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Junior Cattlemen hold annual Summer Field Day

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

Ali Cantrell, director of education and outreach for the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, was on hand to speak about beef cuts. Cantrell explained to the young farmers in attendance the differences in the grades, which account for the variance in prices for prime cuts versus select. Factors include tenderness and juiciness, which have to do with the marbling – the fat that makes the grade better.

Paul Vining, regional Extension agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, talked about hay sampling and explained the benefits of conducting analysis to determine the quality of hay – specifically, to help make sure animals are receiving adequate nutrition. Members learned about how hay sampling is conducted, and a demonstration was done to show how to take a sample. 

John Sims, regional livestock specialist for Alabama Farmers Cooperative, spoke about how the cooperative helps cattle producers. Sims specializes in nutrition and works with local co-op stores to help producers develop appropriate feed programs for different types of cattle.

He determines feed source and mineral programs, which helps to ensure that various types of cattle receive proper nutrition.

Junior cattlemen members practiced their market cattle evaluation skills by ranking three classes from best to worst based on their appearance. Factors considered included muscle definition, fat and frame size. Prizes were awarded for first, second and third places in each class:

  • Class 1, Heifer: First place, Colt Thomas; second place, Noah Wyatt; third place, Addie Gilbert.
  • Class 2, Market Bulls: First place, Andrew Massey; second place, Colt Thomas; third place, Christlin Hester.
  • Class 3, Market Bulls: First place, Colton Martin; second place, Andrew Massey; third place, Colt Thomas.

Massey was awarded a heifer, donated by cattleman Chris Wallace, for having recruited the most new members during the junior membership drive. Caleb Beason, president of the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association, said that incentive will continue to be offered in subsequent years to help increase membership.

After the main events were finished, children got to interact with a couple of horses and ponies. Horse and carriage rides were available, and free hamburgers and hot dogs were provided.

“We want to thank the Madden family for their generosity in hosting our event at their farm,” Beason said. “We also want to thank everyone who came out to support our youth and all who played a part in helping to make this event be a success.”

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