The global population is growing while the world’s arable land is shrinking, raising the stakes for the agriculture industry.
In November, 25 University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources students explored the operations of one international company that is raising the steaks (and ribs, hams and chicken wings) to feed the world’s rising demand for animal protein.
JBS USA, the world’s largest cattle feeder and a leader in meat processing, hosted the group of CAFNR students and staff at its headquarters in Greeley, Colorado.
Company executives, including CEO Andre Noguiera and president of JBS USA Fed Beef Wesley Filho, engaged with students to discuss the innovative strategies JBS is implementing to meet the challenges of global meat production.
During the headquarters tour, JBS employees taught students about their roles within the company’s different functional areas. Students learned about employment opportunities in sales, supply chain logistics and management with JBS USA’s poultry, pork and beef operations.
“Spending a full day with JBS USA was an excellent opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to see how the business operates,” said Matt Arri, coordinator of career services for CAFNR. “In particular, it provided our students with a realistic preview of various types of career paths available with JBS.”
After an introduction to the company’s culture and business model at the headquarters, students departed for a tour of the JBS beef plant in Greeley.
Plant staff led students through the slaughter and packing facility, where more than 3,000 workers process between 5,000 and 6,000 cattle daily.
Before its beef can feed a lot of people, JBS must feed a lot of cattle. Following the plant tour, students traveled to the nearby Kuner Feedlot, operated by JBS subsidiary Five Rivers Cattle Feeding.
The feedlot, which can hold up to 100,000 head of cattle at a time, is one of 13 JBS beef feeding operations in the U.S. and Canada. At any time, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding has capacity for nearly 980,000 cattle.
After spending the day exploring the JBS beef business, students ruminated over their experiences. But before long, it was time to change gears and learn about a different division of the company — JBS Carriers, a trucking and freight service.
JBS Carriers provides logistics and transportation services to the meat production and packaging divisions of JBS USA, as well as to other private enterprises. Although not directly tied to agricultural production, JBS Carriers is an integral link, connecting food to consumers’ forks through efficient, timely transportation services.
In addition to the industry site tours with JBS, one of the highlights of the Colorado trip was a visit to Estes Park. Students enjoyed a day of parks and recreation, hiking at nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
Although some students had prior exposure to JBS through the company’s on-campus recruiting efforts, the trip and site tours allowed students to examine firsthand the day-to-day operations of the global agribusiness.
“I went on the trip to learn more about what JBS is all about as a company,” said Maddie Grant, a junior from Columbia, Missouri. “I originally learned about the business during the CAFNR career fair, but the site visit gave me a deeper perspective.”
The students who participated in the Colorado trip represented a range of CAFNR majors, from agricultural education to animal science. As the agriculture industry works to meet the world’s demand for meat, CAFNR is helping meet the industry’s demand for an educated, innovative workforce through these experiential learning opportunities.