Welcome to the FNBA Young Leaders Blog

This is the place to visit to keep up to date on the activities of the FNBA Young Leaders. A variety of media will be available from contest submissions to updates from the FNBA Annual Conference. Check in from time to time to keep up to date on the latest from the Young Leaders from Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States of America.

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FNBA Conference Day 4

October 22, 2015

WELCOME Paraguay and Brazil to the Beef Alliance!

A day full of productive and informative meetings.  The young leaders have been asked for the second year in a row to participate in and attend the business meetings with the executive leadership.  The leadership of each country gave an opening introduction and remarks to begin the meeting.

The first order of business was an affirmative vote to add both Paraguay and Brazil to the Alliance.  With the addition of these two countries the Beef Alliance now represents nearly half of global beef production!  Later in the day we were privileged to have them present information on both of their countries and where they felt participation in The Beef Alliance would most benefit their countries and the alliance.  There was much to be learned.  We have enjoyed the participation of Paraguay and Uruguay in the Young Leaders group.  The leadership of Brazil has asked us great questions about building a Young Leaders program in their country.

Mr. Matt Tripodi from Euromonitor International was the key note speaker today.  His presentation was titled “Success, Opportunity and Challenges in the Global Supermarket.”  There were many slides that were of so much interest the smart phones came out and photos were taken of the slides.  We learned a great deal, primarily that there is going to be increased demand for beef worldwide for years to come.  A few note-worthy statistics:  Worldwide exports have grown nearly $10 Trillion in the past 10 years; a 6MMT increase in beef consumption is projected over the next 5 years = 2.6% increase per year; Asia Pacific and Latin America will account for 90% of beef consumption.  Mr. Tripodi stressed that beef is beef and that we need to be sure to not lose this label to beef-like all plant products and to be involved in the labeling of these products.  In all, it was a great presentation and everyone took something away from it.

The remainder of the day business meeting we covered, discussed and then the presidents of each nation voted on the “Items for Determination.”  We listened to presentations from Brazil and Paraguay.  And lastly, had our official photograph taken.

- American Young Leaders


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FNBA Conference Day 3

21st October 2015

This morning the young leaders got the opportunity to have a breakfast meeting with the Brazil delegates to discuss how each country goes about getting youth involved into agriculture. Each of the nations discussed their approach of encouraging youth engagement as well as the youth’s opinion on succession and the issues that they face getting into the beef industry.

We then visited the property of Tres Maria which is located partway between Durango and Mazaltan.  Durango is well known for its beef production as it exports around 120, 000 calves a year. Durango has just come out of the worst drought in living memory but is now receiving the best weather they have ever had, getting rain at least once a week every week for the last 18 months.

Tres Maria ranch is family owned and operated by two brothers Billy & Gerardo  Estrada who are a third generation on the property. They established an Angus and Brangus stud in 1985 which now consists of 250 stud breeding cows plus bull and heifer replacements on the 1250ha property. The ranch on average receives 500ml of average rainfall which typically falls between June and September. It is 2400 metres above sea level and gets down to -18 degrees in winter.

Their breeding programme consists of calving all year around. The reason why they calve year round is so they have bulls on hand all year as they sell most of their stud stock at local fairs by private treaty. All cows go through An AI process over 2 heat cycles with genetics, some of which they import from Canada, USA but also use local genetics.


The stud is well known and has a great reputation. This  is important throughout Mexico, as business is mainly done with an emphasis on reputation and phenotype rather than buying bulls on expected breeding values. Tres Maria ranch are well known through attending fairs and have had a lot success over time and recent success last weekend winning both the Heifer and Bull champion at the Brangus National Show.

As a stud they focus on producing a moderate size animal to cope with the local Mexican climate, making a more efficient animal compared to the traditional Canada, UK, USA’s bigger frame animals.

Calves are weaned at an average of 250kgLW and grazed on pasture have access to creep feeding where they get given grain. They aim to get their 14 month bulls to 450kgLW by sale date and typically get an average of $4000 for their bulls which includes a $1000 subsidy from the government (which is to encourage bull buyers to use proven genetics. Around 80% of the bulls are sold to breeders and the rest are sold as bull beef.

