The fourth and final session of the 20th annual Oklahoma Cattlemen's Associa-tion's Cattlemen's Leadership Academy class took place on April 8 and 9. During the two-day event, CLA class members, all Oklahoma Ranchers and members of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, were exposed first-hand to different segments of the beef industry.
AdvancePierre Food Company located in Enid, Okla., gladly welcomed this group of beef producers to their facilities. AdvancePierre Food Company is a fully integrated manufacturer of value-added proteins, Philly steaks and handheld sandwiches. The group of ranchers toured AdvancePierre's Enterprise Facility, a premier manufacturing facility for "ready-to-eat" foods.
"During the plant tour we saw hamburger being made into patties, and then cooked, frozen and packaged for shipping - all a process to add value to beef," said Matt Crosthwait, CLA member and rancher near Stillwater, Okla. "As Ranchers, we are always seeking ways to add value to our product - beef. It's comforting to know that different segments of our industry our working hard to do the same," Crosthwait said.
While in the Enid area, CLA members stopped by the oldest and largest privately owned grain elevator company in Oklahoma, W.B. Johnston Grain. CLA participants enjoyed visiting with Montie Walton, Elevator Manager and Dale Owens, Senior Grain Merchandiser about how closely intertwined the grain and cattle markets truly are.
CLA members were also given the opportunity to visit a beef fabrication plant. Creekstone Farms located in Arkansas City, Kansas, processes only the finest premium black Angus beef, all born and bred in the USA. The folks at Creekstone seek out the cream of the crop when it comes to black cattle, all in an effort to increase consistency of delicious, tender beef.
"The tour at Creekstone was very enlightening," said John Henry, a CLA member from Pawnee. " We saw the whole process from start to finish . . . cattle receiving, removing hides, carcass grading . . . we even saw the boxes being folded and put together for shipping the beef."
In addition to these tours, CLA members participated in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training, conducted by Jeff Jaronek of the OCA Staff. The national BQA program is funded by the Beef Checkoff and provides guidelines for beef cattle production. The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry.
The OCA Cattlemen's Leadership Academy is a service program of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. The Academy involves active Oklahoma beef producers selected through an application process.