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OCA's BEST program marks 25 years with exciting youth events
Ohio Ag Connection - 11/17/2023

The Ohio Cattlemen's Association (OCA) is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Beef Exhibitor Show Total (BEST) Program, with the theme "Cheers to the BEST 25 Years," and is supported by sponsors like Robbins Show Cattle, Ag-Pro, and Bob Evans Farms.

BEST is an OCA youth development program recognizing Ohio's junior beef exhibitors through a series of cattle shows, showmanship competitions, and educational contests. The program offers leadership opportunities and community service, with juniors accumulating points at each sanctioned show and culminating in an awards banquet.

The 2023-2024 season boasts an exciting lineup, starting with the Mardi Gras Masquerade in Circleville and moving through various other cities like Columbus and Springfield. Events such as the AGR Holiday Classic and the Ohio Beef Expo are part of this season's schedule, offering a platform for young exhibitors to showcase their skills.

The BEST program is open to Ohio residents aged 8-21 as of January 1, with exceptions for exhibitors of Buckeye Breeders Series eligible cattle, who can accumulate BEST points regardless of their state of residency. Juniors or their families must hold a current OCA membership and pay a one-time nomination fee for each animal entered, allowing them to accumulate points at any BEST sanctioned show.

Participation in the Best Beef Show (BEST) requires obtaining the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification through in-person training or online platforms. All cattle, both in-state and out-of-state, must be tagged with an EID ear tag and test negative for Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) persistent infection status.

The program also includes the Buckeye Breeders Series (BBS), focusing on Ohio-bred, born, and raised steers and heifers. This division offers separate points for exhibitors and rewarding incentives like a year's use of a livestock trailer and a John Deere Gator.

The BEST program offers a Stockmanship Division, prepared speaking, salesmanship, judging contest, photography competition, and $1,000 scholarships for agriculture-related degree students beyond the show ring.

The BEST program is partnering with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio for a pop tabs collection initiative and hosting a popular Celebrity Showdown event to raise funds and showcase creativity.

The season concludes with the BEST banquet, where participants' achievements across various events are acknowledged. Over $150,000 worth of prizes, scholarships, and awards are distributed, celebrating the hard work and dedication of these young agriculturists.

Interested individuals can join the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST program with nominations opening in November. Detailed information is available on the OCA BEST website.

This program represents OCA's dedication to nurturing future agricultural leaders, focusing on youth development, community involvement, and educational excellence.

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