If you ever get the chance to attend the International Livestock Congress in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, rest assured you are in for a treat! I had this wonderful opportunity through my CYL Mentorship in early March.
The International Livestock Congress 2017 Conference topic of ‘Balancing Livestock and Water Use For Sustainable Nutrition’ was a great fit with learning new ways to enhance the sustainability of my own operation, one of my mentorship objectives. What an excellent opportunity to broaden my scope of global water and food supply issues and how it relates back to livestock production, not only for the US and the rest of the world but here in Canada as well. A few key topics of discussion included research and innovation of water conserving technologies, maintenance and development of water infrastructure, meeting the increasing global food supply demand, awareness of nutrition and water deficiencies in the development of babies around the world and the economic benefits of countries who are food, water and energy sufficient. It was exciting to see common interests and concerns shared by farmers and Ag students from South America to Africa to Australia to Middle Eastern countries and back to North America and also the efforts being made globally towards more responsible and sustainable water use in food production. It was also interesting to note that Canada is on the leading edge of this with the CRSB and GRSB initiatives.
I was thrilled to bump into fellow CYL participant, Maddy Knodel, who was one of the ILC student travel fellowship recipients along with two other Canadian ladies, Breanna Anderson and Katelyn Stehr. It was great to see Canada so well represented. Congratulations to these three lovely ladies!
On the livestock show side of things, I was lucky enough to take in a few of the different breed showcases. The Angus show, while small in numbers compared to some of the other breeds, had quality cattle that were second to none. And again, being this distance from home it was cool to see the Canadian contingent place in the top. I have to say though, that the Brahman bull and females shows spanning two whole days, were my absolute favorite! There were rows upon rows of these beautiful beasts from weeks old calves aside their momma’s right up to the huge mature sires. As you can imagine, with this being the American Brahman Breeders Association International Show, it is highly prestigious and draws huge numbers of breeders from all over North, Central and South America. It was the perfect place to meet some of the top breeders and learn about the finer points of breed itself.
And of course no trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo would be complete without an evening spent at Rodeo Houston. I was fortunate that the nice ladies on the International committee arranged for me to ride in the Grand Entry. It was a fantastic way to get a first-hand look at the rodeo setup at NRG Stadium and truly appreciate the size of that huge arena floor. The rodeo itself was filled with top-notch competition and the concert afterwards was spectacular.
Aside from all that fun, it was nice to leave behind the snowbanks for a few days and see some green grass and warm temperatures!