On June 22 and 23, Abby Biedenbach, Kalyn McKibben and I were lucky to have the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Oklahoma City. The meeting turned out to be a technical and logistical meeting for the organization, and we experienced some really unique opportunities from attending.
Visiting the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City gave Abby Biedenbach, Kalyn McKibben and Meagan Osburn the chance to see cattle trading firsthand.
We started off by going to the Oklahoma National Stockyards. After spending my first few weeks looking at cattle prices, it was interesting to see the actual trading take place and find out what characteristics market reporters often determined fleshy, thin-fleshed, etc. That night ended with all of us heading to Cattlemen's Steak House for a wonderful (and massive) dinner. Truth be told, the networking dinner was a bit daunting; however, it turned out to be easier than I thought. In fact, it was beneficial from the first few minutes. Two of the women from the conference had recently been in our shoes and they began giving advice about where to find job openings, what to put on resumes and how to find graduate school information.
The next day we had the privilege of touring through Lopez Foods Inc., where meat is processed and packaged for McDonalds. The size of the operation, the varying meat and meat sizes, as well as the incredible security measures was probably the most enjoyable part of the LMIC meeting for me. Not to say the other aspects of the meeting were uninteresting, just more foreign. After working in the Food and Agricultural Products Center on Oklahoma State University's campus, the ideas of food safety and processing measures were a bit less overwhelming than trying to understand the auctioneer at the sale barn.
When I first heard about the meeting, I wasn't sure what to expect. Of course we had meetings giving updates on the different happenings of U.S. and Canada, different companies and different Excel usages. I never expected to see three of the main aspects of the meat industry in person, literally from beginning to end.