NEW ORLEANS — More than 1,500 cattlemen and women took advantage of educational opportunities at the 26th annual Cattlemen’s College in New Orleans, La., Jan. 29-30. The turnout was more than 50 percent greater than attendance at the 25th Cattlemen’s College in Phoenix, Ariz., in January 2018.
Held in conjunction with the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show, Cattlemen’s College serves as one of the cattle industry’s most in-depth and helpful educational events, helping cattle producers make their operations more efficient and successful. Since first established, Cattlemen’s College has been sponsored by Zoetis Animal Health since it was first established 26 years ago.
Keynote speaker at the breakfast Jan. 30 was Bill Cordingley, head of wholesale banking North America, Rabobank. He spoke on “Greater Expectations, Bigger Opportunities,” touching on the different forces that work together to yield a complex demand story for beef.
U.S. cattle producers should expect “a more global and uncertain environment” in the demand for beef, Cordingley told the audience. Cattle producers are doing a good job, he said, and “consumers already love your product. The challenge is, will this be enough in the future, and what role will you play?”
Cordingley pointed to technology and the pace of change as having an influence in the future of the cattle industry.
“Technology has changed everything,” he said. Furthermore, detractors are not bashful about “painting the industry in the wrong way.” Producers should be engaged in helping tell a positive story, he says.
Exports and trade will also be important in the future, he said, and a focus on these issues will serve the industry well. The good news, he said: “There are few significant competitors to high quality U.S. beef.” Today 12 percent of U.S. beef is exported; RaboBank expects that number could increase to 15 percent.
More than two dozen sessions in eight Cattlemen’s College session tracks followed the breakfast, featuring presentations in business, cattle health, genetics, nutrition, reproduction, grazing management, consumer interest, and industry hot topics. Because many sessions were concurrent, attendees will be able to view videos of missed sessions online in the coming weeks.
A highlight of the Cattlemen’s College event was a Jan. 29 afternoon session that featured Dr. Temple Grandin conducting a cattle handling and facility design presentation. A reception followed, with the full slate of concurrent educational sessions the following morning.
For the second year, the college began with a special Producer’s Choice collection of sessions Jan. 29. An online vote conducted prior to the schedule finalization determined the three educational sessions that were offered for a “first look”: Programming Your Cow Herd for Success, Unraveling Secrets of the Rumen, and Practical Management to Reduce Disease Challenges.
“The increasing attendance at our Cattlemen’s College sessions demonstrates how much value our producers put in education,” said Josh White, NCBA executive director of producer education. “They recognize that education and information is the heart blood of progress and success. Our knowledgeable presenters have been through many of the challenges facing those in their audiences. Together, they are paving the way to a better cattle industry future.”
Video sessions from the Cattlemen’s College will be available online following the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. Those unable to attend any of the sessions in New Orleans will be able take advantage of this online option at www.ncba.org/cattlemenscollege.
–National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
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