Young Beef Leaders Program Outline

Young Beef Leaders program is designed to develop leaders through industry exposure, education and association communication. 


Entering the beef industry in a time of diversity and opportunity is exciting. Global challenges in agriculture are exploding. Whether it be the growth and debate of genetically modified organisms or food safety and animal welfare, young beef industry enthusiasts have the opportunity to make an impact and convey a message.   


We need members that can grow and thrive in an ever-changing industry and it’s the mission of Young Beef Leaders to shape our industry’s future leaders. Through a series of field days designed to expose members to all aspects of the industry, the Illinois Beef Association (IBA) offers Young Beef Leaders the opportunity to further explore our business, gain essential information and network with fellow IBA members. Through the development of Beef Checkoff programs, Young Beef Leaders can engage and educate consumers about the nutritious product cattlemen produce and the beef farmer’s commitment to animal care and the environment.   

Program Outline:  

ADM Animal Nutrition Research Facility- Quincy, IL 

ADM Animal Nutrition is a leading manufacturing, nutrition and marketing business offering a wide range of leading-edge products for the animal nutrition market. Young Beef Leader Candidates will begin their year at ADM’s Research Facility. While at ADM, Young Beef Leader candidates will take a tour of the labs and animal research facilities. This also includes the grazing and feedlot product development research for beef. Participants will also get a chance to learn about ADM’s swine, young calf and poultry research facilities.  

Black Gold Ranch & Feedlot- Vermont, IL 

Steve and Linda Foglesong are the owners of Black Gold Ranch and feedlot with locations in Illinois and Georgia.  With the help of their children, grandchildren and a few loyal hard-working employees who have become like family, they operate a cow-calf, stocker, feedlot, and replacement heifer development program. Young Beef Leaders will get to explore a wide variety of top-notch services in one stop.  

 McDonalds Headquarters/OSI Group- Chicago, IL 

OSI is the premier global supplier of custom value-added food products to the world’s leading foodservice and retail food brands. Applicants will get to tour OSI and finish the day off with a steak dinner in downtown Chicago. On Saturday, Young Beef Leaders will get the chance to see the new McDonald's Headquarters in Chicago. The headquarters also includes a new global restaurant located at the ground level of the building. "Hamburger University" is located on the second floor of the building which is where the company trains its managers. 

2019 YBL Class Schedule:

  1. March 22, 2019 - ADM Animal Nutrition- Quincy, IL 
  2. July 13, 2019 - Black Gold Ranch- Vermont, IL 
  3. October 11 & 12, 2019 - OSI/McDonalds Headquarters- Chicago, IL 

Recommended Events

  1. March 2019 - Legislative Day/Reception- Springfield, IL 
  2. June 11-13, 2019 - IBA Summer Conference- Effingham, IL 
  3. August 2019 - Ribeye Corral @ IL State Fair- Springfield, IL (Volunteer 1 shift)

2019 YBL Class Invitation Events: 


February 15, 2019- Applications will be due

February 20, 2019- Candidates will be announced

Candidate Requirements: 

Young Beef Leader applicants must be an Illinois Beef Association member and be ages 21-40 who have a strong interest in the beef industry. Selected applicants will not be responsible for any expenses in the program (this excludes travel to and from event).  

Candidates must attend at least two of the three scheduled events.   

The YBL 2019 class is invited to attend three other events apart from their schedule. These are not mandatory, but highly recommended. 


Any questions regarding the Young Beef Leaders Program, please contact Stacey Lorenz. 

Phone: (217) 787-4280



Young Cattlemen's Conference

With the beef industry changing so rapidly, identifying and educating leaders to help guide and strengthen the industry has never been so important.

The Illinois Beef Association  partners with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to see that leadership development for both organizations is successful. That is why IBA is committed to sending delegates each year to NCBA's Young Cattlemen's Conference (YCC).

The YCC tour has proven to be an effective vehicle in identifying and developing potential leaders. More than 950 cattle producers have graduated from the YCC program since its inception in 1980. Many of these alumni participate in committees and councils, and serve on boards of directors.

This program has become the cornerstone of leadership training in the beef cattle industry. 
Each year, IBA sends a representative on the YCC trip. Representatives must complete the nomination process and applications will be reviewed by the IBA Awards Committee.

Learn more about the YCC program

Apply to attend YCC by March 11, 2018.

download application

The Young Cattlemen's Conference was a truly life changing experience. From Denver to Chicago to Washington D.C., we made an impact wherever we went. There was nothing quite like spotting all those cowboy hats on Capitol Hill; in a sea of people you could easily find those who were fighting for the agriculture industry. The cattlemen and women I met while on this trip are some of the best people I've ever had the chance to get to know and lifelong friendships were made. There are no words I can use to properly express how thankful I am that the Illinois Beef Association believed in me enough to send me as their representative."
- Dallas Duncan-Meteer, 2017 YCC Attendee