After the farm tour we were given the opportunity to have a ride on ranches horses.

After Tres Maria, we jumped back on the bus to reach Mazatlán, this was a 3 hour trip, on the main Durango- Mazatlán highway. This recently constructed superhighway through amazing canyon country contains over 60 tunnels and 160 bridges including one of the tallest bridges in the world being over 440m high! We also changed time zones on this trip dropping back an hour.

- New Zealand Young Leaders


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FNBA Conference Day 2

Tuesday 20th October 2015

The first activity for the day was a visit to a regional Angus show held on the outskirts of  Durango. With some of Mexico’s premier Angus breeding establishments presenting their animals the stalls were a hive of activity. Skilled handlers were pampering, clipping, spraying, painting, grooming and preening their animals in preparation for the ring. The facilities cattle were being displayed and shown in were impressive and professional, with spectators also viewing from comfortable stands with excellent service.

Our visit to Durango has coincided with the World Angus Secretariat, hence the showground was awash with Angus connoisseurs with guest judges from around the world  who were very complementary of the standouts in the classes.

The type of animal displayed were of a more moderate frame than those common across our home country of Australia, attributed to the harsh environment which these cattle have been bred to thrive in. The influence of the british and euro breeds in the north of Mexico has hugely changed the quality of the animals being produced in Mexico both for the domestic market and the lucrative live trade into the United States.

From the cattle show we had a short bus trip to the La Granja  Ranch, home of John & Connie Howard. The property was once close to town, but now has housing estates backing up to the walls. The Howards were gracious and entertaining hosts, Johnnys impeccable english, dry sense of humour and intimate knowledge of his business and industry made for a fascinating visit. Johnnys family were originally from Texas and have been ranching in the area for many years, his brothers even branched out to ranching on the Roper River in the Northern Territory, Australia. The current business in Durango operates as a trading operation, buying weaners in at approx 250kg from local producers and are fed on irrigated predominantly rye grass pasture and then a dry feed mix until they are sent out at around 450kg. Steers into the United States is the preferred target market, with the local bull market being marginally profitable at best. Hearing about the intense scrutiny the live cattle go through at the border reminded the Australians very much of our live export processes. All cattle must be individually identified and be identified with an M brand. The males must be castrated and females speyed. The animals must have been TB tested, be free from any parasites and be in a good health without displaying any signs of sickness or injury. If animals are found not to meet any of the requirements then they are rejected. The lady of the house, Connie, hosted a wonderful lunch which included traditional mexican food and drink, live music and a presentation from the esteemed Mezcal distiller Mr Mares.  A vigorous tasting session resulted in some moves on the dance floor and heartfelt thanks from the FNBA crew for their hospitality.

- Australian Young Leaders





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FNBA Day 1

FNBA Day 1

Everyone arrived on Saturday and Sunday anxious to see the area and meet fellow delegates and young ranchers.  We started Monday at


the Durango Convention center with a welcoming message from the Secretary of Agriculture, State of Durango, Fransisco Gamboa Barron.  Each country introduced their delegates and expressed their excitement for the upcoming week and the advancement the FNBA has made since its creation.

A quick wardrobe change and we were on to our next stop.  La Punta ranch, owned by the Saravia brothers.  This was a very historic ranch, with their main operation based out of a hacienda which was constructed in 1573, owned by the family since 1903.  Several family members still live in the hacienda and we were honored to be invited into their home.  The five brothers operate 1500 purebred animals focusing on five breeds, Angus, Hereford, Charolais, Limousin, and Normandy dairy.  We were treated to incredible Mexican steak meal, which was all produced from their operation.

Look for tomorrow’s blog, from Australia, as we are heading off to a dinner and show which I’m sure will include much Tequila!


Signing off,

Team Canada…Eh!!

