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Agriculture

Seedstock Merchandising Team partners with Leachman Cattle of Colo.

February 22, 2010

Colorado State University's student seedstock merchandising team and College of Agricultural Sciences will be holding a first-ever joint bull and female sale with Leachman Cattle of Colorado on March 27. The CSU seedstock team, a group of eight undergraduate students, will select, prepare and merchandise CSU genetics, and also will participate in all aspects of the joint sale.

Collectively, 600 bulls and 125 females including angus, red angus, Hereford, Charolais and stabilizer composites will be offered during the sale at the CSU Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center facility, 4482 East County Road 56, Fort Collins.

For more than 30 years, CSU has produced angus and Hereford yearling bulls and heifers from its 150-head cowherd. Since 2003, the seedstock team has overseen the marketing of these cattle through an annual production sale.

Students actively involved

“The students become intricately involved with the production, management, and marketing of seedstock cattle produced by CSU,” said Jason Ahola, assistant professor of animal sciences and team advisor. “Unfortunately, we only market about 30 to 35 bulls each year, which is much smaller than most other single-source bull sales.”

To improve the students’ experiences, combining the CSU sale with another local seedstock producer’s sale was explored.

“A joint sale with many more bulls enables the students to experience a large-scale sale, but still enables CSU to use the same location and date that it always has,” Ahola said. “The larger sale also provides students with the unique perspective of marketing seedstock on a national scale.”

Win-win situation

“We are giving the students a chance to develop national advertising campaigns, and many of the logistics associated with bull and heifer development, preparation and merchandising,” said Lee Leachman, owner and general manager of Leachman Cattle of Colorado. “It’s a win-win situation because students are able to improve their understanding of seedstock production and marketing, while also expanding their networking opportunities in the cattle industry.”

From September through March, the seedstock team meets weekly and receives university class credit for their efforts. Students work in small committees that each addresses different aspects of the sale, including animal management and preparation, performance data collection and management, marketing and promotion, and sale logistics.

In addition to overseeing the annual sale, the seedstock team also represents CSU’s genetics and the animal sciences program at several industry events throughout the year. Recently, students participated in the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association mid-winter meeting, the Range Cow Beef Symposium and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s annual convention. A pen of Hereford heifers was also displayed and shown by the team at the National Western Stock Show in January.

Hands-on participation

Throughout the year the students learn about the U.S. beef seedstock industry via hands-on participation, but the ultimate goal of the seedstock team is to expand students’ skills to include teamwork, interpersonal communications, and leadership.

“We’re trying to produce students who are prepared to enter the beef industry and apply their knowledge toward challenges confronting seedstock and commercial cow/calf production,” said Ahola.

Students may apply for next year's team in April

Students interested in becoming a member of the seedstock team must be enrolled at CSU and complete a formal application in April. Selected applicants are interviewed and chosen by outgoing team members prior to the end of the spring semester. All CSU students are eligible to apply to become a member of the seedstock team, regardless of major.


Contact: Jason Ahola
E-mail: jason.ahola@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-3312