Mar 042010
 
Authors: Matt Miller

Senior agricultural science major Ryan Romero grew up in a family of farmers.  His father, a 1972 CSU graduate, owned a farm that was sold before Romero was born.
 
Nearly four decades after his father graduated, Romero is also planning on going into the beef industry. But today the school offers one big difference: The Seedstock Merchandising Team.

The team consists of eight undergraduate CSU students who try each year to sell 35 of CSU’s Angus and Hereford bulls.

While several other universities sell cattle, CSU is the only one in the nation with a true student seedstock team, said the team’s advisor, assistant professor of animal sciences Jason Aloha.

Since its creation in 2003, the seedstock team has worked to prepare and sell genetics from the 150-head herd of Angus and Hereford bulls and heifers that CSU has produced for more than 30 years.

This year, the team will pair for the first time with Leachman Cattle of Colorado, allowing them to manage the sale of 600 total bulls, including CSU’s 35.

“Not many people can say they have orchestrated a 600 bull sale,” Romero said.
 
He added that this combined sale provides students with a chance to experience and be responsible for a sale of this magnitude.
“The budget for Leachman is much bigger,” he said.  “With our old budget we were limited.”
Each bull is sold for around $2,000 to $2,500. The profit from sale of CSU’s bulls goes to the food and labor needed to raise university’s herd.

Ahola hopes that this joint sale will help expose the students in the program to more people in the industry. The sale will also help address the costs that students were forced to deal with when hosting a smaller sale.

Combining with Leachman has provided benefits for both parties.

“By putting sales together can be more enthusiasm and draw a bigger crowd than either could bring on their own,” said Lee Leachman, owner of Leachman Cattle of Colorado.

Leachman hopes this union with will be a long-term project and has enjoyed working with the CSU students throughout the planning process.

“They have obviously picked a great set of students who are very switched on,” Leachman said. He added that the joint sale has provided them with access to a great facility.

The students are given full control over every aspect of the sale. It is run like a business, the eight students on the team work in small groups to manage different aspects of the sale.

“It’s about getting thrown into it and figuring out the best way to do it,” Romero said.

Members of the team earn school credit and are active from September through March. Students of all majors are eligible to apply and are chosen by members from the previous semester.

 “It’s designed like a team because there is quite a bit of responsibility,” Ahola said. The students can bring in around $100,000 in sales in one day.

The bulls will be sold at a show at CSU’s Agricultural Research Development Education Center (ARDEC), the 1,000 acre farming and cattle operation located just north of Fort Collins on Interstate 25. This facility is also where the CSU cattle herd spends seven months during the winter.

“They are very close, and we have one of the best facilities to hold a show in the west,” Ahola said.

Staff writer Matt Miller can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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