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Hereford programs incentivize cattle performance, beef industry education

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The American Hereford Association (AHA) offers two programs for AHA and National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) members to gain carcass data on their livestock and invaluable knowledge of the beef feeding and packing industries. 

                  Participants in the NJHA Fed Steer Shootout and the AHA Hereford Feedout Program have the opportunity to get data back on their cattle and interact with moving parts of the beef industry, specifically cattle feeding, says AHA Director of Commercial Programs Trey Befort. 

Fed Steer Shootout

                  Entering the fifth year of the program, the NJHA Fed Steer Shootout has 133 steers from 41 NJHA members from 15 states. Currently, steers are at HRC Feed Yards in Scott City, Kan. and are scheduled to finish by June. 

                   “The Fed Steer Shootout gives junior members an opportunity outside of the show ring to compete and learn more about the industry,” shares Befort. “Cattle went to the feedyard in the middle of December and will be harvested at National Beef as candidates for the Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) Program.” 

                  Junior members receive a monthly statement showing feed and any treatments, as well as partake in educational activities involving cattle health, nutrition, the CHB brand and the packing industry while their cattle are at the feedyard. 

                  Kids can enter cattle in a purebred Hereford division or a commercial division, including red baldy, black baldy and Hereford-influenced cattle. Within the categories, there is an option for individual entries and pens of three. 

                  “At the end, kids get individual carcass data for their steers, and then we score the contest based on performance and carcass merit,” Befort explains. “A few years ago, we also started another educational component, called the Performance Portfolio, where kids fill out a dynamic workbook and keep records.” 

                  The top five Performance Portfolios earn competitors a trip to the AHA Annual Meeting and Conference to present a three to five minute speech about their experience and an opportunity to compete for the NJHA Fed Steer Shootout Junior of the Year. 

                  “AHA has given over $20,000 in scholarships, prizes and awards through this program,” adds Befort. 

                  The NJHA Fed Steer Shootout is sponsored by BioZyme, VitaFerm, HRC Feed Yards, Texas Stardance Cattle LLC, Allflex, the Hereford Research Foundation and GeneSeek. 

Hereford Feedout Program

                  “This program isn’t a contest but an opportunity for producers to send cattle to get data and information back on their cattle and learn what cattle feeders are up against,” shares Befort. 

                  This year, 162 steers from 11 producers in eight states are a part of the program. There are also a few pens of heifers. 

                  Cattle are on the same timeline as steers from the NJHA Fed Steer Shootout and harvested as CHB candidates at National Beef. The program provides opportunity for producers to maximize profit potential, improve the accuracy of carcass expected progeny differences, expand marketing avenues, gain access to the U.S. Premium Beef grid and market into the CHB brand, according to AHA. 

                  “The Hereford Feedout Program is the most direct way for AHA membership to participate in the CHB brand and improve their cattle,” Befort concludes. 

                  Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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