May is National Beef Month, which brings into perspective the importance of the production of beef in the United States. According to mobeef.org, Missouri is the second most populous beef cow producing states with over two million head of cattle. Missouri is sixth overall in the amount of cows at almost 4.5 million.
With Missouri being a major player in the nation's beef market, there is no doubt why the Boonville FFA recently exited the Missouri State Convention with a number of awards, having to do with beef production. Boonville FFA Advisor Deanna Thies and FFA member Austin Timm answered questions regarding their experiences with beef production.
How many students are involved with beef production in the Boonville FFA?
Theis–We have about 25-30, or about 20 percent of FFA members who work in the field or have a Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) project involving beef production.
What do these SAEs consist of?
Theis–Projects range from working for local producers with their beef cattle operations as a placement SAE, to raising small to medium sized herds of cattle for sale through markets or sold as butcher beef.
Do some of these students show cattle as well?
Theis–Yes, we also have a number of students who will just raise or purchase steers to show during fairs and shows. Some students will also raise or purchase show heifers and then add them back to their production herds.
What sort of degrees are these students pursuing in college?
Theis–There are a number of students pursuing degrees in veterinary medicine, animal science or another ag related field. Some have the hopes and goals to return to their family farms to help with their row crop and cattle operations or to obtain a job in the field of agriculture and continue to raise their own cattle.
Timm answered the following questions regarding his SAE in beef production.
When did you begin your SAE?
Timm–I got involved in my SAE through FFA about four and a half years ago.
What does your SAE consist of?
Timm–I raise beef, swine and show pigs. In the future, I plan on expanding my cow operation with the help of my SAE.
Noah HR Heaton contributed to this report.