Hey Y’all It’s the month of June which means the convention is right around the corner! Pack your sunscreen because we’re headed to the beach! I can’t wait to catch all of those farmers’ tans and cowboy hats out on the sand. I hope to see y’all there! June also brings other exciting news… school’s out for summer!
As exam season comes to a close, I am excited to ring in another successful semester at the University of Florida. While my major is agricultural education, my favorite part is getting to take some animal science courses on the side. This semester, I was very fortunate to be in the Ranch Horse Management class alongside 7 other students. Mr. Joel McQuagge and Jesse Savell were our fearless leaders this spring while we learned about equine nutrition and health, and the area of most improvement for me…roping. The coolest part about this class though was that we got to go on a field trip at the end of the semester. After a round of COVID tests and packing up our boots, hats, and Sweetheart sashes, we boarded our flight and took off to Amarillo, Texas.
In Amarillo, we visited UF graduate, Trey Warnock at Amarillo Brokerage Company and learned about risk management and commodity investments. While in town we also stopped by Quality Beef Producers to see some Florida cattle in the feed yards. I also got my first experience with Jersey-Angus crossed cattle. After talking with the yard manager and a few others throughout our trip about this, I am very interested to see what the future holds for this up-and-coming “beef on dairy” market.
We also stopped in at West Texas A&M to check out their beef and equine research units. We even got to meet AG-1 which was the first offspring from the Alpha and Gamma clones. Alpha and Gamma were selected from two Prime yield grade-one cattle and have helped make massive steps in the scientific community. My favorite part of the WT stop, however, was getting to take a tour of the brand new meat processing facilities. Once we left Amarillo, we headed north and west to some of my favorite two stops on the whole trip which were Kirkland Feedyards in Vega and Five Rivers in Hartley. At both locations, we got to see some Florida calves and in Hartley, we got to see Florida Heritage Beef cattle. I am pleased to say that at both locations, the Florida calves are looking pretty good.Before we left the panhandle, we stopped for a history lesson at the Palo Duro Canyon. I got to break my camera out as the group got to stretch their legs on the trails. We had so much fun unwinding and watching the sunset over the second largest canyon in the U.S.
The next day, we took a break from the feed yards and went to see some horses at Tongue River Ranch in Paducah. We stopped in at the 6666 Ranch to see some big-name stallions. Mr. Joe Leathers hosted us for a few hours where we got to talk about the future of the 6666 and he gave us some excellent words of advice for our future as cattlemen and cattlewomen. That night we had dinner with Mrs. Mary Lou Henderson from Bradley 3 Ranch and had a wonderful time visiting with her about their operation and hearing her story. She is one hard worker and a dedicated woman, she is truly an inspiration to me.
On our last day of the trip, we got to stop in to see other UF grads and former Floridians, Jake and Jack Cowen, and their families in Benjamin. We had such a great time visiting their operation and were so thankful for the meal that the family provided for us. We had an awesome time sharing stories about our time at UF. We also stopped in at Throckmorton to see the Brown family at RA Brown Ranch. Mr. Donnell Brown and Mrs. Kelli Brown were amazing hosts showing us their horse and seedstock operations, we had such a great time visiting their ranch and visiting with their family as well. If you are ever in the area, please stop in to stay at the Lee House in Throckmorton, one of the best bed and breakfast experiences ever, as Miss Linda takes the absolute best care of you during your stay. We were sad to leave, but we learned so much and not a single one of us had difficulty sleeping on the plane ride home.
It was really special for me to represent the Florida Cattlemen over in Texas and I was surrounded by a very promising group of cattlemen and women. With me were, Chandler Pearce, Jared Phares, Jillian Penabella, Anthony Webb, Jacob Lehman, Harrell Phillips, and Zach Bennett. On top of everything, we are all so grateful to the Cattlemen’s Foundation for sponsoring us on this trip.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for this group and it was so inspiring to me. With that, I’ll end this message and say that I cannot wait to see everyone at the convention. Don’t forget to pack your flip-flops!
For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s farming, God’s building” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:9