Cowboy College

Tom) I’m Tom Noffsinger. I’m a veterinarian from southwestern Nebraska. I have a home and a ranch in Benkelman, Nebraska, and I spend most of my time in feedlots and ranches across America. It’s been absolutely an amazing experience to be involved in the Cowboy Colleges, both here in Wichita and earlier in the year in Denver. I am really impressed that we have people with similar attitudes coming from all over America with a common theme to learn more about the animals that we rely on for our living and for our protein sources. I spent most of the time this time approaching the idea that trained caregivers can have a positive effect on the behavior of animals as they move through our production chain. It’s just amazing to me when we have people dedicated to greeting and meeting new animals as they come to a backgrounding yard, a ranch, or feedlot, that once people understand where to stand, how to stand, how to ask these animals to perform, how to teach these cattle that they can simply go by a handler and go straight, the people and the animals both change. I’ve had really good questions on how do you read cattle? Where should you stand when you’re in the middle of the pen? If animals are resistant to your activities, if animals are a little bit reluctant to perform for you, what do you do different, what do you adjust? And I’ve had some amazing people here, especially at this session, because we’ve got a mixture of people that have never done this job before, mixed with people that have been doing pen riding or processing for 25 years. And that attitude to know that you’ve done something for a long time, and there’s still more to learn, is what makes the beef industry so great. These people are highly skilled already at what they do and they want the next little tool that will help them be better for the animals they’re around.

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