Steer-A-Year Accepting Donations for 2022-23 Academic Year
BOZEMAN — Montana State University’s Steer-A-Year program is seeking donations of steers and feed as well as financial support for the 2022-23 academic year.
A student program in MSU’s College of Agriculture combining academic courses with hands-on, technical experience, Steer-A-Year involves students in multiple aspects of raising cattle. Students spend the academic year feeding and managing steers, caring for them through the winter and spring, collecting data on feed efficiency and weight gain, and studying livestock marketing.
“Steer-A-Year is a valuable program for our students, as it gives them hands-on experience of raising cattle as well as proper preparation for their future careers,” said Hannah DelCurto-Wyffels, the program’s adviser and an instructor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. “There is so much to learn about the cattle industry and providing our students with a hands-on program of this caliber gives them the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.”
Donated steers are housed at MSU’s Bozeman Agriculture Research and Teaching Farm. After being cared for by the students through the academic year, the cattle are sold annually to MSU’s Culinary Services, and the meat is served in both on-campus dining halls, Miller and Rendezvous.
Proceeds from those sales support travel and other costs for various student teams and clubs in the College of Agriculture, as well as opportunities for students to meet with commodity groups and industry professionals, such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, allowing for additional networking and learning opportunities.
Steer-A-Year students raised 27 steers during the 2021-22 academic year, all of which were purchased by Culinary Services.
“There’s so much to like about this program, including the opportunities and experiences our students get, ensuring our Culinary Services team is serving Montana beef and providing our producers with valuable comparative information” said Carl Yeoman, head of the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. “Students caring for the cattle provide donors with regular reports on their donated animal’s growth and health, as well as detailed information about meat quality after the steers are harvested.”
Awards are given annually to the producer who donated the best initial feeder steer, the steer with the top rate of gain, the steer with the best feed efficiency and the steer that produces the best carcass.
“The opportunity for our students to interact with regional cattle producers is an irreplaceable and crucial experience,” DelCurto-Wyffels said. “The generosity of our supporters is truly what makes this program possible, and we thank them for investing in our students’ futures.”
DelCurto-Wyffels said that before donation, calves should be weaned, castrated and dehorned and weigh 500-800 pounds. The ideal pickup period for calves is during the first two weeks of November. Those interested in donating steers or feed, providing financial support or learning more about the Steer-A-Year program can contact Hannah DelCurto-Wyffels at 406-994-3752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.