Members of the 2020-2021 class reflect on the program’s value to their beef operations.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For cattle producers enrolled in the 44 Farms International Beef Cattle Academy (IBCA), learning is a lifelong pursuit. Participants from South Africa and Texas explain the impacts the program has had on their cattle operations and why members of the beef industry should consider applying.
Getting back in the game in South Africa
South African veterinarian Dr. Michael Magondo applied for IBCA after inheriting his father’s cow/calf operation. Having spent 20 years away from livestock, Magondo realized his training in veterinary medicine alone did not prepare him to handle every aspect of cattle management.
“A training in veterinary medicine might give you the clinical diagnostic capabilities, but it definitely doesn’t equip you on the husbandry side,” says Magondo.
Magondo initially considered only taking a few courses instead of pursuing the certificate, which requires a minimum of six courses. He changed his mind after realizing the impact the entire certificate program would have on his operation.
“I look back, and I think the certificate was definitely worthwhile because of the interrelatedness of the material,” says Magondo.
The program has allowed Magondo to evaluate his operation and define objectives to achieve his goals. Components of the courses have also provided him insight into what operations outside of his country can achieve and how he could apply similar practices to his cattle.
“There’s been a lot of valuable, practical application that was reinforced by the theory that was covered. The information has made my life a lot easier and given me the confidence to make strategic decisions about what we do on the operation,” says Magondo.
Customized learning in Texas
First-generation Texas rancher Jonathan Toups is evidence that even students with limited experience in the cattle industry can find significant benefit from participating in IBCA.
When Toups started Maysfield Farms, a Beefmasters seedstock operation in central Texas, he was overwhelmed by the large quantity of information available on cattle management practices.
“I couldn’t believe there was that much detailed work that needed to be done constantly,” says Toups. “After the first year of reading, I noticed the resources I was following were publishing pretty much the same information.”
Toups realized the IBCA program was not the repetitive content he had been reading elsewhere. As a first-generation cattle owner, he appreciated how the program’s instructors presented the research-based evidence behind production practices in an exclusive and customized learning experience.
“Where else do you have access to people that have dedicated their lives to being the best in the field and with one of the best universities in the world in the agricultural sector?” says Toups. “This class puts both of those together.”
While Toups has not been in the cattle business long, the IBCA course structure allowed him to soak in a breadth of information in manageable segments. The online program enables students to watch videos as their schedules permit and collaborate once a week with an instructor.
“I can wholeheartedly say this is like a lifetime of experience rolled up into one year of class time,” says Toups.
Apply now for classes starting in September
Like Toups and Magondo, anyone involved in the beef cattle industry is eligible to apply for IBCA. An ideal student candidate is eager to learn and is passionate about driving the industry forward. Applications for the 2021-2022 class are open now and close on Aug. 9, 2021.
Scholarships covering up to 70% of tuition costs are available for interested individuals. To be considered for a scholarship, complete the IBCA application and provide the information required for a scholarship request. Scholarships are limited and will be awarded based on student profile and potential contribution to the IBCA goal: advancing knowledge to enhance beef production and quality across the globe.
The next academy begins in September and continues through August 2022. Apply today at animalscience.tamu.edu/ibca/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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