Thursday, August 22, 2013

We Need To Promote Beef


I am 13-year-old Brody Hill and I raise and show Simbrah cattle.  I recently attended the youth program at the 59th Annual Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course with other junior Simbrah exhibitors, Olivia Vela, Ariana Cantu and Matthew and Amanda Salinas. I came home with something that shocked me.  People are not eating beef like they have in the past.
In my house, we eat beef on a regular basis.  Probably because my dad has always raised commercial cattle at one point or another in his life and he was raised with the belief that we need to "Eat More Beef” and because he doesn't care too much for chicken!  So, the numbers that the presenters were showing us really surprised me.  That made me realize that OUR industry, the beef industry, is in serious trouble.  I learned that less and less people are buying and eating beef products. Plus they are being persuaded every day not to eat beef, by either the other industries, famous chefs, and/or environmentalists.  These groups are targeting our consumers. 
Beef used to be the number one category, but now we are second and loosing ground by the day.  If we don't do something, we will soon be third, behind chicken and pork and possibly become an insignificant meat category.
What can we do, as juniors, as Simbrah breeders, as members of the beef industry?  We can ADVOCATE.  One of my favorite parts of the program was put on by a gentlemen named Bruce Vincent.  Mr. Vincent is a logger from Libby, Montana and his industry and his family business was targeted by environmentalists and it really affected his town.  One of the main points that he made clear was that just because you are small does not mean you can't be heard.  This really encouraged me that I can make a difference, however small I may think it is.  We have a big responsibility on our shoulders as future Simbrah breeders and cattlemen.  We have to start now telling kids our age that we do not treat cattle inhumanly, that we do not abuse animals, and that beef really is good for you.  I would encourage every Simbrah show kid to attend events like the TAM BCSC   We need to learn about more about our industry and how to promote beef. Thanks!

Brody Hill
Edinburg, Texas

Friday, August 16, 2013

Simbrah Juniors Participate in TAM Beef Cattle Short Course

Beef, beef, and more beef!
Simbrah showman and Linn San Manuel 4-H club members, Brody Hill, Matthew Salinas, Ariana Cantu, Olivia Vela and Amanda Salinas, along with leaders Ana Salinas and Tonya Hill,  attended the youth portion of the  Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course. We spent two and a half days learning about, evaluating, and eating beef. The first day we walked to the Rosenthal Meat Science Center.  There we learned about the life of a steer and how it goes from the feed yard to the plate. Next we learned about the A&M Meats Judging Team, yield grades and the USDA quality grades. We also judged four steer carcasses.  Then w headed back to the Memorial Student Center (MSC) and ate some good ole fashion hamburgers. After lunch, we attended the general session at Rudder Auditorium, which included a weather forecase, a glimpse of the changes coming the beef industry and learned about being an activist for agriculture.  Then we went to the Famous Texas Aggie Prime Rib Dinner.

On the second day, we went to the Agriculture and Life Science Headquarters. Dr. Chris Boleman talked to us about our position in the future of agriculture and inspired us to spread the word and promote agriculture. Then we went back to the MCS for lunch and were served roast beef sandwiches.   Then we headed back to the Agriculture and Life Science Headquarters. There we were given a beef related topic and had to present our topic to A&M professors. It was great learning new skills from the A&M professors and getting critiques from them.  After that we left and went back to the MSC for a fajita dinner.  The third day we met at the A&M Beef Center and went to the side chute workshop. We learned about syringes and needles, deworming cattle, dehorning cattle, cattle identification, castrating,  and branding.  Overall we all had a very good time and learned so much.  This will definitely help us as we start our new 4-H year with our cattle projects.
By:  Matthew Salinas, Amanda Salinas, Olivia Vela, Ariana Cantu

