UW students represent cattle industry with Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association
Laramie – Beginning in 2010, a group of young women at UW decided there was a need for a beef promotion group on campus.
“There was a group of girls who were primarily agriculture and animal science majors that decided they all had a general interest in the beef cattle industry,” says UW Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science Kristi Cammack, who advises the Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association (WCCA). “They heard of other groups that sprung up across other universities and decided to start one of their own.”
After advertising across campus, the group soon discovered that more young women were interested in beef cattle, and the Wyoming Collegiate CattleWomen Association was born.
In 2012, Cammack notes that the organization decided to also open its door to male members.
Today, the Association has changed their name to the WCCA, and they unite college men and women in their love of beef and the cattle industry.
“I think they will keep growing,” adds Cammack. “It is a good group for incoming students to be a part of to get in and see what type of ag major and what opportunities are available.”
The group encompasses students of a wide variety of majors – not just students in animal science.
“There are students from all over the ag college involved,” she notes.
“As they keep building their membership, the voice of WCCA continues to grow,” Cammack comments. “I like to see these students providing a service and reaching out to students who don’t necessarily know about cattle.”
WCCA, she adds, is making an impact across campus.
WCCA stays active on campus to encourage the maximum impacts.
“They do youth programs and talk to classes about beef cattle production, and they take students on tours,” says Cammack. “They also have a barbeque every year on campus.”
Their annual barbeque, held on Earth Day in conjunction with the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, is the group’s largest event and provides an outreach opportunity.
Stuart Thrash, president of WCCA this year, notes, “The Earth Day barbeque is one of our biggest events.”
During the event, the student groups serve hamburgers to college students, faculty and community members for free.
“Everyone on campus and the whole community is involved,” says Thrash. “It is a great event.”
They also take the opportunity to educate others about the beef industry.
“When students are in line for their free hamburger, WCCA members talk about the beef industry and give facts and figures about beef,” explains Cammack.
By meeting twice monthly, the WCCA stays involved in top issues and events in the beef industry and organize new events.
Thrash says, “We are here to promote the beef industry for consumers and help people who don’t understand what the beef industry entails.”
One of the most important aspects of the organization, he notes, is continuing student education opportunities.
“We also try to further our knowledge by doing a couple of trips each year,” he says. “We try to visit different beef operations to get exposure.”
Last year, for example, students visited JBS’ facility in Greeley, Colo. and travelled to Darnall Feedlot in Nebraska to learn about those aspects of the beef industry.
“This year, we are looking to have a couple more trips,” says Thrash. “We are working to learn about different operations and different techniques that they use.”
Goals of the organization
The WCCA is looking to continue to grow and be an active part of the beef industry in Wyoming.
“We are trying to move the club into being more affiliated with industry organizations,” says Thrash, noting they have begun reaching out to organizations such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Wyoming Stock Growers Association. “We should be in cahoots with these people to further the industry.”
This year, noted Thrash, they are also working to fundraise to send several WCCA representatives to NCBA’s annual conference in Tennessee in February.
In fundraising, the organization offers “I Heart Beef” t-shirts for sale, featuring the Wyoming bucking horse logo.
“We are moving forward and continuing to grow,” says Thrash. “We want to make a difference in the industry.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.