What is BEST?
BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) is a youth program of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions. Juniors who participate in these sanctioned shows earn points for their placings. Points are tabulated for cattle, showmanship, registered Bred & Owned animals and first or second year BEST participants in a separate Novice division for market animals, heifers and showmanship. The program promotes consistency for exhibitors at sanctioned shows hosted by county associations or agricultural groups and clubs. These points are tabulated and posted at www.ohiocattle.org.
The BEST program is coordinated by a committee that is appointed by the OCA board of directors. BEST provides an environment for friendly competition and success while serving as an opportunity to create the next generation of leaders by educating juniors on beef industry issues, promoting family membership and participation in the OCA and rewarding the successful accomplishments and hard work of Ohio’s young cattlemen. Additional areas of opportunity are offered through BEST with Junior Representative positions, scholarships and a photography competition for participants to showcase their talent.
Where did it all begin?
OCA is a non-profit membership organization that represents the business interests and way of life important to farm families that raise cattle. It serves as the voice and issues manager for all of Ohio’s beef cattle business including cattle breeders, producers and feeders. It is the beef industry’s grassroots policy development organization and is an affiliate of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. OCA strives to maintain profitability and growth of Ohio's beef industry, while providing consumers with safe and wholesome beef.
The BEST program was started in 1999 with three goals:
- Youth education and leadership development
- Beef industry youth recognition and awards
- Provide a series of shows that have consistent and ethical regulations
This year’s sponsoring partners are Bob Evans Farms, Farm Credit Mid-America, M. H. Eby, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Burroughs Frazier Farms and Weaver Livestock.
Thanks to these generous contributors, BEST participants receive a gift upon signing up for the program, top-ten placing showmanship awards at each show, year-end prizes and awards along with the opportunity to win show supplies and a year’s lease on a new livestock trailer.
Each year, over 600 BEST participants, their families and the BEST program’s sponsoring partners gather in Columbus for a year-end dinner and awards banquet. This gives youth participants and their families a unique opportunity to interact with the BEST program’s sponsoring partners. Nearly 200 awards are presented throughout the evening in different categories for points accumulated throughout the BEST season. Over $75,000 in cash and prizes are awarded throughout a night of celebration for everyone in the program. Each BEST participant completing the season will receive a gift at the banquet.
How to get started in the BEST program
First or second year participants are eligible to participate in the Novice program, an exclusive division for new BEST participants to compete with others just starting in the program. Visit the Novice tab for more information about opportunities or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.