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This study uses a mail survey to determine the value Nebraska feedyard operators place on education, experience, and area of expertise in new assistant manager hires. Using conjoint analysis, calculations are made that estimate the marginal value of moving from one level of these attributes to another. Results show that operators preferred higher levels of education and experience. However, relevant experience was preferred over formal education. As an area of expertise, animal health was valued highest by operators of feedyards in all size categories for new assistant managers. Personnel management was valued lowest. Results suggest prospective assistant managers can maximize starting salary by gaining moderate levels of education and experience with an expertise in animal health.