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Howdy from the Bluegrass!

Posted on February 22, 2011 18:24 by Jesse Bussard


Howdy from the Bluegrass!  You may remember me, the Pennsylvania cowgirl, from an earlier post where I introduced myself as a new blogger for the Cattle Call.  My family runs a small Angus/Hereford crossbred cow-calf operation in south central Pennsylvania.  We keep our calves and feed them out to slaughter weight, selling them locally as freezer beef.  Growing up on a farm instilled a passion for agriculture in my heart at a young age, leading me to become an active advocate for agriculture and the beef industry in particular.

My life has provided me with a variety of experiences and I’m very thankful for that because it has provided me with an interesting outlook on life.  Growing up I showed livestock and horses in 4-H, FFA, and open shows.  I’ve worked at numerous stables breaking colts and exercising horses.  When I was 19 years old I got my Class A CDL and even drove truck for a while. 

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I decided to go to college.  I ended up at Penn State University majoring in Animal Science.  Here I made some of the best friends I’ll ever have and discovered my true passion for agricultural advocacy.  During the spring of 2009, the Penn State Collegiate Cattlewomen chapter was started.  Being involved in this club allowed me to become aware of current issues and develop a deep passion for advocating for the beef industry.

Upon graduation from Penn State, I moved to Lexington, KY to start working on my M.S. degree in Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Kentucky (UK).  Having lived in Pennsylvania for the majority of my life, moving to Kentucky was a big change for me, but definitely the right decision.  I have been fortunate to have friended some great people from the Kentucky agricultural community that make this change a little easier.

Kentucky is a very beautiful state that boasts the largest cattle industry east of the Mississippi River.  The University of Kentucky (UK) and the KY Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) work closely with each other to provide educational opportunities for the cattle producers they serve.  This provides a unique opportunity for me to learn both from agricultural researchers and cattle producers, while helping to educate them about current research and management practices.

I am an active Agvocate on social media and currently also run my own blog, Pearl Snaps' Ponderings, where I talk about many different topics related to agriculture.  I also write a monthly column for an equine publication called Tack 'n Togs.  In the upcoming months I will be a monthly contributor on the Food & Farm Radio Show sponsored by Feedstuffs Foodlinks on America's Web Radio.

As I take over the reins as the new Public Relations Task Force chair and co-editor for the YPC Cattle Call, I hope that I can help to spread the word about beef cattle production.  A major need to inform consumers and elected officials about the real story behind the cattle industry is obvious.  My hope is that by improving upon the YPC Cattle Call blog we will improve upon our efforts to correct misinformation about the cattle industry and give the general public a better understanding of the many different aspects of the cattle business.  This being said, I also hope that we can provide insight into current issues affecting the industry and also give perspectives from producers in the field for our members.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve upon the YPC Cattle Call blog or would like contribute please contact me at  You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter


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Why are you obsessed with beef?

Posted on February 18, 2011 08:13 by Lauren Chase

I keep getting asked: Why are you obsessed with beef? It’s time to tell my story of how I came from knowing nothing about agriculture to being a passionate advocate.

The world’s most productive land for corn is where I call home: Iowa, and I am the product of a long line of farmers of that land. However, my grandpa, the last relative I had working the fields, sold his farm when I was little.

I can remember thinking it was a blast to go to Grandpa’s place and jump around in the hay barn, but as I grew older, in the state’s second largest city, those memories faded; along with any excitement for farming.

In high school, I played basketball and our team was fortunate enough to go to state championship games. In our division, there was a high school that sat just outside of city limits. Naturally, when they made it to the championships also, our fans intimated them by dressing up as farmers and waiving around cutout cardboard ears of corn.

And off I went to college at the University of Iowa.

I had always been interested in natural science, cultures, and meeting new people so I chose to double major in journalism and anthropology.  I dappled in local news, but something always felt missing; maybe a broader view or lack of travel during work.

The summer of 2010 changed everything.

Combing anthropology and journalism, I took an internship at the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) in Helena, Montana as the multimedia communications intern.

Before I went there, I couldn’t even picture what a ranch was, but I thought it would be a great way to learn about that portion of America.

During my internship, I traveled all over the most beautiful country I had ever seen and interviewed ranchers on camera. Every few weeks, I made videos with these interviews for MSGA's social media websites.

Stockgrower members welcomed me into their homes and patiently taught me about day-to-day operations. But I learned so much more than that.

I learned that ranching is a powerful connection with nature; it is tangible feeling of warmth and comfort for family and neighbors; it is having the knowledge of chemistry, economics, biology, political science, and so much more; it stems from the greatest work ethic I have ever been around, an overwhelming care for their animals and without these ranchers, the world would not eat.

The summer ended too quickly and I returned to college. I graduated in December and in February, returned to MSGA as a full-time employee. 

I am now the multimedia specialist and will once again, travel to our member ranches, documenting their lives to help promote the beef industry. 

I think it's time the world realizes how much cattlemen and cattlewomen care about their animals, love what they do, and work tirelessly to provide safe, healthy food for everyone. 

**Look for future blog posts about my experiences on Montana ranches.**
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There's a new sheriff in town...

Posted on February 15, 2011 20:52 by Lauren Chase

You’ll be seeing some new faces in the management of the YPC Cattle Call. Cari Rincker is proud to hand over the reins to new head editor, Lauren Chase, and co-editors Jesse Bussard, Danielle Schubert, and Meghan Wooldridge. We thank Cari for all her work in helping to start the YPC Cattle Call and nurturing it over the past few years. Our goal as the new editorial staff for the Cattle Call is to tell the story of our members, the young producers, which are the future of the cattle industry. Jesse Bussard will also be taking over as the new YPC Public Relations Task Force Chair.

