Skip to main content

beefSD Class 6

beefSD is an intensive educational program designed to take participants to the next level in beef enterprise management. Participation in the beefSD program is an excellent opportunity for beginning producers to increase knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the beef industry and develop the skills needed to be successful beef business managers. The program is open to people with 10 years or less of management experience in a beef enterprise. If not currently involved in the beef industry, participants must possess a strong desire to manage a beef enterprise in the future. Class 6 will run from 2022-2024.

Program Overview

  • Applicants must complete and submit the form below by July 22, 2022
  • Up to 20 operations will be selected based on the application and a webinar interview. Husbands and wives, siblings or direct family members are encouraged to apply as an operation. 
  • Participants must make a two-year commitment to the program and take an active role in all program components. If more than one individual per operation are accepted, both individuals must participate in all meetings and activities. 
  • Please note children are not allowed at meetings. 
  • Workshops and other activities will take place throughout the state. Participants will provide their own transportation to in-state events. Other expenses associated with the meeting (motels and meals) will be covered by beefSD. 
  • The total cost of the program is approximately $8,200 per person. The program is funded through grants, gifts, and registration fees. 
    • The participant registration fee is $1,250 per person. Registration will be due upon acceptance in-to the program (payment can be made in installments if needed). Participants are encouraged to request sponsorship from local businesses (e.g. bank) or organizations to cover a portion of the registration fee.

There are four major components of the beefSD program: face-to-face workshops and interactive webinars, ranch-to-rail evaluation, networking and mentoring and out-of-state learning experiences. 

  • Face-to-Face Workshops and Interactive Webinars: Face-to-face workshops are two-day meetings that include classroom instruction. Classroom instruction will cover topics including livestock production and natural resource management, with emphasis placed on business management components including marketing, communication skills, financial strategies, and legal tools. Successful beef producers will host tours of their operations and lead discussions about ranch history, management philosophy, and decision-making criteria. Participants will interact on webinars. You are required to have a computer with high-speed internet access and may be asked to bring a laptop to class.

  • Ranch-to-Rail Program: The ranch-to-rail component demonstrates the process a calf goes through from weaning through slaughter. You will have the opportunity to place calves into the program; doing so allows you to receive and evaluate feedlot performance and carcass data on each calf.

  • Networking and Mentoring: Participants will interact with each other, case study ranchers, and other experts to develop relationships, including SDSU faculty and staff, as well as partners from state, federal, and NGO organizations. Management teams will be formed and utilized. 

  • Out-of-State Learning Experiences: Two trips will expose participants to all aspects of the U.S. beef cattle industry. Lack of involvement in other beefSD components disqualifies a participant from out-of-state trips. The first trip focuses on post-weaning production with tour stops in Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado. These may include large commercial feedlots, a processing plant, and Cattlemen’s Beef Board headquarters. The second trip focuses on beef marketing and merchandising in a major urban city. Participants will be exposed to lo-cal purchasing opportunities of large city consumers including alternative product markets (grass-fed, natural, organic, and prime-grade restaurant trade). Stops may include an urban grocery store, a local meat wholesaler, a local farmer’s market, a global trade expert, and a chef.

Tentative Timeline

*The timeline is subject to change. Dates will always be shared 2 months in advance

September - Kick-off meeting (1 day)
November - Seedstock Case Study (2 days)

January - BEEF 20/20 (3 days; half participants attend Year 1)
February - Marketing Workshop (2 days)
May - Retained Ownership Case Study (2 days)
July - Out-of-state Trip #1 (5 days)
October - Ranch to Rail calves delivered to SDSU Cottonwood Field Station, Philip
October - Estate Planning Workshop (2 days)

January - BEEF 20/20 (3 days; half participants attend Year 2)
February - Adaptive Management Case Study (2 days)
May - Range Management Workshop (2 days) 
July - Out-of-state Trip #2 (5 days)
August - Conservation Case Study (2 days)
September - Final Workshop (2 days)

Application Process

Please use the form below to apply for beefSD Class 6. All applications are welcome, but preference will be given to applicants who have been actively managing a beef cattle enterprise for 10 years or less of their adult life. Consider that timeline from starting after formal education (i.e. high school/technical school/college) and when management decisions were controlled by you. If you have questions, please contact Ken Olson, Professor and SDSU Extension Beef Specialist, Krista Ehlert, Assistant Professor and SDSU Extension Range Specialist or Stacy Hadrick, beefSD Coordinator.