VT Beef Council leaders persevere with youth field day
BLACKSBURG, Va. — At the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, members of the Virginia Tech Beef Leadership Council began discussing a Youth Beef Field Day.
They selected a date in October but the response was so small that they cancelled it. But they never gave up on the idea.
In mid-March they held the field day, attracting close to 100 people.
According to Emma Seekford, council president, after they decided to cancel the event in the fall, the group’s Executive Committee regrouped during winter break.
Seekford, a dairy farmer and member of the Virginia Tech Dairy Club, said the leaders of the beef group saw how much fun their dairy counterparts were having with their popular Hokie Dairy Day and wanted to do something like it for beef.
They discussed options for a spring event, consulted Katherine Carter, Extension youth animal science specialist, and got to work planning.
Seekford and Bailey Watson, a council member and intern with the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, took the lead in organizing the event and securing presenters and volunteers.
Held on March 17, the field day featured eight stations for participants to visit and learn about the different parts of the beef cattle industry; Nutrition; Reproduction; Herd Health; Livestock Judging; Meat Evaluation; Showing and Fitting Body Condition and Other Scoring as well as a Beef Industry Station.
Youth who attended earned their Youth for the Quality Care of Animals certification through a training presented by Carter.
Dr. Dan Eversole, advisor to the Virginia Tech Beef Leadership Council, expressed pride in the group for its persistence.
“This was a total group effort and the planned activities were quite diverse and very educational,” Eversole said. “Every council member contributed significantly to the success of our youth field day and I extend my sincerest congratulations to each and every one of them.
Carter offered praise of the council’s efforts as well.
“College is way more than classes and exams, and today these students demonstrated their leadership and dedication to educating future Hokies,” instructor Katherine Carter wrote in a Facebook post after the March 17 event.”
As the field day leaders reflected on the council holding a successful field day, they were also looking ahead to their graduation held on May ll.
Seekford, a Dairy Science and Animal and Poultry Science major and Public Health minor, will be attending Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in August.
Peaks View Dairy in Rockingham County, Va. is her home. She said her parents and grandparents have a herd of 130 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows.
Watson comes from a beef background and said she is passionate about advocating for the industry.
Her family raises beef cattle on the Double Infinity Farm in the Wythe County, Va., community of Max Meadows where interstates 81 and 77 converge, funneling traffic in four directions.
This summer, Watson said she plans to return to VCA as an intern and perhaps intern with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association before attending graduate school.