entries can be mailed or sent via email to email@example.com. Entries must include a high-resolution photo, and a phone number and address for the entrant. Turn to page 26 for more detailed instructions about the 2014 contest.
Tracy Thomas, vice president of marketing, U.S. Premium Beef, helps coordinate unit sales and all marketing and promotional activities associated with U.S. Premium Beef. Previously, he spent 12 years in sales and marketing management with two major pharmaceutical companies, specializing in animal-health products. He also has four years of management experience working in a commercial cattle feedlot near Lyons, Kan. A Kansas native, Thomas is a 1982 graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in animal science.
Anne Burkholder, manager, Will Feed, Cozad, Neb., is a self-described “city girl” who grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla. Burkholder met her husband while attending Dartmouth College and returned to Cozad with him in 1997 to join his family’s farming and cattle-feeding business. She became the first NCBA National Beef Quality Assurance Cattle Producer of the Year in 2009. Her online blog, feedyardfoodie.com, provides the public with accounts of life on the farm and descriptions of what cattle feeders do and why.