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Students reflect on 44 Farms International Beef Cattle Academy

26 July 2022

Romanian and Australian participants reflect on the program's value

For cattle producers enrolled in the 44 Farms International Beef Cattle Academy (IBCA), learning is a lifelong pursuit. Participants from Romania and Australia explain the impacts the program has had on their cattle operations and what experiences they took away from the course.

Expanding the network in Australia

3R livestock director Geoff Birchnell applied for IBCA to expand his knowledge of the industry while expanding his network of beef producers across the globe.

“There was a lot of great information throughout the course,” said Birchnell. “I especially gravitated towards the production lectures, which provided a lot of applicable information.”

The Forage Production and Nutritional Management courses stood out to Birchnell because he considers adding feeder cattle to his seedstock herd. The information from those sessions benefited him with the development of feed rations and how to monitor cattle through the finishing process.

“The speakers in each course offered an excellent source of knowledge and insight that was very comprehensive and informative,” Birchnell said. “All the lectures are recorded, so no matter what time zone you are in, you can listen to the courses on your own time.”

Even though Birchnell already had a working knowledge of the beef industry, he concedes the academy was extremely insightful for all facets of beef curriculum.

“The lectures are still available upon conclusion of each course, so we can go back and watch the lectures again to continue to digest the information,” said Birchnell. “The accessibility to the information even after the courses are completed helped me get the most out of the lectures and absorb the information as much as possible.”

“Overall, the program is great and full of information. What IBCA has put together is the real deal,” Birchnell concluded.

Gaining an understanding in Romania

As a ruminant nutritionist specialised mostly in dairy animals, Ioana Boldea didn’t have first-hand experience dealing with beef cattle, but she learned more thanks to IBCA. After participating in the program, she can bring new ideas to her organization.

“The IBCA has given me the foundational knowledge I needed to continue learning independently. It has helped me identify reliable sources of information,” Boldea said.

The Nutritional Management Course and Cattle Welfare and Behaviour Course were two that stood out for Boldea, as she learned new concepts to improve animal care and nutritional efficiency. The new relationships Boldea was able to cultivate with classmates and professors alone made the investment worthwhile. That, in combination with the outcome and efficiency of the courses, she would participate IBCA again.

“IBCA allows students to continue to reach out to professors after the conclusion of the class after they go home and want to apply their learnings to their operations at home. This makes it easier to share those learnings with my organization in Romania,” shared Boldea.

“I think it is really important to take part in educational opportunities and IBCA embraced the bigger picture of the industry,” Boldea said. “The course information can also be easily applied to your country and climate.”

Boldea commented that she will share the information with her coworkers and highlight its importance.

“The course structure was easy to work with and the schedule was easy to follow. It was also beneficial that students can take all their notes and PowerPoints home while still having access to the professors if anyone has questions,” commented Boldea. “I’m very glad I participated and am excited to bring it back to my country as I continue to learn.”


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