PERRY, GA – Just like in past years, the annual Georgia Cattlemen’s Association’s convention was a big hit as producers from all over the state of Georgia came together. The three-day event gave producers the chance to learn about new technology and learn about what’s happening in the Georgia beef industry.
“Our mission is to unite cattlemen and bring life blood to the industry. So, we strive to do things through legislation, through education, to make the industry more profitable for beef cattle producers in the state of Georgia. So, we host events like this one this weekend where we can offer education, where we can offer futuristic thinking, things that are maybe coming down the line in the next few years that people need to be thinking about,” says Kristy Arnold, President of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association (GCA).
The theme of this year’s convention was “Georgia Grown”, which focused on marketing and selling beef that’s grown, well, here in Georgia.
“A lot of times we get questions from producers that may be interested in producing a local beef product, and then I also get calls on a regular basis about consumers wanting local beef,” says Will Bentley, Executive Vice President of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. “So, we’ve kind of tailored our convention this year towards the educational side of, if you want to produce beef that goes direct to consumers, this is how you do it, these are the regulations, these are the opportunities, these are the challenges.”
The importance of this event can’t be expressed enough as it allows producers to be exposed to everything they would need to have a successful operation all in one place. It even lets them learn from industry leaders in their cattleman’s college.
“It’s the largest trade show specifically to the cattle industry where you can come out and get all of the equipment and implements that you may need for your operation,” says Bentley. “It’s a great opportunity to learn; a lot of producer education that goes on so that everyone knows what’s going on in the cattle industry, so we can all move forward together.”
Aside from getting to see the latest in equipment, it is also a learning opportunity for those in attendance as they get to hear about what challenges the beef industry is facing. One of the bigger challenges is making sure consumers are educated about the beef industry and not misled.
“They don’t really understand what we do, and they don’t understand that we, here in the United States, provide the cheapest, most wholesome, nutritious product as far as food and protein that there is in the world,” says Arnold.
Another challenge is one that most sectors of the ag world are facing, and that is the challenge of having an aging workforce. It’s something that the GCA is focusing on as they work to help producers that are just entering the business, which is something that can be difficult to do.
“The average farmer in the United States is well over sixty years old now,” says Arnold. “So, we’re really trying to work with the younger producers, getting them the footing that they need to be successful in ag, because it’s a very expensive industry to get into. Equipment is very expensive, all of the capital investments that you have to make are extremely hard to come by, unless someone leaves it to you in your will or you are born into a generational type family farm.”
By: John Holcomb