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FNBA 2015 Young Leaders

The 2015 FNBA Conference is underway in Mexico. Meet this year’s Young Leaders:


Blythe Calnan

Blythe Calnan is the 2013 NAB Cattle Council Rising Champion. Blythe comes from a northern pastoral background and has worked extensively throughout the beef supply chain. Blythe consulted extensively with the live export industry in undertaking risk assessments, training and implementing improvements in animal welfare standards in markets such as the Middle East and Russia and now based in the South West of WA farming beef cattle with her partner across their home and lease blocks. Blythe is passionate about sustainable agriculture and is looking forward to expanding her understanding of the global beef industry and exploring common ground in challenges, opportunities and areas for improvement.


Kevin Stark

Kevin is the winner of the 2015 NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative and is attending his first Young Leaders Program. Kevin operates his Blink Bonnie Hereford and Poll Hereford stud and 700-cow commercial herd with his parents located in Southern Victoria, Australia.  Mr Stark established the Blink Bonnie stud in 2008 on Injemira bloodlines and now runs around 20 registered females, selling bulls into district commercial herds .Progeny are grown out on irrigated Lucerne or Ryegrass pastures and sold over the hooks to Teys Australia, JBS Australia, Coles or the EU market. Kevin is looking forward to learning about international issues and policies as well as networking with fellow producers.


Sam Becker

Sam was the 2014 Nab Agribusiness Rising Champion. His family operation Jarrah Cattle Company is located in Central QLD, Australia. Consisting of a commercial backgrounding and seed stock program. His family have developed a tropically adapted herd that has three tiers of beef cattle, being Pure Modern Herefords, Redfords and Jarrah Reds, the clean-coated flatback which combines the Redfords and elite Santa Gertrudis genetics. Sam is involved with his state AgForce Queensland youth program as the Youth Director. Sam is looking forward to networking and learning about other countries current issues. This is Sam’s second year attending the Young Leaders program



Breeanna Kelln

Breeanna grew up on a mixed farm near Duval, SK and this is where she developed her passion for agriculture.  She and her husband, Greg Hill, along with son Emmett, continue to live near Duval and own a commercial cow-calf and back-grounding operation.  Breeanna attended the University of Saskatchewan, where she obtained  Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Animal Science.  Her MSc. research was done at the Western Beef Development Center with Dr. Bart Lardner and focused on extensive winter feeding systems for beef cattle.  Breeanna has a passion for the plant / animal / soil interface, extensive winter grazing and loves talking with primary producers about their operations.  Since graduating, Breeanna has worked in many areas of agriculture including business development and agronomy.  Breeanna is employed with DuPont Pioneer as their Livestock Information Manager for Western Canada.

Brodie Haugan

Brodie Haugan was born and raised on a family mixed farming operation south of Medicine Hat, AB by the town of Orion. Brodie attended the Medicine Hat College and later transferred to the University of Saskatchewan where he received a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness with distinction. The year following university Brodie worked for the Farm Management Consulting Team at MNP in Lethbridge, AB. He currently lives and works full time on the family farm. His family operates a mixed cow/calf commercial herd and grain operation which has been in his family for over one hundred years, with Brodie representing the 5th generation.   Brodie is a graduate of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program, a Zone 1 delegate for the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) and currently sits as the vice chair for the Young Cattlemen’s Council (YCC).


New Zealand

Andrew Jolly – Biography unavailable

Marie Timperley

My name is Marie Timperley. My experience in the beef industy started at a young age learning off my family.  My knowledge has extended beyond the cattle in the paddock to the importance to how the meat should look and taste on the plate. Having trained as a chef I am extremely aware that the finer the marbling in the meat allows for a tender product and the best taste. So as an Angus Stud breeder this is what we are aiming for in our cattle.  Managaing one of the family farms which runs the Angus Stud (Timperlea Angus) as well as dairy support.  On the Stud farm running equilvent to 3800 stock units.



