Salute to Beef: Some Q&A with Colton Anderegg, award-winning FFA member
Local high school sophomore shares his experience in beef production
By Mitchell Hanson, [email protected]
Colton Anderegg, a sophomore at Charles City High School, lives on a farm north of Charles City and has been raising cattle since he was young. He recently won his FFA chapter’s Beef Proficiency Award for his cattle-rearing skills.
“He raises both breeding and market (meat) cattle,” explained his agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, Jim Lundberg. “He’s a great kid, and has already built up a sizable herd for a person of his age.”
Fellow ag instructor and FFA advisor Bret Spurgin added, “Colton has a lot of pride for his beef herd. He has worked hard to have a successful Supervised Agricultural Experience program, and raises high quality animals. Colton is a great example of what you can achieve when you believe in yourself.”
With such high praise, the Press decided to let Anderegg speak for himself about his early success in beef production.
What’s the most rewarding thing about raising one’s own livestock?
The most rewarding thing for me about raising my cattle is that most of the time there will be a profit made from them. Whether you show and sell them at the fair or raise them as fats to go to the locker or sale barn, the majority of the time you are going to make some sort of profit off of them, and that profit can go to helping you grow your production.
How long have you been raising cattle?
I have always been around cattle since I was born. I was always with my grandpa and uncle who raised cattle of their own. But I first started raising my own cattle in the spring of 2016 when I purchased my first heifer to raise and breed to be a cow and start my herd. Every year since then we have purchased or kept more heifers to increase the size of our herd until now we have seven stock cows and one bull.
What are the differences/challenges between raising cattle for breeding and for marketing?
When you are raising breeding cattle you are going to need a lot more knowledge on how you are raising them because there are a lot more factors than just feeding them and fattening them up like you would with your market cattle.
You will need to know if your cow is getting enough protein or minerals to keep them and their baby healthy throughout their pregnancy, and even after they have had their baby. You will also need to know that there is a chance you will need to help the cow or calf during birthing or after.
When you are just raising cattle for market, you don’t need to pay as much attention to the specific things they eat – you just need to make sure they have a diet that will allow them to grow at a fast rate, and you need to make sure you increase that diet if they are looking skinny or unhealthy.
You also just need to make sure with market cattle that they stay healthy and dry in their pens, because typically there will be a lot of them in that pen and they will get wet fast.
Who has been most supportive of your livestock raising?
My parents have been the most supportive in raising my livestock, because without them I would not have a good place to raise my cattle and I would not be able to raise as much cattle as I do. They support me a lot with the financial part of my production.
Do you see a future for yourself in beef production?
I see a future for myself in beef production whether it’s a big production or small production. I see myself always having some type of cattle. Cows have always been my favorite animal and I think that without them in my future I would have a boring future!
How has FFA helped you learn more about beef production?
FFA has shown me that I can be recognized and win rewards for starting my own cattle production, and that has influenced me to try and grow my production so that I will at some point be able to make a lot more profit off of my cattle.
FFA has also helped me be more organized in how I run my production, and it has helped show me how to be more organized in the financial side and what I will need to do to make sure that as I grow my production, I am making sure that I make the right decisions.
Describe the Beef Proficiency Award you received.
I received the local Beef Proficiency Award, which is an award you get for raising your own beef cattle. This award is also a state FFA award that is given out to someone every year at the state FFA convention to someone who has shown that they have done great things in their own beef production over the years of being in FFA.