Two Ohio Ranchers Travels 1,249 Miles to Unlock Keys to Beef Value Chain


July 2, 2024




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Holly Martin, director of communications




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Cutline 1: Ohio cattleman, Rob Phillips cooks up a steak meal at the Certified Angus Beef ® Culinary Center.


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Cutline 2: Ohio cattlewoman, Jacy Bapst tours the historic halls of the American Angus Association® in St. Joseph, Missouri.


Two Ohio Ranchers Travels 1,249 Miles to Unlock Keys to Beef Value Chain

Two Ohio ranchers are among a small group of breeders were selected to attend the 2024 Beef Leaders Institute and spend a week learning about the beef value chain.


From pasture to plate, it takes multiple links in the value chain to bring Americans the hamburgers they are throwing on the grill this 4th of July. And each link is integral to the success of the others. That was one of many takeaways for the 25 Angus producers selected to attend the 2024 Beef Leaders Institute.

“To tour other parts of the industry, like a large packing plant, and hear about the challenges and how we, as producers, can help reduce those challenges, that is very valuable,” said attendee Rob Phillips of RL Valley Ranch in Athens, Ohio.

Phillips is a fourth-generation rancher. He and his wife’s operation includes one of the first direct-to-consumer beef programs licensed by Certified Angus Beef’s Ranch to TableTM.

Phillips was joined on the trip by Jacy Bapst from Beaver, Ohio. She serves as the state secretary and fieldman for the Ohio Angus Association and runs Pannell Enterprises, a marketing agency focused on rural businesses. Bapst and her husband also have a herd of commercial Angus cows.

BLI is hosted by the American Angus Association®, in partnership with Certified Angus Beef ® brand and the Angus Foundation to develop young cattlemen and women as industry leaders.

“Our Angus breeders are the very beginning of the food chain. They are raising the high-quality Angus genetics that are the very start of things,” said Kara Lee, director of producer engagement at Certified Angus Beef. “However, sometimes producers can be so focused on executing that it can prevent them from having a better understanding of how they impact every step along the way to the consumer.”

The five-day tour started at the American Angus Association® in St. Joseph, Missouri, and traveled to six states before wrapping up at the Certified Angus Beef headquarters in Wooster, Ohio. Attendees toured Tyson-Dakota City, Weborg Feedyard, Buckhead of Ohio, STgenetics, and a Meijer Grocery Store along the way.

The whirlwind of a travel week still allowed time for the attendees to get to know one another. This year’s group came from a wide range of operations that vary in size and kind, representing 16 states and two Canadian providences.

“The biggest thing is the contacts that we get to make,” said Phillips. “These are going to be lifelong friends that are only a phone call, a text or email away; be able to share challenges, insights, advice or questions, that is one of the best takeaways.”

The Class of 2024 will have the opportunity to expand their network further at the Angus Convention in November where they will be invited to take part in a reunion event for all Beef Leaders Institute classes.

Applications for the 2025 Beef Leaders Institute will open in late fall to American Angus Association members between the ages of 25 and 45.



-          Written by Jessica Hartman, Angus Communications


ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association® is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving more than 22,000 members across the United States, Canada and several other countries. It’s home to an extensive breed registry that grows by more than 300,000 animals each year. The Association also provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.


For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association, visit

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