Lauren is the Multimedia Specialist for the Montana Stockgrowers Association and resides in Helena, MT. Her job is traveling to member ranches to take photos and conduct video interviews for use on MSGA’s social media sites. She will also be producing a series of photo books featuring Montanan ranchers. Lauren graduated from the University of Iowa with two majors: Journalism and Mass Communication and Anthropology. To stay up on the latest beef news news, check out her list of "agvocates" on Twitter and also, follow her multimedia work on MSGA's Facebook page

Jesse Bussard is pursuing her M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, focusing on forages and livestock grazing systems, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. She is also an Animal Science graduate of Penn State University and a native of Pennsylvania. You can find out more about Jesse on her blog, Pearl Snaps’ Ponderings

Danielle Schubert is a junior at South Dakota State University where she is working toward a degree in both Animal Science and Ag Business.  She grew up on a commercial cow/calf operation in central Minnesota and is passionate about being an advocate for agriculture.

Meghan Wooldridge graduated from Colorado State with a degree in Animal Science. She currently works for AgInfoLink in Verified Services.

We are currently looking for new submissions from Young Producer Council members on topics that are in keeping with your daily lives in the cattle industry. Photos, videos, opinion articles - you name it, we want it! This is a great way to tell your story to the world and having the young producers, the future of the industry, talk about it from their perspective is the goal. We will be changing the blog from its current platform to Wordpress soon which will make for easier submissions. We will let you know when that change occurs. As for now, tell us your story! Thank you for your continued dedication to the beef industry. If you know of anyone else who might be interested in this blog, please pass the word along.

Please email one of us to let us know if you are interested in submitting content to the blog. Even if you can only submit one photo or article per month, that would still be great! Our contact information can be found below.

Head Editor: Lauren Chase (

 Public Relations Task Force Chair & Co-editor: Jesse Bussard (

Co-Editor: Danielle Schubert (

Co-Editor: Meghan Wooldridge (

Again, thank you and til next time, Happy Trails!

~ The YPC Cattle Call Editorial Staff

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YPC Leadership Board Spotlight: Ben Neale

Posted on October 25, 2010 08:22 by Cari Rincker

Today's interview is with one of my favorite Tennessee cowboys and this year's Vice Chair of YPC, Ben Neale.  You can read Ben's interview a year ago here.  Let's see what Ben had to say...

Describe your involvement in the cattle industry?

I was born on a small cow-calf operation in middle TN. I have been a cow-hand at larger purebred operations in the country, ran age and source sales through livestock auction markets in TN and now work in direct sales to feedyards.

Tell us about your family and what you like doing outside of your day job.

Married to Iris Neale, no children. Iris is currently teaching Intro to An. Sci at a Columbia State Community College. I am involved quite a bit at church and I generally just work on the farm. I also hike and hunt when I can.


Why did you become a member of YPC? Why do you think it is important for other cattle producers to become a member of YPC?

I believe it is important to be involved in whatever capacity you can to further a cause you are passionate about. The cattle industry will always be present but the way it will look in the years to come can be shaped by our generation. There is a large generational exodus about to occur and there will be many needs to fill. I believe we need to be active in preparing to do so. More...

YPC Leadership Board Spotlight: Ben Spitzer

Posted on September 27, 2010 10:59 by Cari Rincker

Today's interview is with YPC Chairman Ben Spitzer from the International Brangus Breeders Association in San Antonio, Texas.  Let's see what Ben had to say:

  Describe your involvement in the cattle industry.

 As Marketing Programs Director for the International Brangus Breeders I help create a favorable marketing environment for Brangus and Brangus influence cattle.  This is done through adding value all along the production chain.

 Tell us about your family and what you like doing outside of your day job.

 I live by myself 10 hours from my closest relative but have been fortunate enough to have friends just about anywhere I travel.  In my free time I enjoy live music (San Antonio is a great place to be for this), roping and outdoor pursuits.  

Why did you become a member of YPC?  Why do you think it is important for other cattle producers to become a member of YPC? 

 I got involved in YPC because I want to help determine the future of the Beef Industry and not just have to adapt to what others think it needs to be.  I think it is important for those who have stake in the future of the industry to do the same.

  What position are you on the YPC Leadership Board?   What do you hope to accomplish in that position?

 As Chairman of YPC I hope to create opportunities for YPC members to get plugged in to NCBA and help them get a leg up on pursuing their dreams.

  What do you hope YPC will accomplish in the next year?  Next 5 years?  I hope YPC can develop into a resource for NCBA and a connection to tomorrow’s producers.

  If you could have coffee with an elected representative in DC and talk about anything you wanted, what would you say?

 I would say that they need to focus on getting out of the way of the free market and use their time in getting rid of waste.

  What do you think are the top three issues that affect young cattle producers?

Three major issues, in no particular order, are government, government, and government. 

  Do you have any advice for young cattle producers that cannot afford to start their own operation?

  Don’t necessarily be concerned with ownership.  Focus on what you can offer someone  who can and you will go far.

I haven't been able to get Ben to start tweeting, but you can find him on Facebook or email him at 

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Twitter Subcommittee

Posted on July 9, 2010 03:07 by Guest Blogger

Editor's Note: The following blog was written by Jena Swanson, Chair of YPC's Twitter Subcommittee. 

TwitterThe YPC Twitter Subcommittee is working on creating a master list of YPC members with Twitter accounts. We are also working on creating a How-To-Tweet-For-Beef guide, with hopes to have it completed by fall. We plan on setting up a YPC twitter account (@YPCBeef), and would like to start a "List" of YPC members and will add these people as recommended followers in the Twitter Guide.

If you have a Twitter account, please send me an email ( with your username, and I will add it to the master list. Also, if you have interest in being on the Twitter Subcommittee please let me know. Help us spread the message!

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