Cattle producers from six states gathered at Michigan State University (MSU) Sept. 22-23 for intensive training during a Cattlemen’s Boot Camp hosted by MSU and the American Angus Association®. Funded through the Angus Foundation, the one-and-a-half-day program included sessions on marketing, herd health, animal welfare and handling, as well as a variety of demonstrations both at the MSU meats lab and purebred beef teaching center.

Justin Ransom, OSI Group LLC, returned to his alma mater to give the keynote address and challenged the more than 40 producers in the room to communicate a positive and consistent message about production agriculture, noting that as today’s population shifts from rural to urban areas fewer people are aware of where their food comes from. Producers therefore need to focus their production models on consumers, Ransom said.

Other program presenters included MSU faculty and staff, Association and Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) staff, as well as representatives of the Michigan Beef Industry Commission, who discussed new value-added beef cuts.

An afternoon at the purebred beef center also gave participants the opportunity to learn more about cattle handling, body condition scoring, permanent identification and live animal evaluation.

“Boot Camps were designed as intensive educational opportunities for cattle producers of all levels to either brush up on their current industry knowledge or learn the basics,” says Shelia Stannard, Association director of activities and events. “This is a great way for the Association and Angus Foundation to partner with universities that have the facilities and industry experts to strengthen producers knowledge for the future.”

Other topics discussed during the Cattlemen’s Boot Camp — the 11th of its kind since the series was introduced in 2005 — included animal welfare; grazing management; genetic abnormalities; cattle processing, injections and implanting; reproductive performance; source verification; bull selection; herd health programs; and marketing through branded programs.

For Dave Powers, Rockford, Mich., the meeting served as a refresher course. Powers completed his first Cattlemen’s Boot Camp in Texas last year and enjoyed it so well, he returned for the Michigan event. Powers said the Boot Camps have equipped him with the tools necessary to make better breeding and marketing decisions.

“I loved going into those meat labs and seeing the process from the ranch to the plate, that was pretty exciting,” Powers said. “It was well worth it for me. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.”

For more information, including schedules for upcoming Boot Camps, watch the American Angus Association web site, www.angus.org, or contact the Activities Department at 816-383-5100.

The American Angus Association is the nation’s largest beef organization, serving more than 30,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.

For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, please visit www.angus.org.