Forming alliances with trusted advocates in the industry allows us to reach and impact those beyond our horizon. Farm Credit Mid-America is proud to partner with Cattlemen’s Associations across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Together, we have collaborated on various programs, directly impacting the lives of those involved in the cattle industry. In particular, one project that has encouraged and enabled youth to become active participants in the industry would be the Youth Beef Heifer Initiative. In 2011, Farm Credit Mid-America, alongside Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, cultivated a program that was quickly followed by the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. Through collaboration, shared passions, and a joint effort to make a difference, the Youth Beef Heifer Initiative was formed with the vision of forging a lasting impact to youth in the industry.
The Youth Beef Heifer Initiative is sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America and awards six deserving students annually across Kentucky and Tennessee. The recipients are awarded $2,000 to purchase a heifer from a member of their respective state’s cattlemen’s association. The hopes of this program is to empower youth to build on their interest by purchasing a heifer, improving genetics and learning what is involved in cattle production.
“Without programs like this, I wouldn’t be in agriculture,” explained Cody Rakes, 2011 KCA Youth Beef Heifer Recipient and Beef Producer. “I was not a legacy farmer in the sense that my grandfather’s land was not passed on to me. There were too many hurdles for me to jump to get into this. The heifer initiative gave me a leg up and opportunity to follow my passion and be involved in the industry.”
Since the partnership initiated, 60 deserving students have been awarded a heifer to start their own beef program. We believe by investing in these bright students today, we are helping to create tomorrow’s agricultural leaders.