Dredla engages in premiere education at Beef Leaders Institute (BLI)
By Peyton Schmitt
Bonnie Dredla of Luling attended the 2023 Beef Leaders Institute (BLI) June 13-17. The annual event is hosted by the American Angus Association and funded by the Angus Foundation and Certified Angus Beef. BLI provides Association members the opportunity to experience the beef value chain from pasture to plate.
“It’s truly a privilege to welcome a new Beef Leaders Institute class each year,” said Mark McCully, Association CEO. “This unique experience fosters growth for attendees and provides an opportunity to connect with their fellow breeders.”
Participants began the week at the American Angus Association in Saint Joseph, Missouri. While at the breed’s headquarters, attendees met with staff to learn about the many departments and programs housed within the Association. Several Association employees offered insights, including Mark McCully; Kelli Retallick-Riley, Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) president; and Clay Zwilling, Angus Media president.
Attendees then hit the road, departing from Saint Joseph to further explore the production and processing sectors of the beef industry. They toured Tyson Fresh Meats in Dakota City, Nebraska, and Weborg Feedyards in Pender, Nebraska.
For the next leg of the trip, attendees traveled to Ohio to continue studying the beef value chain. While visiting Buckhead Toledo, Northwood, Ohio, participants experienced the preparation of value-added CABproducts. They explored the impact of genetics in the beef industry at STgenetics of Tiffin, Ohio.
The final days of the experience were spent in The Culinary Center at the CAB® brand’s headquarters in Wooster, Ohio. From a “Taste the Difference,” steak tasting to a hands-on beef fabrication demonstration in the meat lab, participants explored the specifications behind putting a CAB® steak on the dinner table. Their newly-gained knowledge was even put to the test as they prepared their own steaks with the assistance of world-class chef, Venoy Roggers, III.
During a week fully immersing themselves in the industry, the BLI class realized how the cattle they raise influence the industry well beyond their pastures.
“We’re always selling bulls and you see the commercial people, but you don’t really see what happens to the beef after it leaves,” said Trevor Hinkle, an attendee from Nevada, Missouri. “It’s just a really interesting process to see what happens after it gets to the packer, leaves the packer, and how there’s value made along the whole chain, and how many people are really working to do that. — it’s a really eye-opening experience.”
Hinkle said he’s eager to take what he learned home and share it with his operation’s customers. He expressed his gratitude for the knowledge, perspective and new friendships gained throughout the week.
“We are proud to support educational opportunities like Beef Leaders Institute for our members,” said Jaclyn Boester, Angus Foundation executive director. “Providing experiences that prepare our breeders for success is a vital part of the Foundation’s mission to ensure a bright future for the breed.”
Providing continued education for the Angus membership is a priority for the Association. BLI is designed to equip members ages 25 to 45 with the resources to understand all segments of the beef industry. Attendees leave as stronger, more effective leaders for the Angus breed and beef industry. To learn more about BLI, visit www.angus.org/Event/BLIEntryForm. The 2024 application will be available in early November.