Highlighting youth, Future Cattle Producers graduates latest class
Casper – In a special recognition program on Dec. 3, the Future Cattle Producers of Wyoming graduated their fourth class, and the top three students were honored for their progress.
Cheyenne’s Rudy Nesvik came out as the top hand for the 2018 class. In second place, Hayden George from Cheyenne was recognized, and third place went to Raelynn Baker, a student from Wright.
Coming out on top
Nesvik, son of Brian and Penny Nesvik, emphasized the connections he made within the cattle industry.
“Our mentors have a lot of years and experience in the cattle industry,” he explained. “When I had situations come up, I was able to go to mentors to learn from their extensive experience.”
Booth’s Cherry Creek Ranch in Veteran sponsored Nesvik’s project.
“As the cattle industry is facing a decline in young people, we need to make sure that we’re connected and communicating so we can make sure our industry continues to thrive,” Nesvik said.
Second Place Win
In earning second, George, the son of Fred and Nicole George, said “I learned about the many risks in the cattle industry, both economic and in the cattle herd itself. I also learned about other conflicts the industry faces.”
Having a mentor in Jim Lerwick of Lerwick Farms was essential to George’s success.
“Mr. Lerwick pointed me in the right direction and gave me the skills I need to continue to operate my own cattle herd in the future,” George explained.
Learning about the industry
In third-place, Baker, daughter of Wade and Vicki Baker, said her journey in the program started at the Wyoming State FFA Convention, when she attended a presentation on the program.
“I saw an opportunity that would be great for me,” Baker said.
Largent Herefords of Kaycee donated Baker’s heifer.
“Working with the Largents was great,” she commented. “They gave me information even when I didn’t know to ask for it, and every question I asked, they had a great answer for.”
Baker added, “They made this fun, and it was a great experience.”
As she looks to her future, Baker said the program solidified her desire to stay in the livestock industry and prepared her for the next steps she hopes to take with her herd.
Baker said, “After college, I’m looking forward to growing my herd, but right now, I’m going to go to college at Casper College and get a degree in nursing.”
Eilish Kelsey, daughter of Heidi Vossler and Jerry Vossler of Rozet, received a heifer from Gleason Livestock, LLC in Weston. She is a freshman at Montana State University in Havre, Mont.
“My mom and I were looking into mentorship programs when we found Future Cattle Producers,” Kelsey commented.
“I’ve learned quite a bit in this program,” she continued. “I’ve learned communication skills and how to adapt to different situations, using what I have an working with it.”
As Kelsey continues to raise cattle, she will be able to leverage the connections she has made through Future Cattle Producers of Wyoming to learn more.
“It really helps to have those contacts,” she said.
Growing the program
All participants see the program as valuable and recommend it to other youth.
“I hope we can continue to advertise the program more to get more people involved,” Kelsey said.
She also encouraged future participants to keep in touch with their donors.
“One kid in our class contacted his donor five times a month, which is impressive and really helped him,” she commented. “We also get other mentors throughout this program, and they’re always there to answer questions.”
Baker echoed, “This is a great opportunity everyone should jump into.”
“I met a lot of people and had a number of experiences I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else,” she said.
Cheyenne High Plains FFA Chapter Advisor Ty Berry encouraged both Nesvik and George to apply for the program, and they both said, the hard work was worth the outcome.
“With work comes a lot of reward, success and knowledge of the cattle industry,” George explained.
Nesvik commented, “This program is not just about receiving a heifer. It’s an opportunity to meet new people in the program and new people in the industry while learning about cattle. This is really an opportunity to learn and grow as young cattlemen.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.