James Bryan

James is 30 years old, from Te Awamutu, New Zealand. Currently he is working as an Agronomist for Ravensdown – a farm inputs co-operative – namely fertiliser seed and agrochemicals. He has been employed with the company for the past 4.5 years. James was brought up on a 600ha (1700acres) sheep and beef farm in the hills of the Central North Island. The farm runs approx. 2500 ewes and 150 breeding cows. He is still actively involved in the farm with decisions and helping out when possible. James attended the Lincoln University for a B.Com.Ag and completed the program in 2009 followed by working as a Shepherd general before starting with Ravensdown.




Manuel Lopez Moreira – biography unavailable


United States of America

Cody Norton

Cody Norton is the Senior Beef Pricing Manager for JBS Swift. He started with JBS in June of 2012 through the Ascend leadership training program were some of his projects included carcass utilization optimization, packaging cost reduction, retail beef optimization, and sale reporting efficiencies. During his 3 years with JBS, Cody has spent time working as a packing supervisor in the Greeley beef plant, special project analyst for the beef pricing unit, an inside sales representative, and currently serving as the senior out-front pricing manager.

Cody grew up on a small family quarter horse operation in Spring Hill, TN. He went to school for agriculture economics at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He was involved heavily in the FFA throughout high school and college serving as a state officer his freshman year of college. After finishing his undergraduate program Cody went on to Texas A&M University where he received his graduate degree in agriculture economics. Cody enjoys hunting, fly fishing and skiing in Colorado. He also is passionate about working to improve and move forward the Agriculture industry.

Sarah Ryan

Originally from Washington state, Sarah grew up on a diversified grain and cattle operation near Pullman.  Her family is still farming dry land wheat, barley, peas and garbanzo beans.  They continue to run a commercial, mixed breed, cow-calf herd.  She earned her MS from Kansas State University and her BS from Washington State University in animal science and industry.

Sarah went to work for Agri Beef Co. after graduating with her MS.  She started working in the El Oro Cattle Feeders feedlot, in Moses Lake, Washington, as a management trainee and was able to learn about all facets of the feedlot business.  She then went to work in the corporate office in Boise, Idaho managing their Wagyu bull leasing program; managing the annual purebred Angus and SimAngus bull sale; and assisting with risk management actives.

Sarah now works for Allflex USA, Inc.  She began this job in February of 2015.  Her experience has been in the feedlot, cow calf and purebred genetics sectors of the beef business.  She has an extensive background in electronic identification for feedlot and cow-calf applications.  Additionally, she’s served in roles where she developed animal records and analysis to identify and improve process’ and genetics.  This new job opportunity has provided her a challenge and enjoyment in learning more about animal identification applied to the dairy industry.

Sarah has been involved with the NCBA as well as state organizations for over 10 years as a young representative.



Federico Piegas

I grew up on a family historically linked to Uruguayan beef and sheep farming. Since early 1900 my ancestors have been farming in northern Uruguay and committed to our rural development. Born in Paysandú, Uruguay on September 9th 1985, I am the youngest of three brothers who constantly move from the family farm to the city in order to assist to school. All primary school and high school I did it in Paysandú at a British institution, where we got bilingual education. Throughout those years we permanently move from the city to the farm (120km/75 miles away), on weekends and different school holidays, such as the three months vacations on summertime. While going to the farm, I learn from our dad the values and responsibility of working hard on farm while being challenged by rain, frost or high temperatures. Spending time at the farm with my father let me experience the love for beef cattle production as well as be an example for the other farm workers. Moreover, dad always encouraged us to go and have overseas experiences. Hence, in 2003 on my last year in high school, I moved for a year to Buffalo, New York as an exchange student. There I stayed on local family, did my senior year at a local high school and played soccer for the varsity team. Back in Uruguay, I moved to the capital city, Montevideo, to study accounting at Universidad de Montevideo. For four years I spent studying while working in order to gain experience.In order to combine my business and accounting background together with my passion for farming I decided to continue my studies at postgraduate level, in agribusiness. Hence, I applied for a post grad through Massey University in New Zealand. Apart for acquiring academic knowledge on the post grad I had a great experience working for assignments together with New Zealand cattle farmers. This latter highly enriched me as I could see at firsthand how farmers from other part of the world manage their blocks of land with their own challenges and opportunities. To round up the New Zealand experience I worked at a sheep and beef station, with a Hereford stud. Currently in Uruguay, while working together with family farm for tactical and strategic decisions, I also have a job at Bunge, the agribusiness company. At our farm, in November we will move from a pure Hereford herd to a Hereford-Red Angus cross, when we will apply artificial breeding on our 2 year old heifers.

