SAINT JOSEPH, Mo. — The Angus Foundation congratulates the students who expanded their horizons this summer as Angus/Talon Youth Education Learning Program interns. The interns joined five Angus host ranches throughout the United States for an immersive learning experience in the cattle industry. The Talon Youth Education Learning Program internship is the legacy of the late Camron “Cam” Cooper of The Talon Ranch, Twin Bridges, Mont. Cooper set up the Angus/Talon Youth Education Learning Program Endowment Fund in 2009 to be a holistic educational opportunity for students.
“We had an excellent group of interns for the summer,” said Jaclyn Boester, Angus Foundation executive director. “We enjoyed watching the growth our interns achieved while working and learning alongside their hosts.”
The five individuals hailed from a variety of regions and backgrounds. Talon interns “learn by doing” through hands-on experiences provided by their host ranches.
“By participating in the Talon Internship, I enhanced my networking skills along with technical skills that I couldn’t have learned in a classroom,” said Garrett Ulmer, 2023 Talon intern.
Cadence Bass, Nampa, Idaho, interned with Bear Mountain Angus, Palisade, Nebraska.Bass currently studies animal science at the College of Southern Idaho. She grew up on her family’s registered Angus operation, Bell Key Angus, and remains an active member of the Idaho Junior Angus Association. Bass plans to continue her family’s Angus operation, providing high-quality bulls and females.
Bear Mountain Angus is operated by Brian and Tiffany Stoller. The ranch hosts an annual bull sale in January and female sale in November. Bass assisted the operation with a variety of tasks ranging from daily animal care to heat detection. In addition to livestock care, she was involved with irrigation and fencing.
Kacey Dethlefs, Ravenna, Nebraska, interned with Blueprint Genetics/Henning Farms, Janesville, Wisconsin. Dethlefs studies animal science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She grew up as a fourth-generation Angus breeder on her family’s operation, Dethlefs Angus Ranch, and has been involved in the Nebraska Junior Angus Association and National Junior Angus Association. Dethlefs plans to pursue a career in beef reproduction while staying involved in her family’s ranch.
Blueprint Genetics/Henning Farms provided Dethlefs a unique combination of experiences. Henning Farms is a family-run program focused on providing high-quality Angus cattle. In addition to annually marketing heifers, the farm has an embryo-intensive program through work with Blueprint Genetics. As an intern, Dethlefs spent time assisting with both operational duties at Henning Farms and at the Blueprint Genetics IVF collection facility.
Jessica Keilhoz, Chamois, Missouri, interned with Audley Farm, Berryville, Virginia. Keilhoz studies business administration at William Woods University. She grew up on her family’s cattle operation and was involved in 4-H and FFA as she built her own registered herd of cattle. Keilhoz hopes to continue expanding her herd and developing her knowledge of the livestock industry, and eventually help manage her mother’s veterinary clinic.
Audley Farm has been in the Angus business over 10 years and hosts an annual production sale in May. The farm also markets its Angus beef to local restaurants and families. Keilhoz assisted with all facets of the farm, including overseeing daily animal care and health, hay making, harvesting silage and assisting with reproductive work.
Emily Ratajczak, Standish, Michigan, interned with Bar 69 Angus Ranch, Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Ratajczak studies agribusiness management at Southwest Minnesota State University. She grew up on her family’s beef farm and was involved in 4-H and FFA, sparking her passion for the livestock industry. Ratajczak plans to remain involved in the cattle business and hopes to one day raise show cattle on her own operation.
Bar 69 Angus Ranch is operated by Craig and Debbie Kukuchka along with their children, Chase and Callie. The ranch hosts an annual production sale in April and runs a band of approximately 1,000 ewes in addition to their Angus cow herd. Throughout her internship, Ratajczak gained experience in a variety of tasks ranging from heat detection and breeding to fencing and making hay.
Garrett Ulmer, Lodge, South Carolina, interned with Eleven Milliron Ranch, Sumner, Nebraska. Ulmer studies animal and veterinary science at Clemson University. He developed a passion for the beef industry growing up on a commercial beef operation and showing heifers in 4-H and is a member of the South Carolina Junior Angus Association. Ulmer plans to pursue a master’s degree in animal reproduction or heifer development, and one day hopes to have his own herd of Angus cattle.
Eleven Milliron Ranch is operated by Greg and Teresa Ibach and their son, Alec. The commercial operation focuses on raising feeder cattle with both high carcass merit and growability, while retaining females with desirable maternal traits. Ulmer took part in cow synchronization and breeding, grazing management and crop and forage production on the ranch.
“Taking a big step like moving 22 hours away from home is intimidating for sure,” Ulmer said. “But as long as you work hard and have fun, it won’t be something you regret doing. By taking this step, I’ve gained so much experience — not to mention the memories that will last a lifetime.”
The internship program pairs motivated youth with registered Angus breeders/ranches to provide valuable education and work experience. The program is open to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate students and recent college graduates under age 25 who major in an agricultural field of study.
“The Talon internship is an immersive learning experience to enhance students’ skills in a variety of areas,” Boester said. “The Foundation is proud to support such a unique opportunity to shape these future leaders for the Angus breed and the beef industry.”
Applications for Talon host ranches are due October 31. Students interested in serving as a Talon intern should apply by December 1. To apply or learn more about the Angus/Talon Youth Education Learning Program, visit www.angus.org/Foundation/WhatWeDo/Youth/TalonYouth.
— Peyton Schmitt, Angus Communications