Roberts Teen Lands a Dream Apprenticeship
Fall 2020 Written by Jean Petersen Photography by Jean Petersen
The summer morning was just beginning as Trent Petersen drove down the gravel back roads from Roberts to Joliet. Trent, 17, was on his way to join the Nobull Cattle Artificial Insemination team. Meeting at Centana Feedyard in Joliet, the team planned to artificially inseminate a group of registered heifers. Trent was along to learn.
What is artificial insemination (A.I.) specifically? It is the technological breeding of cattle using semen collected from a bull inserted into a cow’s reproductive tract for the production of a calf. This scientific process must be done by a certified technician and under the proper timing to ensure a high percentage rate of conception. Many producers A.I. their cattle because it offers selective genetics, increases safety for the animals and in many cases, is cheaper than owning a herd bull.
Every aspect of the process must be precise when preparing these animals to be bred. The semen must stay at a specific temperature, placement within the cow accurate, and the timing synchronized for the entire herd of animals.
These are all the specifics Trent, of Roberts, looked forward to as he spent the summer apprenticing beside, Chance Eaton, official rep for Genex Beef and Nobull Cattle A.I. Services.
“Someone took me under their wing, when I was his age,” said Chance. “Being with people who take the time to help you expand your knowledge, especially in this industry, gives kids like Trent, endless opportunities. By giving these kids hands on chances to really work with the cattle, provides value back into what we’re doing in the A. I. industry.”
Trent’s interest began as he worked at the Million Ranch in Roberts. It’s been invaluable to him to learn the science and technique of A.I.
“I really paid close attention to everything that was happening when their heifers were A.I.’d,” said Trent. “They always took the time to explain to me what they were doing and why. They also let me be a part of it.”
As Trent’s interest grew, he began reading breeding catalogs and watching livestock judging and production videos.
“I want to learn as much as I can about cattle breeding and the industry to produce quality beef and marketable herds,” he said.
An active leader in his 4-H and FFA chapters, and living on a small farm, Trent has not only developed a deeper passion for this area of agriculture, but he also actively places himself in front of experiences that will drive his interests into career opportunities.
“I hope to become a certified A.I. technician as soon as the courses open back up, but in the meantime I’m trying to get as much hands on experience as I can.”
In an ever-evolving industry, Trent is also working with his science teacher at Red Lodge High School to engineer an A.I. project for next spring’s science fair. “Trent’s passion and curiosity is what leads kids, like him, into creating new technology and innovations, which furthers our society and world,” said Summer Graber, RLHS Science teacher. “Imparting the knowledge on how to drive that passion, explore, and create new ideas takes a human connection that these types of opportunities offer.”
Being ambitious and intentional in seeking out opportunities, is where Trent has found a vocation that not only holds an enthusiastic on-going interest, but will give him an opportunity to develop a career in the agriculture industry.
“I could talk about what I’ve been learning from Mr. Eaton, all day. If I can learn how to help producers develop the kind of herd they are wanting , it would be great to be a part of it and the agriculture industry’ future.”