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2015 Young Leader Competition

This year the topic of the competition was:

Feeding a growing population is a concern that is forefront in not only the beef industry but the general agriculture sector.  What idea would you propose to the Five Nation Beef Alliance that would contribute to sustainable global beef production?

Breeanna Kelln of Canada was selected by the international panel of judges as the winning entry and will be joining the delegation in Mexico from October 18 to 23. An excerpt from her short essay addressing the topic is included below:

What is sustainability? Is it simply just a definition? Sus·tain·a·ble. Adjective.  1. able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.  2. able to be upheld or defended.  Does it depend on the application within its use? In ecology, sustainability is defined as how biological systems remain diverse and productive or it can be generally defined as the endurance of systems and processes.  Does sustainability have social and economic values?

I believe that sustainability is not an end destination, but an ever evolving process.  We, as a members of the beef industry and more so, the agricultural community need to cultivate that process in order to maintain sustainable growth, within economic, social and environmental means.  Agriculture is a progressive business with increasing demand and a growing business is difficult to manage. Many of our customers are living in urban centers and their views on sustainability encompass environmental and social facets.  As producers, our goals include these two segments, plus economic sustainability.  Therefore our goals are the same and thus, this is a great starting point for sustainable growth.  We are feeding a growing population, which is a noble cause; however I feel that this romantic view of agriculture has overshadowed the general consumer.  Our customers want to know they are choosing a safe, high quality and reliable food choice and care about what on their plate and their family’s plate.  Therefore, it’s time we start sharing the story they want to hear….the one about what’s on their plate.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” James Cash Penney


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Thursday 9th October

First Day of Conference
Today was the first day of “getting down to business” here at the Five Nations Beef Alliance Conference and Tour. We have come a long way from Corpus Christi up to Austin over the last 4 days, getting to know each other as well as learning all about ranching and feedlotting in Texas. There’s such a variety of farm systems and different styles of farming across the state.
Now we are at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Cedar Creek, just out of Austin, which is an amazing venue with a lot of awesome history behind it, however I digress!
Starting the day off was a welcome by NCBA President Bob McCan to the respective delegations from each of the five nations and also to the members who have made the trip to the conference from ACRIMAT representing Brazil and ARP from Paraguay. Each of the member countries then responded with the state of play in each of their nations and of course, commented on how great it has been to see this part of the world’s industry over the past few days of touring. The Texan people have been truly wonderful and welcoming as well.

Zoetis is a great supporter of the Alliance and this year’s conference. Rob Kelly (Vice President – US Cattle & Equine division) spoke on behalf of the company and gave a overview of the company since its move away from where it was as part of Pfizer. He also touched on how as a separate business now, Zoetis can give so much more back to the beef industry around the world. Zoetis as a company operates in each of the member countries and is no doubt an integral part of each country’s industry providing best fit solutions to farmers’ and ranchers’ animal health problems.
Because Zoetis draws so much of its business from the agricultural sector, up to 70% of its core, they have a saying within the company “so goes agriculture – so goes Zoetis!” This is a definite indicator that a company such as this, is in for the long haul – definitely good to see!
As a result of them being in for the long haul, they are committed to helping the development of the youth within our sector. This is one of the reasons that the company came on board with the Five Nations Beef Alliance as the Alliance has developed its Young Leaders program. As the 2014 FNBA Young Leaders we would all like to express our thanks to Zoetis for this support.
Next up to the lectern to speak was Brett Stewart from Global Agritrends in Denver.
Brett spoke about the current state of play around the world in terms of beef production, where it is likely to head in the future. and I must say, the future for Beef as a protein source is looking bright.
Some main points pulled from his presentation:
More People live in Asia than the rest of the world. – Asia is probably the biggest export market for the FNBA as a whole.
In China specifically – their average income has grown by 138% since 2000 so they can afford to buy a lot more of our products should they so choose.
Currently the world population is growing by 78 Million people per year and of the world’s population only 4% are farmers providing for the rest. By 2050 the world population is expected to reach 9.1 Billion people and as a result more food will be needed over the next 50 years than has been consumed in the last 7000 years!!

