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Cattle shows pave way for beef industry careers

From left, Maddie Prechter, a junior, and Kailie Bisagno, a senior, are upcoming stars in the beef industry. Courtesy photo

As two Bruins excel at cattle shows, the beef industry is taking notice.

Bear River students Kailie Bisagno, a senior, and Maddie Prechter, a junior, raise breeding and beef cattle on their property for, not only their Supervised Agricultural Experience project, but also to compete competitively. They are both exceptionally involved in FFA, competing around the state in Cattle Jackpot Shows. Bisagno has been involved in the Beef Industry for 3 years, and Prechter has represented the industry all her life. Both of them raised market animals in 4-H for a number years.

Tim Reid, formerly an Ag Mechanics teacher at Bear River, said the students are fast becoming known in the agriculture world.

“They have come a long way, from basically knowing nothing to being leaders in the cattle industry,” Mr. Reid said.

“This industry has ran in the family for many generations, so my family motivated me into becoming involved in the cattle industry to keep the tradition going,” Prechter said.

According to Prechter and Bisagno, having a cattle project takes a lot of hard work, responsibility, and time. To raise a steer (male cow), takes at least nine months for the animals to reach its terminal end point and be ready for the Nevada County Fair. You also raise a breeding heifer project for most of the animal’s life span.

“All together I have 20 animals in my show business, 5 of them I take to shows to be competitive, and 80 commercial head on the ranch for auctions,” Prechter said.

Prechter and Bisagno attend many Jackpot Shows, including Paso Robles, Northerns Exposure, California State Fair, Nevada County Fair, Modesto, and Cow Palace.

Both students feel that they benefit positively from this business.

“It benefits me by learning communication skills, time management, and responsibility,” said Bisagno. “There is a lot of responsibility for taking care of my animals. Responsibility for money, and how I spend it, getting show entries on time, and feeding them.”

“Through the many years of being involved in this project, I have learned responsibility, hard work ethic, and develop many relations with different cattle breeders across California,” Prechter said. 

While tending to their animals, the students hope to expand their business and achieve great rewards.

“(I like) meeting new people and spending time with my animals,” Bisagno said. “While showing cattle it helps me to learn to work hard. And with working hard comes great rewards.”

“In the future, I hope to build my cattle company, Prechter Livestock. (It) grows in the show cattle business,” said Prechter.

“They set a great example, first by out-working just about everyone,” said Mr. Reid, who was their past project advisor. “Plus they invest in themselves and their cattle. They set a good example to kids, that they should always push to raise better cattle and be proud of what they raise.”

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Cattle shows pave way for beef industry careers