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Junior Cattlemen host Summer Field Day

The second annual Franklin County Junior Cattlemen’s Summer Field Day has been scheduled for June 29 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Madden Brangus Farm in Spruce Pine.

Caleb Beason, Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association president and one of four Junior Cattlemen directors, said last year’s summer field day was a success with about 82 young people in attendance.

“We hope to continue this every year in the future,” Beason said.

The event is free and open to junior cattlemen from Franklin as well as surrounding counties. “That way we can feed off one another and learn things from each other and continue to make it more of an intertwined operation,” Beason explained. “It will help make it a successful event with even more people being there.” Young people who aren’t in the Junior Cattlemen’s Association but might be interested are also welcome to attend.

Beason said he thinks it’s the wide array of cattle-related topics that attracts young cattlemen to field day. “We always have our judging to teach and instruct the kids on livestock evaluation skills and decision-making,” said Beason. Past field days have also covered everything from vaccination protocols and ear tagging in chute side demonstrations to artificial insemination and determining beef quality.

Saturday’s activities will include hay sampling, with regional Extension agent Paul Vining providing information about hay nutrition.

“We’re just going to teach the kids how to take a hay sample. You use a corer – a long cylindrical tube that attaches to a hand drill – and it spins around,” Vining explained. “It’s sharp on one end, and you drill into a bale of hay; you sample several bales and send them to the lab, and they do analysis on it.” Vining said he’ll explain to the young cattle farmers the importance of knowing the hay’s nutritive quality, which allows the farmer to know what supplements he might need to provide for his herd’s dietary needs – “whether that’s for growth or lactation or to maintain that animal’s weight through the winter.” He’ll also explain cattle’s digestive system and digestive process.

“It’s something we can do that’s hands on and gives them an opportunity to use tools and see a real-world type scenario,” Vining added.

Alabama Cattlemen’s Association’s Ali Cantrell, director of education and outreach, will present on beef cuts. “She is going to tell us all about the various cuts on that animal – our steaks and our roasts and where they originate from,” Beason explained.

A hamburger lunch will be served at noon.

As a special attraction at this year’s field day, participants will be invited to guess the weight of a steer or heifer on site.

“We’re going to have it in a pen, and then all morning, people can write down on a piece of paper how much that animal weighs,” Beason said. “We’ll have a scale there, and that’s the last thing we’re going to do – and whoever gets the closest weight will get the prize.”

The Franklin County Junior Cattlemen’s Association was started in late 2017 and has grown to more than 60 members. The association is open to ages 21 and younger.

As at last year’s field day, a recruitment incentive is on the line Saturday. The Junior Cattleman who has recruited the most new members in the past year will receive a free heifer donated by a local cattle farmer – an initiative, Beason said, designed both to grow the association and to help a young, ambitious cattle farmer grow his herd.

Other Junior Cattlemen directors are Joe Hester, Gannon Nunley and Michael Pounders.

For more information call Beason at 256-577-2027.

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