As a result Brett suggested “don’t skate to the puck, – skate to where the puck is going to be!” By this we need to understand the changing needs of the consumer – specifically Asia and aim to meet what they are going to be requiring in the future.

After lunch we learned about the respective industries in both Brazil and Paraguay and how they are facing a lot of the same issues as the rest of FNBA. This was important to the FNBA as the Alliance approved observer status for both parties. The Alliance is looking forward to the fresh perspective that both Brazil and Paraguay bring to the table.

Both Lauren and I (James) have enjoyed the trip immensely over the past week, we have both learned an enormous amount and will each take a lot home to our respective operations and companies. Thank you all very much for the experience of a life time and especially to Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Thank you.

James Bryan, Lauren McWilliam – New Zealand Young Beef Leaders


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Wednesday – Five Nations Beef Alliance 2014 Tour


We made a visit to Capitol Land and Livestock in Schwertner, TX Is one of the largest livestock dealers in USA , being in business since 1946

The company has 25 full time cattle buyers , covering Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi , Alabama , and Georgia.

While at Capitol Land and Livestock they taught us how the business works.  They are one of the main customers of McDonalds, they buy and sell 500,000 livestock per year and they have control of every single herd they buy, they can track from which part of the country the herd was bought. They have a system where they constantly call customers to buy their cattle so they can supply McDonalds.


They have different programs for the feeding of the cattle, depending on the age and weight of the cattle, they sort them into a feed lot or into a permanent grass and wheat  pastures owned by the company. They promote the honesty in their operations with their staff and business manner.



HEB was founded in 1905, more than 100 years ago,  and now operates 305 stores in Texas and 48 in Mexico with over 80,000 employees.

HEB is offering many varieties of meat for every meal and budget.  We found that they have  more than 50 kinds of beef  (including HEB Prime 1, Central Market Organics. HEB Fully cooked, Carniceria and also Kobe beef). It was interesting to see how they innovate in beef products and also that the have their own beef brand. HEB brings tips on everything from briskets and quick fixes to healthy snacks and produce guides. We enjoyed this benefit when they taught us how to cook  Kobe Beef.

It was very awesome to see how they offer so many varieties of beef with a very high quality and a with a very good presentation.



They are a ranch which was founded in 1909, that produces high quality Angus beef. We also had lunch there prepared by a chef from Dallas. He was telling us that 44 Farms have a very consistent quality which actually is a very rare thing, he gave us some examples that other beef producers don’t have, they have a lot of variability in the quality.

Also at 44 farms they have a very focused-consumer production, they focused a lot in what the customer will like and, like we were saying, the quality of the beef.


They also breed and sell bulls. They are selling 350 bulls on 25th of October (average price of $6700 USD) also some of the bulls they produce they compete nationally and actually they have some bulls which are the national champions.


Dinner in Texas Beef Council

We had dinner at the Texas Beef Council which is an organization directed by 20 board members of cattleman and women representing 149,000 beef producers in Texas. We had the best dinner of all the trip (yet), they gave us a very good rib-eye, it was a really good and typically Texan meal.


Veronica Ferreiro, Esteban Kosturakis and Miguel Portillo

Mexico’s Young Beef Leaders


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Tuesday – Five Nations Beef Alliance 2014 Tour

Day two of the Five Nations Beef Alliance tour, and we continue to learn about the beef industry in the United States and, more specifically, Texas.

Our first stop was Cureo, Texas and the Chisolm Trail Heritage Museum.  Much of our trip so far has taught us about the shared opportunities and challenges that beef producers around the world face – the Chisolm Trail Museum gave us an opportunity to see the history that our industry has in common across the Americas.  We had a chance to see that, just like today, the cattlemen of South and Central Texas, the United States, and other nations faced numerous challenges raising beef and bringing it to market.

