Q & A – Blueprint For The Future Conference

Mark Johnson, Oklahoma State University Extension Beef Cattle Breeding Specialist, offers herd health advice as part of the weekly series known as the “Cow Calf Corner” published electronically by Dr. Peel, Mark Johnson, and Paul Beck. Today, Johnson is talking about the upcoming Blueprint for the Future Conference.

The 2023 Cattlemen’s Conference – Blueprint For The Future will be held in Stillwater on May 24th and 25th.  The program will address a variety of topics that are challenging the beef industry and promises to be informative, exciting and timely. If you are in the cattle business, regardless of what sector of the industry or the size of your operation this conference will offer information of value.  Based on feedback about this event, this article will address the most frequently asked questions. 

Q: Who had the idea for the Blueprint For The Future conference and why are we doing it now?

A: Discussions among cattle owners about the need for an event like this started during the first Cattlemen’s Congress Show in 2021.  Based on OSU’s history of hosting some watershed events such as the National Steer Symposium in 1982 and the Blueprint for the Right Kind cattle conference in 1988, it was determined that the OSU Department of Animal and Food Sciences would host the event on the OSU campus.  In 2022, personnel from the Cattlemen’s Congress stock show, the Noble Research Institute and OSU Cooperative Extension decided to cooperatively sponsor the event and began planning the topics and speakers.

Q:  How is this event alike or different from the National Steer Symposium in 1982 or the Blueprint for the Right Kind conference in 1988?

A: Those conferences were based on a need to significantly change the “on foot” type of steers and breeding cattle that were winning in the showring to a more practical kind to better fit consumer demand, industry grading standards and production environments. The 1988 conference was also a clear turning point in industry acceptance and use of EPDs on a wide-scale basis across the industry.  This conference goes deeper into a wider variety of topics that are currently challenging the beef industry.

Q:  So what topics will be discussed at this conference?

A: Pasture management and some of the newest information we have on dealing with drought. The latest information from what is going on in the beef packing industry and the national beef audit. Panel discussions on genetics and breeding, selection for extremes (are there traits we should max out to the highest possible level or is there an intermediate optimum?) Ethics in marketing and the showring.  A report from competing protein sources.  A look at how consumer demand and economic trends will impact marketing beef in the future.  A cattle market outlook.  Throughout the program the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers.

Q:  Will there be live cattle to evaluate?

A:  Definitely yes.  There will be live animal evaluation of finished steers, breeding cattle, estimations of birth dates, feed intake and a variety of evaluation questions addressed outside of what might be expected.  And after evaluations are made all the data that has been collected on the live animals will be revealed on the second day of the conference.  

Q: How do I register, what is the cost and what is included?

A: Registration cost for the conference is $200 which all meals and all parts of the program.  There is a discounted rate of $150 for OSU Extension Educators. To register for the conference, motel information, and to access a detailed conference schedule visit: cattlemenscongress.com/conference.  You will receive confirmation after successfully registering.

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