‘Young Guns’ prepare to network and share innovative practices

Posted June 15, 2011

The Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) and the American Simmental Association (ASA) are again teaming up to gather forward-thinking producers at the annual Young Guns Conference, July 24 – 26, in Nashville, Tenn.

The conference offers a combination of speakers, interactive discussions, tours and relationship-building activities between cattlemen and national staff.

“Young Guns gives us enthusiasm that we bring back to our operation,” said Sarah Jones of Red Hill Farms, Lafayette, Tenn. “We have built many friendships with progressive breeders across the nation which is valuable to the future of our own operation.”

While the name of the conference implies an age limit for attendees, that is not the case. "Young Guns is open to any age and is designed for young-minded producers who want to learn more about the Red Angus and Simmental breeds, as well as the beef industry," said Kenda Ponder, RAAA member services director and one of the event's planners.

This is the seventh year for the Young Guns Conference, but only the third year Red Angus and Simmental breeds have joined forces to plan the interactive conference and provide networking opportunities between the two breeds.

“Young Guns creates a unique synergy between Red Angus and Simmental breeders that is unprecedented in the beef industry,” said Jones. She added that the networking she and husband Bart gain from learning about other producers’ operation is invaluable.



Young Guns 2011 will kick off Sunday, July 24 at 5:30 CDT at the Holiday Inn. Attendees will enjoy a welcome dinner and visit with fellow producers and national staff. Later that evening, Young Guns can tour Nashville’s 2nd Avenue and Broadway clubs where budding country artists perform.

Monday morning, July 25, Young Guns will depart for CPC Commodities at Fountain Run, Ky. CPC Commodities provides complete feed rations to producers across the United States. They have been in business over 30 years – perfecting feed rations for their own stocker-backgrounding operation that is one of the largest east of the Mississippi River.

During lunch, Gini Chase of Buffalo Creek Red Angus, Leiter, Wyo., will open discussion on changes she has witnessed in the seedstock industry in her 38 years as a seedstock producer. Then, Young Guns will split into teams for interactive discussions on the different segments of seedstock production and marketing, and predict how these components will change by the year 2020.

The day will conclude with a tour, program and supper at Red Hill Farms, a diversified operation raising Red Angus, Simmental and SimAngus cattle, Duroc and Landrace hogs, and burley tobacco. Red Hill Farms also directly markets beef and pork products from their farm.

Tuesday morning, July 26, attendees will explore practices to add value to feeder cattle in the eastern U.S. where cowherds are smaller than in the west, but combined cattle numbers in Kentucky and Tennessee rank them second nationally. Seedstock producers will gain a general knowledge of the area’s commercial industry to help their bull customers overcome marketing obstacles.

Dr. Wade Shafer, ASA director of performance programs, and Larry Keenan, RAAA director of breed improvement, will initiate interactive exercises and discussion on the next generation of selection tools.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask ASA Executive Vice President Jerry Lipsey and RAAA CEO Greg Comstock questions about the two breeds’ ongoing relationship and what to expect in the future.

Paul Bennett of Knoll Crest Farms, Red House, Va., a past BIF president and BIF Seedstock Producer of the Year winner will conclude the program. Bennett, who markets 150 bulls a year in Virginia, will address what attributes make a successful seedstock supplier.

“Young Guns is one of the best programs I’ve attended,” said Donnell Brown of R.A. Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, Texas. “It is a chance to learn vital information about our breed and the beef business from industry experts, while building excellent relationships with other leaders from around the country.”

This year’s Young Gun conference will headquarter out of the Holiday Inn Nashville Opryland Airport hotel. For a complete agenda, registration form and hotel reservation information, visit or


For more information, contact:
Greg Comstock, RAAA CEO
(940) 387-3502 •
Kenda Ponder,  RAAA member services director
(940) 387-3502 •



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