A display of samples of historical barb wire from the Chisholm Trail Museum









From Cureo we travelled to Gonzales County to visit Graham Land & Cattle Co.  Graham Land & Cattle is a feedlot with the capacity to feed 30,000 head and background an additional 15,000 head.  During our visit, Graham Land and Cattle was feeding just over 21,000 head of mostly Bos indicus influenced cattle, including some Wagyu cross.  One thing that stuck out to us Canadians on the tour was that instead of the wind protection we are used to seeing, feedlots here provide protection from the sun.  It was an excellent illustration of how we are all trying to deal with the challenges our local climates provide.

An example of the shade at Graham Land and Cattle Co.










We finished off our day’s tour with a stop at Sexing Technologies near Navasota, Texas.  Sexing Technologies specializes in sorting semen into male and female sperm.  It was an excellent opportunity to see the process and science behind sexed semen.  We were surprised that not only does Sexing Technologies work with sexed beef cattle semen, but that sexed deer semen formed an important part of their business.  After showing us their sorting facility, we were invited to their genetic development center to see some of the bulls currently on test and to share in another generous Texas meal.

From Navasota we travelled on to our home for the next few days – the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort at Bastrop, Texas.  On to the next leg….

Brett McRae and Stuart Somerville, Canada’s Young Beef Leaders




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Monday- 5 Nations Beef Alliance 2014

King Ranch Santa Gertudis Bulls selected for in herd performance trial.

We began the Five Nations Beef Alliance tour with a tour of the world renowned King Ranch, birthplace of the Santa Gertrudis. As well as Santa Gertrudis and Santa Cruz (Santa Gertrudis x Red Angus) cattle, King Ranch breeds Quarter Horses, mainly to be used by the cowboys who work on the ranch. The hunting rights of 550,000 acres of the ranch are leased for recreational shooting, however King Ranch still maintains grazing rights on this land.

King Ranch is the largest ranch in Texas and is still managed by direct descendants of the King family. Driving around the ranch, you realise the scale of the property. In the two hours of our tour we would only have seen a small proportion of the property accessible by road.

There are 70 homes on the ranch to accommodate the approximately 85 staff who work on the ranch, as well as a school mainly attended by children whose parents work on King Ranch.

The directors of King Ranch is made up of a board of six, including three direct family members. The chairman is always a family member. They are committed to maintaining and encouraging the native wildlife and pastures.

The professional of the team that manages the day to day operations appeared to be a fine-tuned unit and we were fortunate enough to share lunch with a number of King Ranch staff including environmental manager, heifer manager, quarter horse manager and cowboys.

From King Ranch we travelled to the NCBA president’s property McFadden Enterprises. Bob McCann, and his wife Julie, are fifth generation ranchers, a true testament to the operation they run. While we were at McFadden Enterprises, we were fortunate enough to see their Victoria Brafords, a 25% Brahman, 75% Hereford line. The breeders were an outstanding line of females, with uniformity evident in the herd and his bulls of a high standard.

On both properties the emphasis placed on managing pasture for grazing as well as conserving feed and habitat for wildlife was impressive. The recovery of drought stricken pasture following recent rains also highlights the role of property management as true stewards of their land.

Over a refreshing drink, the tour participants watched Bob put on a real show on the polo field on their property, with Bob’s yellow team be declared “Victoria”-ous.

We were treated to dinner, Mexican music and Bob’s dulcet tones through his rendition of El Ray. The setting was picturesque and the Texan hospitality very warm. A great first day of what we are sure will be a great tour.

NCBA President Bob McCan speaking passionately about his Victoria Braford's

King Ranch Santa Gertudis Bulls

The Polo Ponies ready for the field

Bob and Julie McCan put on a great show for the night.

A boot on the table? Only in Texas

Sam Becker & Blythe Calnan – Young Ranchers of Australia.

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