P.S.  from their judging coach, Tonya Hill
I would like to commend Ana Salinas, the 4-H leader of the Linn-San Manuel 4-H Club.  She has gone above and beyond to help me and encourage the students in our club to learn more about, not only their animals, but their industry.  Every crazy idea I throw out, she says YES!  I appreciate her support more than she can imagine.  She is a true leader and an  ADVOCATE of our kiddos in the Linn-San Manuel area.  Second, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to my crazy beef club kiddos.  They are a tremendously talented set of kids and I can't wait to see what they do with their super powers!  I rounded up all of these kids about six weeks before the State 4-H Round Up Invitational Livestock Judging Contest.  We practiced once a week until the contest and they ended up placing 6th out of 42 teams.  Now that's talent!  I also know that every one of them get out there and are hands on in raising their Simbrah cattle.  They've got a bright future and we should be proud that they chose this breed.  I can't say enough how lucky I am to get to lead these young people.  Lastly, to all of the parents, Simbrah leaders, industry experts....please continue to encourage these young people.  They truly are our future, not only in this breed, but this industry.  The agriculture sector is bleeding future leaders.  We need to keep talented kids like Mathew, Amanda, Olivia, Ariana, and Brody with us.  We cannot afford to loose this future.  I would challenge you to not only continue what you are doing.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

SimGenetics' Junior Activities Prepares Youth

 by Sam Hodges
This summer, I was fortunate enough to work as an Intern on Capitol Hill in the Office of Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas District 1. District one covers the Tyler/Longview/Lufkin areas. As I prepared to move to Washington and begin work, I read through the Intern Manual to prepare for the job. As an intern, you are essentially a filter for incoming calls and emails to the Congressman. As a call comes in, I would answer, listen to the constituent (person living in Texas District 1), answer any questions he or she had about statements made by the Congressman or upcoming legislation, and log their comments into the data management system by topic, opinion, and urgency. In addition to this, I ran errands for the office, delivered documents to the Congressman he needed on the House floor from the office, transcribed committee meetings and hearings, made sure the refrigerator was stocked with drinks, sorted incoming mail by topic, and directed calls to the appropriate staff member in the office.
                  Another job I had, which is unique to Congressman Gohmert’s office, was to assist him on night tours of the Capitol Building, which he usually leads once a week while the House of Representatives is in session. These tours are very informative and entertaining because Mr. Gohmert is a history buff, with a History Degree from Texas A&M University, and they are very through. We led groups through almost every room in the Capitol, including going onto both the House and Senate floor where votes are cast and issues are debated, the old Supreme Court chambers, the old Senate Chambers, Statuary Hall (the old House Chamber, the rotunda, the Speaker’s balcony, and the Congressional Prayer room. These tours last around 3 hours, but are intriguing.
                  Working for Congressman Gohmert was an extremely enlightening experience. Being on the Hill and witnessing how much effort goes into passing one piece of legislation, the hectic schedules of members of Congress, and how this all balances out was eye-opening. I was very lucky to work in an office that I could interact with the Congressman too. Other interns living in the townhouse I stayed in at Eastern Market only met their Congressman once or twice over the course of the summer and were never given actual things to do other than answer the phone. Mr. Gohmert made a point to talk to the interns, and normally took us to lunch once a week when he was in the office.
                  Being selected to Intern, in any capacity be it on the Hill, at a research lab, in a ranch breeding facility, or with an investment bank, requires ambition and self-motivation. You must have a strong desire to succeed and put your best foot forward. Where did I acquire these skills that helped me be successful on the job? A large portion of it was from my family and community growing up. Their unwavering support heavily equipped me with motivation. Another huge contributor was the professionalism and practical skills I developed in the Simbrah/Simmental Junior Program. The verbal communication skills I learned from participating in Sales Talk and Public Speaking at TJSSA State Futurity, American Junior Simbrah Roundup, and Cow Camp at Smith Genetics gave me an edge over colleagues and help you stand out because you are able to take a piece of information, process it in your mind, then clearly communicate its meaning to another person. This helps tremendously when explaining issues to constituents on the phone, visitors in the office, or in meetings with staffers and the Congressman. Yes, from time to time the Congressman would call us into his office and have us explain what the callers were talking about and why they held the opinions they expressed to us. As you might imagine, not all callers were friendly supporters or inquisitive constituents. Some individuals simply wanted to call in and pick a fight because their views did not match the Congressman on ways he voted on legislation. Through participation in Showmanship, we learn how to be good sports and keep our calm in the show ring while maintaining focus. This “practice” helped me remain civil and calm although callers on the other end may have been yelling or using profanity.  And finally, the overall broad knowledge we learn about agriculture and the specifics we learn about breeding and cattle management help too. Not everyone knows that there are different breeds of cattle. Not everyone knows that embryo transplants and artificial insemination are common practices in our industry. This base knowledge we are equipped with enables us to engage in conversations about legislation or issues arising in agriculture (House Resolution 6233 The Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 addressing aid to farmers and ranchers in these harsh drought conditions) and provide valuable input. My point is simple. The programs provided as contests to Juniors in our breed have real-world applicability. Will your Junior know how to A.I. a cow because they participated in one of these events? No. Will studying and preparing for the quizzes help them gain a better understanding of our industries practices? Yes. Will participating in Showmanship, Sales Talk, and Public Speaking develop their communication skills and self-discipline? Yes. Although it may seem silly to some Juniors to compete in these contests and they may be afraid of answering a question wrong or saying the wrong thing, I strongly urge you to encourage them to participate. The only way for them to improve is to practice, study, and eventually put themselves to the test by getting out there and doing it!
                  As you can see, there are both direct and indirect benefits to our Junior program. Having run the Simbrah/Simmental Junior gauntlet, and interacted with countless friends showing different breeds of cattle, I can honestly say that we got it right. Opportunities afforded to Simbrah/Simmental kids are endless compared to other Junior programs and I am extremely thankful to everyone who helped make my junior experience as informative and enjoyable as it was both inside and outside of the show ring.

