Associated Feed Develops Next Generation of Livestock Enthusiasts
Imagine taking one day away from your dealership or store front to teach upwards of 1,000 people the basics about feeding and showing livestock. You’ve just enriched 1,000 lives with information and potentially created an interest to continue pursuing a career in the livestock field, but you’ve also come into contact with a lot of potential customers.
Associated Feed & Supply, Turlock, Calif., has hosted at least 12 all-day, totally-free Associated Feed Junior Livestock Camps each October for young livestock exhibitors, the parents, 4-H leaders and FFA advisors in Central California. The day-long camp that focuses on evaluation and selection, nutrition and feeding, fitting and showing of beef, sheep, goats and hogs, is conducted at Modesto Junior College.
“Livestock and agriculture are dying industries, and we feel it is our job to help these kids learn more about their projects to where we not only we can help educate them to have a successful project, but also spark their interest in ag to continue their involvement in agriculture,” said Nick Warntjes, Associated Feed’s Northern California Sales Rep who manages the Camp. “We want to make sure the kids, parents, 4-H leaders and FFA advisors have the tools and resources they need for a successful livestock project. Selling feed is a secondary bonus.”
Warntjes said they invite highly reputable industry leaders from all parts of the United States to teach about each species, one of the things he believes is such a big draw for the attendees each year. He said in the last Camp, between 500-600 people were pre-registered, but 800-1,000 people actually showed up. The reason they ask for preregistration is to ensure every youth leaves Camp with a unique t-shirt.
“Every kid gets a free Camp t-shirt. It is pretty amazing how much that t-shirt means to the kids. I see those t-shirts at county fairs and worn all over the place the next year,” Warntjes said.
And because the California Camp has been so successful, typically drawing youth from California, Nevada, Idaho and Washington, Associated Feeds expanded its efforts and offered a similar Camp in Oregon this past February. Warntjes said that first-time event drew 300 participants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Northern California, stating one family even drove 10 hours to attend.
“I truly appreciate the support of Chris Benevedes, my boss at Associated Feeds. He approves and supports these camps. He’s been very generous in continuing to allow us to expand this event and allow us to put it on,” Warntjes said.
Finding high-quality speakers that are respected within the industry are what draws so many people to the Camps. Warntjes asks each year how many young people have previously attended and estimates 30-40% are repeat attendees.
“It’s about bringing knowledgeable people in front of the kids where they can learn something and ask any questions they have.”
Associated Feeds knows the importance of developing the future generations and they give back one day each October to do just that. They get involved, provide the resources and create a spark of excitement in livestock enthusiasts.