Center pivots and Cattle…Environmental to Feedlot Health. The last leg of the ride…
Summer is over and it feels as if it just began. Everything in life has a tremendous beginning, with the excitement of something new on the horizon. The moments leading up to that beginning are full of ideas and thoughts of what this opportunity will bring you. Then as if the beginning passes in the blink of an eye, you can see the end drawing near. As the end draws closer the feelings and memories of the summer start replaying in your mind and you relive the joy and excitement you longed for at the beginning.
The last leg of the ride has been a tremendous experience. My third rotation placed me in the Yard Maintenance Department where I was exposed to the Environmental issues that are faced by the feedyard. Water is the number one concern with the feedlot. Run off has to be contained to prevent pollution of other water sources and fresh water has to be available to keep the extraordinary number of cattle happy and healthy. The captured water is tested for the nutrient value and then pumped to center pivots on the crop circles. This allows the ability to get rid of the captured waste water as well as growing crops to use in the rations on the feedyard.
The next step in the excitement of the internship came from the Internship Seminar in Greeley, Colorado. Being able to spend four days in the Rocky Mountains is what some people have only dreamed of.
The seminar began with a tour of the JBS Packing Plant in Greeley. If the vastness of the feedyard has you mesmerized, when you step into the 850,000 square feet of the packing plant, you feel very minuet and as you travel through, you begin to wonder which was is up and how did I get here.
As the cattle travel through the plant you see just how much labor goes into this last leg of the beef industry and you see the packaging of the product you have spent long cold nights, hot summer days, laughed and cried and loved every minute of whatever aspect of the lifecycle your involved in. From the time that calf hits the ground to the product being placed on a consumer’s plate, you have the pride of knowing that you helped feed the world.
After the plant tour we were able to tour another one of the company’s feedyards and see just how different each yard, among the company, varies. The highlight of this tour was to have lunch and here the story of how you can grow and become anything you want, as long as you are devoted and willing to drive forward. These words from CEO Mike Thoren gave hope and helped you keep the willingness to continue to better yourself and the unknowingness of what is to come.
As the trip continued we journeyed into the Rocky Mountains for the discussion and business part of the seminar. COO John Foley conducted the meetings and discussions as we were able to discuss what we wanted to see from future employers and talk about what our generation faced going forward. Millennials are the next wave to enter the workforce and their ideas of success are ever changing from past generations.
We stepped into real world situations as we were given three sets of cattle to decide which group would make the most money. We had to figure what the break-even cost was and decide how much we wanted to bid on the group of cattle, while striving to win the bid against the other buyers. The final aspect of the seminar, we were given a management scenario of a problem with employees and how we would handle it. These real world situations gave us insight on some of the challenges faced each and every day.
Returning from Colorado marks the downhill slide of the internship. I spent the final days in the cattle department learning the health protocol of sick cattle and the importance of early detection to best minimize losses. Shipping and Receiving allowed me insight on what goes on in getting cattle to the feedyard and the methods of sorting and processing to insure maximum potential. I was given the ability to look at cattle that were getting close to being shipped, establish an estimate on how that set of cattle would perform and grade and finally see the data after harvest. The ability to compare the data and picturing the cattle helped hone your skills and see how different genetics affect performance.
As my time in Southwest Kansas draws to a close I look back on my time here and I am truly blessed beyond words. I have met some tremendous people who I will always remember as well as true friends that will be in touch with regardless of where life takes us. I am so thankful for this opportunity presented to me.
August marks my Senior Year at Oklahoma State University and this is going to be the best year yet, opportunities are endless and what the future holds is a great motivator to keep your head down and keep plowing, making a difference and proving yourself to everyone who says you can’t do it and the satisfaction of coming back from a downfall and pursuing an education.
Summer 2016 goes down as the best with tremendous life changing opportunities.
Thank You for this opportunity:
JBS FIVE RIVERS RANCH CATTLE FEEDING, LLC.
Mike Thoren & John Foley
Chad Gross & Chuck Holcomb
And everyone else in the Five Rivers Family for giving me this opportunity and investing in my education and giving me insight to allow me to achieve in my future endeavors.