The 2018 Young Cattlemen's Conference (YCC), hosted by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), is the most influential meeting
in the beef industry to help young cattlemen and women be on the cutting edge. It features industry leaders and representatives who
deliver their input and opinions on the forecast of the beef industry as well as the newest technological advances. John Dickinson,
Sacramento, California, was the chosen representative of the Angus Foundation. Each year, the Angus Foundation selects one outstanding
young individual to be its representative to promote the industry for the next generation, and this year Dickinson was the fortunate
Dickinson, originally from Illinois, moved to California in 1999 as a regional manager for the American Angus Association®. Though he has
since left the Association, he said he is truly grateful for the impact it had on him and the connections he made through it, and he has
continued to stay involved in the beef industry.
Even though YCC is a ten-day commitment, it is well worth it, Dickinson said.
Hands-down, it’s the best industry tour and experience I’ve
had in my life with the most bright, experienced and selective group of cattlemen I’ve ever met.
Gate to Plate
Dickinson gained many different perspectives, both from his peers as well as the furthered insight from the cattle producers and industry
leaders in production, research, genetics, retail, policy and beyond.
Denver was the first stop of many on this ten-day tour of beef across the country. It was at the NCBA headquarters that the participants
in the conference were able to see firsthand what NCBA is doing to make an effort for the industry as a whole.
A stop at the Safeway flagship store prior to leaving Colorado allowed participants to see and appreciate the retail aspect of the
industry. It portrayed the techniques and marketing used to sell the beef in a grocery store. Chicago was the location for the stops at
McDonald's, Hillshire Farms and OSI, Inc. the nation's premier beef patty manufacturer, to display their techniques for using beef in
their products as well as the processing that goes into getting that meat to the consumer plate. Dickinson had a great appreciation for
the transparency that these companies showed. When talking to JBS corporate he said they were
extremely candid about how the market
affects them and what they need from us as producers as well.
Finishing in Washington D.C., the participants received an insider perspective of the impacts of legislation on the daily livelihood of
a beef cattle producer. Briefings from the NCBA lobbyists and policy experts started out the D.C. leg, then each participant was encouraged
to visit their respective congressional offices to advocate for the beef industry.
This portion of the trip Dickinson found to be the most influential as well as the most eye-opening. Each participant receives a brief
training of how to talk to the congressmen, and Dickinson was surprised by the genuine impact he can have with his representatives.
I had never participated in anything similar to this before and had never been to D.C. and was skeptical that us few cattlemen could
make a difference, Dickinson said.
However, the people I spoke to really listened and were appreciative of my perspective, and I
have already received thank you letters from their offices.
The Young Cattlemen's Conference (YCC) provides a platform to help develop future leaders in the beef industry. The
conference aids in developing leadership skills in our young Angus breeders and allows them to participate in a program that will expose
them to many aspects of the cattle industry. Many areas of the beef industry are covered while on tour with the Young Cattlemen's
Conference (YCC) including industry structure, management issues, production research, marketing, legislative affairs, just to name a few.
Every year, the Angus Foundation selects one participant to sponsor on the YCC tour. Sponsorship by the Foundation covers travel costs
and registration fees. The applicant must be between the ages of 25 to 50 and must also be a member of the National Cattlemen's Beef
Association. The first award was given in 2003.
If you have questions regarding the Young Cattlemen's Conference please contact the Angus Foundation.
View Past YCC Candidates