Calf For A Cure Program Helps Raise Money for Cancer Research

Since 1998, the Cattlemen's Ball of Nebraska has generated more than 13-million dollars for cancer research. This year's ball will be held near Hebron, and organizers are using a special program to get a head start on fundraising. "It's a unique way for anybody, whether you are a livestock person or live in town to be involved with the Cattlemen's Ball," Calf For A Cure organizer Bob Engle said.

We're talking about a program called "Calf For A Cure". Bob Engle of Geneva and Tim Else of Belvidere are two of the organizers of the project. Here's how it works: People are encouraged to donate $1,000 to buy a calf. Then, the animal is placed on feed. Currently the cattle are being cared for at the Duensing farms feedlot north of Byron in Thayer County. To date, 217 people have made a donation, making this program a huge success.

"We've had people who are gracious enough to donate feed to the program, but we are getting our yardage at a reduced rate. So all of that money will then go to the Buffett Cancer Center," Engle said. Not only does the initial $1,000 donation go to cancer research, but so will the extra money the animal makes when it goes to market. "I think by feeding them out we will pick up another $800 to $1,000 a head, because they come in here weighing maybe in the 8's and they'll go out weighing 1300 pounds. So, all of that extra 500 pounds of gain with most of the feedstuffs being donated, is a profit," Engle said.

As you might imagine, organizers say they are thrilled with the response to the program. "We had a goal and thought maybe we were too high and sort of thought maybe 200 people would donate. At first it was slow and we thought maybe we shot too high, that maybe we'd get 100 donors, but we were pleasantly surprised," organizer Tim Else said.

When it's all said and done, this year's Calf-For-A-Cure program could raise around $300,000 dollars for cancer research. "All of these funds or 90 percent of them go to the Buffett Cancer Center for research in Omaha, and 10 percent comes back locally. There are no administrative costs it's just pure dollars to do good, and that's what people want," Else said.

"We've had two busloads of people involved with the ball go up through the Cancer Center in Omaha. Nobody on that bus is not somehow been affected by cancer. I lost my dad 10 years ago to Cancer, so it really is a rallying point," Engle said. "It's kind of what Nebraskans are about, everybody is working together for a good cause. For years and years we were known as the Beef State, and this really fits well with the Cattlemen's Ball and what we are doing here," Engle said.

For more information on this year's Cattlemen's Ball or how to get tickets, go to