[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”-30″ margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]By Betty Jo Gigot, Publisher

Smack dab in the middle of one of the most productive U.S. cattle-feeding regions, the HY-Plains Education and Research Center near Montezuma, Kan., links practical and experienced cattle-feeding experts in a state-of-the-art facility with professional researchers and educators. The center provides a controlled environment and the support staff necessary to conduct science-based research and the capacity to educate through aggressive consumer outreach.

The well-planned facility features a giant working area that can be viewed from second-floor windows, along with a suite of offices for personnel and visitors.

The auditorium, equipped with the newest in audio/visual equipment, seats over 200 and was ground zero for the center’s grand opening in late August. An overflow crowd attended the event, dining on brisket and beans; touring the new facility and pens; and learning from a varied group of speakers.

An afternoon roundtable discussion, “The Stakeholder’s Role in Global Food Sustainability,” emphasized beef production be not only environmentally sound and socially responsible, but economically viable. If it doesn’t make money it won’t be sustainable.

“The point is to capture the value,” said Mark Gardiner, local rancher.

“Food animal production is both art and science, involving multiple sectors and stakeholders,” according to an introduction by Hy-Plains Feedyard (HPFY). “The art of applying common sense and well-tested animal husbandry skills in sync with proven science and technology is creating a paradigm shift in protein production, specifically the cattle-feeding sector.”

By providing an environment not only for research and development in feed, health and genetic areas, but also a place for education of stakeholders and the general public, the research and education facility fills a definite need in the industry today.

Visiting with the crowd, many were current or potential customers of HPFY. Each was looking for more information about the cattle they were raising and the product they’re producing.

“Hy-Plains Feedyard has been a longtime user of Turnkey Accounting with the Turnkey Bunk, Vet and Cattle Induction systems as well as the Animal Health International Micro Machine and Batching System,” said John Bergstrom, Turnkey Computer Systems. “Just prior to the grand opening, we converted the Turnkey Bunk and Vet systems to the AMS Feed Management and Animal Health software packages in order to fulfill needs of data collection and analysis, as well as data flow and integration.”

Marcine Moldenhauer of MEAT=LINK Management has worked with Hy-Plains for several years. “The concept of putting together a well-rounded team of knowledge isn’t new,” she said, “however, the desire of each business to independently bring correct working industry experience and relationships with the expectation to add sustainable value to the supply chain is unique.

“The industry has been in desperate need of a state-of-the-art facility that’s located in the heart of the beef business, and is based on research and innovation, while connecting knowledge that creates multiple value chains. A center like this was long overdue, particularly one specifically designed for engaging consumers, chefs and customers first,” she continued. “MEAT=LINK Management Livestock and Meat Consulting is excited to see this business model finally come to life and to be a partner in this effort.”

“Gatherings like the one at Hy-Plains Feedyard are crucial because they bring together so many perspectives and viewpoints for discussion and dialogue,” said Luke McKelvie, Global Farmer Program manager for McDonald’s Corp. “They allow us to learn from one another and, most important, they remind us that the beef value chain is linked with common goals and shared interests.

“All of us in food and agriculture want consumers to trust our industry because we’re working hard to do the right thing,” he said. “But that also means we have to trust each other, from one end of the value chain to the other. Anytime we can come together for earnest discussion, it fosters and furthers that trust.”

Bob Smith, DVM, quipped, “I’m too busy hauling water to fix the windmill.” Plans at Hy-Plains are to continue to “haul the water,” but also make a major contribution to the education and research needed to provide an affordable food supply.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]