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For those of you who will be attending NCBA Convention in San Anton', please make sure you checked the YPC box on the membership form.  If you had checked the box, the system at NCBA would have required you to enter your date of birth, for age verification.  If you are in the YPC age group (ages 18-35) and unsure whether you are listed as YPC member in NCBA's database, please contact Anita Graham at or 303-850-3337 at NCBA's membership team.  It will be particularly helpful to have this done prior to leaving for San Anton'.  For those of you who can't make the Convention but still unsure whether you are listed correctly in NCBA's membership database, please call/email Anita in February after convention is over (busy time of year in Denver)!  


YPC Leadership Board and Staff

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Culling Cows

Posted on January 12, 2010 06:55 by Andy Vance
We sent some cows to town last week.  That's the phrase we always used when it came time to cull cows growing up: it was time for those cows to "go to town." Unlike when the proverbial cows come home, these cows won't be returning to production for one reason or another.  Culling cows has always been a tough decision for me, as I know it is for many producers in my boots.  As the owner of a small herd of registered breeding stock, there are a number of key considerations that go into the decision to cut a cow from the lineup and to send her on to the stock yards or to another breeder.

I'll share some of my thoughts on the process.

My first question is always how important is the cow to my overall herd.  This may sound silly, but I assign different values in my mind to each cow in terms of how her genetic profile and production history rank her among her herdmates. This, by the way, is neither as objective or subjective as it may sound, and this "value" may change given the relevant circumstances.More...

Unfair Advantages

Posted on December 7, 2009 07:14 by Blair Hunewill

During the height of irrigation season this summer I was fantasizing about ranching in an area where you could rely on rainfall to grow grass.  I spend all spring checking cows or irrigating.  By August I am ready to be done irrigating for another year.  I talked to my father about how nice it would be to live somewhere that didn’t require irrigation.  His response gave me a lot to think about.  He said, “Every place has it’s unfair advantages for cattle that allows them to compete with everybody else in this country.  One of our unfair advantages is our Forest Service permits that let us run pairs for a couple of dollars in summer.”


In addition to our mountain grazing permits we have the advantage of wintering our cattle at a lower elevation in a little milder climate.  As a grazer, we have another unfair advantage of having a very low cost of gain on our stocker and feeder calves.  Compared to a feedlot guy, we have a lot of flexibility in what we can profitably buy.  Because of our location, I can buy undervalued calves in Nevada and sell them over the mountains in California for an overvalued price.  Still, other places have their own unfair advantages that make me jealous.  More...

The Lure of Shiny Things

Posted on October 8, 2009 04:05 by Matt Hardecke

Do cattle work for you or do you work for cattle?  This fundamental question gets to the root of an underlining problem in today’s cattle complex, especially on the cow/calf producer side.  Too often we treat our cattle enterprise as a hobby rather than as a business whose goal is to be profitable.


I had a young man come in my office one day who wanted to purchase a new cattle trailer for his 10 cow operation.  The shinny new all aluminum trailer was almost $15,000.  After he talked for twenty minutes about all the bells and whistles of the trailer and how it would make hauling his calves to market so easy I asked him one simple question. Does a calf bring any less money if it gets to the sale barn in a $1000 trailer?  This caught him off guard and after he swallowed some humble pie we talked about the economic impact of buying that trailer.  If he took what would have been a $500 per month payment and reinvested that into his cow herd, at the end of three years he would have enough income to pay cash for the trailer if he still wanted it. More...