Beef Expo prize allows youth to start herd on a win

Reid Oftedahl of Pemberton with the heifer he won at this year's Minnesota Beef Expo.

How would you like the opportunity to win a free heifer?

Seven youth from Minnesota got the opportunity to answer that very question on Oct. 17 when they were announced as winners of the Minnesota Youth Beef Experience Program.

Part of the Minnesota Beef Expo, MYBEP is designed to get young people started in the beef cattle business. Applicants must be between 12 and 16 years old and must be a member of 4-H or FFA. They must also show a commitment to agriculture, have clear future goals, have a financial need and finally be able to raise the heifer in the proper setting.

One of those awarded a heifer on Oct. 17 was Reid Oftedahl of Pemberton. Having been a participant in 4-H “since fourth grade,” this St. Clair High School sophomore entered the contest for the first time this fall. His friend’s mom encouraged him and his friend to enter because she thought this was a good program.

“You have to write an essay and tell them why you want to do this,” Oftedahl said. His goal with winning the heifer is to “hopefully have my own herd in the future.”

He found out that he won when he was on his way home from football practice. His reaction, “I was in shock.” He is looking forward to “raising her and breeding her.”

Oftedahl won a Charolais heifer donated by Stony Brook Livestock, Larry and Cathy Balvitsch of Foley on behalf of the Minnesota/Wisconsin Charolais Association.

“They ask you what kind of breed you want.” Having never shown a Charolais before, Oftedahl wanted to “try something different.” He usually shows Angus for 4-H.

Each of the seven winners will own their heifer together with the donor of the heifer for one year. After that, the winner will take complete ownership of the heifer and her offspring.

Donors of the heifers come from all over the state and one in Wisconsin. The breeds include Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Limousin, Shorthorn, Simmental and South Devon. Minnesota Select Sires will also be donating bull semen as well.

Besides Oftedahl, this year’s winners include: Jacob Halloway of Fertile who received an Angus heifer donated by Scheel Angus Inc., Larry Scheel of New Richmond, Wis., on behalf of the Minnesota Angus Association. Brady Akerson of Pennock received a Hereford donated by the Delaney Herefords Inc., Jerry Delaney and family from Lake Benton on behalf of the Minnesota Hereford Association. Megan Witt of Mabel received a Limousin heifer donated by Cripple Creek Cattle Co., Ed Bergler, Dakota on behalf of the Minnesota Limousin Association. Amanda Schmidt received a Shorthorn donated by Nelson Family Shorthorns, JDMC Cattle Co., Alan and Cody Nelson, Renville on behalf of the Minnesota Shorthorn Association. Katherine Steffl of Sleepy Eye received a Simmental donated by Krueger Simmentals, Paul Krueger, Hastings on behalf of the Minnesota Simmental Association. Dakota McClendon of Richville received a South Devon donated by the Northern States South Devon Association.

An eighth heifer was donated for a drawing during the MYBEP seminar on the Thursday night of the expo on behalf of the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association. Kayla Mulhern from Fountain received the MYBEP seminar heifer.

For more information on the Minnesota Youth Beef Experience Program log on to www.mnbeefexpo.com.