Sam Hodges is a current senior Political Science Major/History Minor at Texas A&M University, and is a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets where he serves as Commander of the Cadet Leadership Council.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Come on down to the Valley


August 30, 2012

The entire crew at La Muneca is excited about the 25th Annual Field Day and LMC Futurity coming up in October.  Registration will begin Saturday morning and there will be hay and cattle judging contest with multiple classes to be judged with multiple age divisions including adults.  Prior to the contest we will have experienced speakers providing their input on how to judge hay and cattle.  This event is open to the public and there is no entry fee for the contests or the field day.   

Throughout the day we will have speakers on various topics, including showmanship, nutrition and interesting leadership topics from some of the industry’s effective leaders.  The Edinburg FFA will be on hand serving food throughout the event and as is the tradition at every field day, every kid registered will win a door prize.  A BIG HEARTY THANKS to all the donors who have generously donated door prizes over the last 25 years of this fun filled and educational event.  Many leaders will be on hand to answer any of your questions regarding your cattle project throughout the day.  Buckles and premiums will be awarded to the winners of the hay and cattle judging contests at the conclusion of the field day.  We would also like to extend a BIG HEARTY THANKS to all the donors of these buckles and premiums over the last 25 years.  We will also be awarding our annual LMC Awards, which include the LMC Educator of the Year, LMC Booster of the Year and LMC Volunteer of the Year.  The winners of the LMC Raffle will also be awarded, if you are interested in buying tickets for the raffle and have not been contacted by a LMC junior, please give us a call.   

At the conclusion of the field day we will have the LMC Futurity, where the members of the winning LMC Jr. Show Team will compete in showmanship and show their cattle.  These hard working juniors will be competing for premiums in which they raised through selling raffle tickets for the LMC Raffle.  The juniors keep half of what each ticket sells for and the other half makes up the purse for the LMC Futurity, which has awarded over $10,000 a year on average to the LMC Jr. Show Team.  As the tradition with all LMC events, half of the money will be awarded in the showmanship contest and the other half will be awarded in the cattle show.  As we celebrate 25 successful years of the LMC South Texas Jr. Roundup & LMC Futurity, we will also host and celebrate the first ever Purebred Brahman Steer Show.  Juniors will be competing for buckles, banners and premiums.  We are excited to have Chris & Kasey Shivers of Houston, Texas come down to work with our kids and sort through the exhibitors and cattle.  Both Chris and Kasey have spent their entire lives in the industry and enjoy working with the kids.  Chris is the Executive Vice President of the American Brahman Breeders Association and Kasey is an Attorney at Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout LLP, both located in Houston, Texas.

