April 22, 2021
Sixty-five National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) members and their families, along with several industry partners attended the inaugural NJHA Fed Steer Shootout Field Day hosted by HRC Feed Yards in Scott City, Kan., on April 17. The young cattle feeders who participate in the Fed Steer Shootout program travelled from 13 states and as far away as California, West Virginia and Georgia to learn about the industry and see how their steers entered in this year’s contest are performing.
Lee Mayo, general manager of HRC Feed Yards welcomed the participants to Kansas and cattle feeding country. Scott County is home to roughly 300,000 head of cattle on feed within 10 miles of the feed yard. NJHA’s partners in education, VitaFerm and Merck Animal Health, sponsored the educational program where attendees heard from industry leading speakers including Kevin Good from Cattle Fax who gave participants an overview of the industry across all sectors of the beef production chain and Dr. Kelly Bruns, Director of the West Central Research and Extension Center for the University of Nebraska was on hand to discuss evaluating the cattle in terms of yield and quality grades and what type of steers will be the most profitable. This was followed by a pick the steer contest in which six steers were evaluated and the results will be determined after the cattle are harvested in approximately 30 days.
NJHA member Haley Mouser and her brother Cale travelled from Bemidji, Minn., to take part in the field day. After the field day concluded Haley said, “It is important to have events like this so young leaders like myself get hands on experience at feed yards and to share this knowledge with our peers at school and ultimately promote agriculture’s mission, which is to feed the world in a healthy, safe, wholesome way.”
There are 133 Hereford and Hereford-influenced steers on feed in the 2021 NJHA Fed Steer Shootout. Cattle were delivered to the yard in December and throughout the feeding phase contestants collect feed yard performance and carcass data and are given the opportunity to gain a broad knowledge of the cattle feeding and packing industries through a comprehensive educational contest filled with videos, quizzes, a performance portfolio and an essay contest.
The Fed Steer Shootout is exposing junior members to a vital part of the industry and setting them up with the tools and knowledge to be successful when it comes to feeding cattle. Bailey Morrell, NJHA Communications Chairman and participant in the shootout said, “A lot of our members see the showring and the barn, but don’t see the end product and the hard work that goes into the feeding industry, so a little bit of real-world knowledge is what we’ve tried to provide our juniors within this program.”