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Nov. 23, 2011
By Brittany Keithley, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University’s agriculture department exhibited the Grand Champion Charolais Bull at this year's American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo. They also exhibited two heifers that placed second and fifth, respectively, in their classes.
Farm Manager Jim Husz and University Beef Technician Sam Rucker took the livestock on to the Louisville National Show, Nov. 10-14, where the bull placed third, the one of the heifers placed second in its class and the other sold for $3,300 to a farm in South Dakota.
“That kind of exposure lets prospective students know what kind of cattle we have and lets students know that when they are getting involved in agriculture at Northwest they are working with great cattle,” Rucker said.
Three Northwest students assisted Husz and Rucker at the American Royal Livestock Show by presenting the bull and two heifers as well as washing, brushing and leading the show cattle. However, it was the students’ work prior to the competitions that led to a successful showing.
Kylie Cantrell, a junior animal science major from Weed, Calif., credits the department’s preparation prior to the American Royal for their success. Cantrell began working with the cattle in early September to prepare the animals for the show environment.
“I never had much exposure to a show environment aside from my local county fair,” Cantrell said. “The American Royal changed my views on showing entirely. The environment that I was a part of was a much friendlier atmosphere than I had expected, and it was a great experience to work alongside of Jim and Sam while they were fitting, clipping and showing me show-day preparations.”
The atmosphere didn’t slow Rebecca Mallet, a sophomore agricultural education major from Baring, from helping rinse and blow dry calves each morning to prepare them for showing. Maintaining the calves throughout the day helped her utilize some of the techniques she’s learned at Northwest.
“The cattle industry is one that is always evolving, and there are constantly new techniques to learn,” Mallet said. “It is nice to get outside of the classroom and learn in the real world, and to put my education to use. Getting to show on the national level was truly a great experience.”
At the show, the students met cattle breeders from across the United States and developed better understanding of the work that goes into a major livestock show.
“We go to meet with other breeders and ranchers and let them see our cattle and see how other parts of the country are raising their cattle,” Rucker said. “This industry is all about meeting people, so it’s good to get the students out so they can meet the people who are selling.”
Hands-on opportunities like the livestock show offer students much more than a purple ribbon. With instruction on livestock production, selection, breeding, feeding, marketing, general management and electives tailored to a students’ interests, the department presents students with the knowledge to excel when they step into the arena.
“Winning a major show like this shows a level of commitment to producing and teaching students about not only quality livestock, but that quality in anything is usually the result of hard work, effort and diligence to stay true to the goal,” Husz said.
Northwest’s Department of Agriculture offers eight academic majors and provides students with hands-on experiences at its 448-acre R.T. Wright Farm north of campus, the Horticulture Complex, a composting facility and on the campus grounds as the Missouri State Arboretum. This fall the department saw a 20 percent increase in its enrollment, for a total of 475 students.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468