At the conclusion of the LMC Futurity we will host our annual LMC Customer Appreciation Dinner, which you are invited to attend.  Here we will share stories about all the good times and deeds done over the last 25 years at the LMC South Texas Jr. Roundup and LMC Futurity and enjoy plenty of fellowship.  We encourage and welcome 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters, as well as judging teams to attend this event and if you have any questions feel free to contact us at or 956.383.7566.  WE HOPE YOU CAN JOIN US!  

The Carlos X. Guerra Family

Monday, March 5, 2012

Running For Beef

by Lindsay Garrett

I guess you could say it was a coincidence. About the time I decided to start running last summer, I was also asked to write a story about the Texas Beef Running Team, sponsored by the Texas Beef Council. Talk about an impressive program full of passionate team members. I didn’t plan to continue running,  once the summer ended, but I, like many in the state, have been become passionate about the Beef Team. I not only continued to run, but decided to sign up for races.

After running my first race with the team in February, I know why it has proved so successful. The team, formed in 2008, boasts over 550 members. While the people are great and the opportunities on the team are wonderful, the beef promotion is what is phenomenal. I ran in the Austin Livestrong Marathon with over 20,000 others. The 26.2 mile course is lined with community members, business owners, volunteer organizations, family and friends all cheering for us participants, whether they know us or not. Since my new fans did not know my name, they would just constantly yell to my running partner (another Texas Beef Running Team member) and I, “Go Beef”, “Hey Beef”, “Where’s the Beef?” and so on as our shirts boldly say “Beef”.

The promotion of beef along the course was great and came at a pretty low cost. All we had to do was show up and run in our shirts provided by the Texas Beef Council. We were able to reach so many people that day and also make the other runners crave a juicy steak after they crossed the finish line.

One man from New Hampshire was absolutely obsessed with the idea of being sponsored by beef. He told me about a 50k (31 miles) race he was in and after the first half he bowed out and grabbed a burger at a stand where he had quit. After eating his beef, he said he felt great and went back to finish the last 15.5 miles. He said he always wanted to wear a shirt saying, “powered by the double bacon cheeseburger.”

The Texas Beef Running Team has members sporting their beef shirts at races just about every weekend. The team is a community of runners, triathletes, and health enthusiasts, who recognize the nutritional benefits of lean beef and the vital role this high-quality protein plays in their training. Many on the team train at high intensity levels, qualify for the Boston marathon, win awards like “one of ten for the fittest in Austin”, and the team even has a pro-athlete on the team.

While being on the team has many exciting opportunities the members are ultimately there to promote the nutritious beef product to those in the running community. One team member said the best part of his race was being told by the Chic-Fil-A team member that all she wanted was some beef at the finish line.  So rest assure Texas cattlemen, your check-off dollars are being well spent with the Texas Beef Running Team.

If you would like to join the team or volunteer to be part of the beef cheering crowd, visit

