The rancher was one of more than 60 to attend the conference

SALEM, Ore. -– Keith Nantz, Oregon Young Cattlemen’s vice-chairman, was one of more than 60 young cattlemen and women selected to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 35th Young Cattlemen’s Conference earlier this month.

Nantz was sponsored by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. The YCC program is a comprehensive, nationwide tour of beef industry sectors, created to enhance leadership skills in your beef industry professionals.

“YCC is a prestigious and competitive program designed to foster the future leadership of our industry,” said Forrest Roberts, NCBA chief executive officer. “The participants selected to attend YCC were chosen because of their exceptional contributions to the beef industry and their potential to be a strong voice in our future development. I look forward to seeing Keith take an increased leadership role within NCBA and the beef industry.”

Originally from Imbler, Ore., Nantz is a first generation rancher that is currently in his sixth year as a cow-calf producer and hay grower. He set his dreams of beginning his own operation very young. Growing up, he was very involved in 4-H and FFA and served as the State FFA vice-president. After his year of traveling the country with the FFA, Nantz attended Eastern Oregon University studying agricultural business.

Following his career as a firefighter for the Forest Service, Nantz began ranching and in partnership created Dillon Land and Cattle Co. Nantz said he is very passionate about the full circle of operations to include genetics, nutrition, ecology, sustainability, business, and policy. Along with both seedstock and commercial cow-calf production the operation produces 3,500 tons of retail and feeder hay for local and export markets to include: Alfalfa, Orchard Grass, Teff Grass, Barley, Sorghum, and Triticale.

“YCC is an excellent opportunity to network with other young industry professionals while learning about the opportunities and challenges that face beef producers daily,” said Nantz.

The eight day tour began at NCBA headquarters in Denver, Colo., where participants were given an organizational overview of NCBA and the Beef Checkoff Program. While in Denver, the group also heard from representatives of Cattle Fax and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. They toured a Safeway retail store and learned about Rancher’s Reserve brand beef marketing efforts. The group spent a day in Greeley, Colo., visiting JBS Five Rivers feed yards and processing facilities.

“It is important for young producers to understand and see each sector of the beef industry – from pasture to plate,” said Nantz. “Traveling from a cow-calf ranch to a feedlot and processing plant really drives home the point that our industry is composed of many sectors which are all committed to produce a healthy end product.”

In Chicago, the group met with the senior management of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange at the Chicago Board of Trade. They had the chance to watch the activity on the trading floor and witness futures trading firsthand. Participants also visited Otto & Sons Industries, a family owned company providing quality products and custom solutions for the food industry since 1909. This tour offered a view of how boxed beef is turned into custom order portions for both major restaurant chains and some of the nation’s top steakhouses.

The group then traveled to Washington, D.C., where participants received an issues briefing from NCBA’s government affairs staff about policy issues currently facing the cattle industry. The group then traveled to Aldie, Va., for a tour and barbeque at Whitestone Farms, one of the nation’s elite purebred Angus operations.

The next day, these young cattlemen and women were given the opportunity to visit one-on-one with members of their state’s congressional delegation, expressing their viewpoints regarding the beef industry and their cattle operations. During their congressional visits, participants focused on issues including international trade, federal lands ranching and overreaching regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. They finished the day with a reception hosted by John Deere at the company’s Washington office.

For more information on the YCC program or to nominate someone for next year’s tour, contact your state cattlemen’s association or Marvin Kokes at 303-850-3339 or mkokes@beef.org.

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