The beef industry is based on breeding, feeding, marketing, processing, and merchandising cattle to consumers. The role Courtney Stefan (of Hallettsville, Texas) plays in this pasture-to-plate cycle is that of a cattle nutritionist. Cattle nutritionists are specifically trained professionals responsible for formulating rations that optimize the health, well-being, and growth of the animals.
Courtney has a B.S. in Animal Nutrition and M.S. in Ruminant Nutrition from Texas A&M University. Becoming a cattle nutritionist takes a substantial educational commitment to master the hard science behind the complex digestive systems of livestock and understand how to fit all the puzzle pieces of a ruminant diet across diverse and changing situations. Interestingly, Courtney is the founding generation of agriculture within her family, although she did participate in FFA and trained horses in high school. She credits “really inspiring” professors at Texas A&M for piquing and furthering her interest in this field.
After graduation, Courtney gained ‘real-world’ education, working her way up to general manager at a North Texas feed yard. “What I love about my current job,” says Courtney, “is getting to travel all over the U.S. and globally to provide technical support as a consultant for all types of beef operations. She mentions that it has been helpful to see first-hand how other operations achieve the same goals, but differently, based on their geographic location and/or needs. “For example,” she says, “The Dominican Republic and Canada were two places (so different)… how their culture and physical environment dictated the ways they could operate was fascinating.”
“It’s rewarding to know I’m helping clients achieve solutions so that they can remain profitable and sustainable,” elaborates Courtney. “I really enjoy being that person someone can call on and they know I’m going to focus on their issues as if they were my own. Being dependable and trusted with someone’s livelihood is a big responsibility, which I don’t take lightly.”
In addition to putting in around 50 hours of work a week as a cattle nutritionist, Courtney is wife to Trevor, mother to 3-year old Dean, and having her second baby any day! She’s also a talented singer with her church’s worship team and an avid runner who took the sport up because, not surprisingly, she didn’t have enough time to hit the gym for a long workout. Read on to learn more about this amazing lady in her own words:
Favorite Beef Cut: Filet or Tri-Tip
Favorite Beef Recipe: Jen Hatmaker’s Beef Bourguignon on a cold and windy fall or winter day.
Favorite Beef Cooking Method: Dutch Oven
Active Hobbies: We love the rivers in Texas! We spend most of our time on the Guadalupe River paddle boarding, fishing, tubing, and soaking up the sun. Our family loves to travel and explore! We are always planning our next adventure and hope to instill this sense in our children. I also love running and am on the Texas Beef Team!
Singing: My husband and I also take part in our church’s worship team. Singing brought us together many years ago and our house is full of music all the time. We started a social media page when we had our son to keep up with all our bath time fun. It’s called @BathtimeBallads and it showcases some of our favorite covers with Trevor on guitar, and Dean and I singing together.