Monday, February 27, 2012

Yes, You Can Win $10,000 By Talking

by Callie Henly
          Pacing back and forth, mumbling words under your breath, and even sweaty palms is my reality as I await my turn to present my speech at the San Antonio Agricultural Public Speaking Contest to that intimidating panel of judges. While some people may be frightened by 103 students expressively speaking to a wall in order to prepare, I find it exhilarating! Being in those top spots at the most prestigious public speaking contest in Texas isn’t something that’s done overnight, and most often the first year competitor isn’t the “winner”.
            In order to compete in the San Antonio Agricultural Public Speaking Contest you must have a 6-8 minute speech on a topic relating to agriculture. You will then be placed in a certain division based on your speech topic. The divisions include: Animal Science, Plant Science, Natural Resources, Agribusiness, Agricultural Policy, and Agriscience. There is first a preliminary round and then the top two individuals from each division will go on to compete in the final round.
            As agriculture is so broad, it is very challenging to limit your selection to one piece of information. However, once you finally decide which direction to take, research, research, and more research is the next step on the road to success! Explore that subject until you can talk about it in your sleep! Finally, it’s time to write the speech. The only way to get going is to jump right in, so write one sentence, take a deep breath, and keep on going! The speech manuscript must follow APA style, so edit it until it’s perfect!
            I feel extremely fortunate to have so many adults to assist me in achieving the “ideal” speech. I highly recommend sending the speech to an AG teacher, county extension agent, or a other local agriculturists and consumers and ask them to send feedback on changes they would make to the speech, and questions they would ask if they were a judge. I can say this has helped me tremendously in my question and answer sessions during contests, as well as my overall presentation as many of these esteemed individuals also offered me pointers on speaking in general.
            Although many students set a goal to win at San Antonio in order to receive that $10,000 scholarship, there are speaking contests all year long in different areas of the Lonestar state. In October, The State Fair of Texas, and in March, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Public Speaking Contests are two examples.I recommend competing in all three of the contests I have mentioned, as they will definitely be huge preparation for your district FFA or 4-H contests. Walking across the stage at the Texas FFA Convention and receiving a banner for being in the top 10 senior prepared public speakers in the state is pretty exciting and well, I felt pretty important receiving an award in front of 10,000 other students like me!
            It may seem like a lot of work, and it is, but the rewards and fun outcomes make the long hours of studying and practicing worth it! I must say, the Texas Junior Simmental/Simbrah Association State Futurity and the American Junior Simmental Association Junior Nationals put me on the  road to public speaking. Had it not been for my parents forcing me to go into sales talk with tears streaming down my face, I’d still be that shy, timid little girl. Sales talk, public speaking, judging/oral reasons, cattlemen’s quiz, skill-a-thon, and the sweetheart contest, as well as serving on the junior board of directors for the TJSSA has not only allowed me to make friendships that will last a lifetime, but it also placed me on the career path I plan to take. I highly recommend the public speaking contests to any junior and would be happy to help anyone! You can contact me at 936-275-6050 or email me at Thanks and Gig em’!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Start a Conversation

Blog writer: Lindsay Garrett 

According to it takes approximately 3,000 cows to supply the 22,000 footballs the National Football League uses every season. That equates to a little more than seven footballs per cow. This makes me proud to be part of agriculture. This also makes me wonder if football players realize how much they depend on the beef industry to play the game they love? What about the 160 million plus that watch the Super Bowl, or any football game, do they understand the connection they have with agriculture?
      Sadly, most people see agriculture as a very nostalgic way of life or as a hobby. The truth is, everyone depends on agriculture. Vegan or omnivore, farmer or athlete, everyone is dependent.
      The cool thing about agriculture is that every country in the world has an agricultural industry. Without it, survival is not possible. Sadly, this industry, which is one of the largest worldwide, has lost its voice with its biggest audience-the consumer. We can’t depend on the next generation to tackle the lies that mothers are believing.  We have to do something. We have to start conversations. We have to tell our story.
      One simple and easy way to connect with consumers is through conversation. At the grocery store people are making their decisions, reading labels and questioning their food. One group in Illinois had mothers who farmed set up booths at the local grocery store and were available to answer questions from other moms and consumer. This built trust. This built a relationship. This put a face to our industry. This promoted the agricultural industry.
      Why can’t we do the same? We don’t even need the booth or “mom status” to build trust. Be on the look out for people eating. Be ready to spark a friendly conversation about their choices and also be ready to provide the facts. Tell your story and your connection to agriculture. Tell the consumer about the safety, care and healthiness found in agricultural products and the time producers and farmers put into their products.
       This idea is not the most profound one, but it is an easy one. You have no excuse but to get out there and share our story with your roommates, friends, coworkers and people you meet at the store. Every person is involved with agriculture, whether they know it or not.

Editors Note: This blog first was published on the TAMU Farmers Fight blogspot, which is an organization on the campus of Texas A&M promoting agriculture.