Young Stockgrower Visits King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management

Todd Inglee Ralston Valley Beef King ranch headquartersBy Travis Brown, Sand Springs, Young Stockgrowers Vice-Chair

What an exciting time to be involved in this industry! Record high calf prices, strong demand, an expanding cow herd, and good moisture across much of the United States has made this an electrifying time in our business. I am also very encouraged by the young leaders who are looking at beef production as a great way to make a good living.

I had the opportunity last week to travel to Kingsville, TX and attend the John B. Armstrong Systems Thinking Lectureship put on by the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management. It was a great chance to think through some of the micro- and macro-economic issues facing the beef industry ranging from questions about defining sustainability, endangered species protection, water usage, beef promotion, and production challenges. Throughout the intensive 4-day lectureship we discussed, and admired these issues hoping to begin to understand them better.

It was a humbling feeling to be surrounded by young, innovative, progressive thinkers who all have a vested interest in all of our future. The teacher of the lectureship, Michael Goodman, helped us to understand how the structure of our business or industry creates the results that it does. How we can make a long-term improvement on our ranch, or in our state Capitol that will make a lasting difference on the real problems we are facing. In out instant gratification society, it is often easy to look for the “quick fix” which may have unintended consequences to the long-term solution.

King ranch lectureshipOne of the highlights of the trip was having the chance to go on a private tour with Vice President & General Manager of the King Ranch, Dave DeLaney to get a look at where they brand the famous Running W. For over 150 years, they have run cattle in South Texas, between Corpus Christi and Brownsville. There is an incredible amount of history on this storied ranch, and an exciting future.

I could not help but be excited for what is in store for our own Young Stockgrowers. We have the upcoming Cattle Crawl, giving us a chance to interact with our consumers and show them what a great tasting, healthy, and environmentally friendly product we are proud to produce. We also have our biannual Calling on the Capitol coming up where we will have a real opportunity to interact with our legislators to make a difference on the issues facing our industry here in Montana. Our annual convention coming up in December will help us to set the policy of Montana Stockgrowers, to ensure that we have a united voice within our industry to institute positive change on the state and national level.

King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management: Excellence in Ag Leadership Program

Travis Brown with the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management's Dr. Clay Mathis.

Travis Brown with the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management’s Dr. Clay Mathis.

The King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management is expanding its outreach efforts by offering a 2-year leadership course called the “Excellence in Ag Leadership Program.” Travis Brown of Sand Springs, Montana (Facebook) and the current vice-chair of MSGA’s Young Stockgrowers Association, is one of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association-elected participants.

The goal of this program is to help develop the next generation of leaders in the ranching industry through a suite of lectureships and symposia offered to individuals in the agricultural industry. By attending these training sessions, engaging in the educational opportunities, and networking with other young beef leaders, participants will pave the way for future leadership roles in the ranch community.

“It’s truly an honor to have educational institutions like King Ranch® Institute, that have a legacy of leadership and business, invest in the future,” said Travis. The first meeting of the program was held in early February at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville.

Travis joined several other passionate young beef leaders from across the country.

Working closely with his family on their operation in South Carolina and running Spitzer Agribusiness, participant Ben Spitzer said, “The first workshop was immensely helpful in improving myself and realizing what to focus on in my professional development.”

“Working with young leaders across our industry will help us all improve, so that we can be more of a benefit to those who we contact in our business and in our communities. Iron sharpens iron,” said Ben Neale, commercial cattleman from Tennessee and Area Sales Manager for BioZyme, Inc.

Below is a video produced by MSGA’s Lauren Chase, featuring Travis, as well as Dr. Clay Mathis, the director and endowed chair of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management (KRIRM), part of the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

This leadership program will continue for the next two years with meetings at the Cattle Industry Convention and in Kingsville, TX. Be sure to follow along with the participants on the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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