Brain Trust panel to discuss real-world, applied genomics

Farm Forum

This year’s Brain Trust will feature an all-star panel discussing the role of applied genomics as it plays into real-world scenarios.

The Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) invites all cattle producers to attend the 2014 Brain Trust during the National Western Stock Show events in Denver, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at the Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park, Aurora, Colo.

Brain Trust will run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and is free to attend.

Kevin Ochsner, ‘Cattlemen to Cattlemen’

Kevin Ochsner, the host of NCBA’s weekly television program, Cattlemen to Cattlemen, will moderate the panel of all-star experts.

In addition to his family’s purebred cattle operation, Ochsners own and operate Ochsner Tenderlean Beef, a small branded-beef company that markets beef directly to consumers along the Front Range of Colorado.

Kevin also works as a business consultant and professional speaker for ABG, Inc. an Indianapolis-based agribusiness consulting and training firm. In this capacity, he provides strategic planning, marketing consulting and sales training services to some of the countries largest animal health, crop protection, seed, feed and farm machinery companies.

Blake W. Angell, Meyer Natural Angus

Blake joined the staff of Meyer Natural Angus (MNA) as a cattle buyer in 2006, where he works with producers to document that cattle have been raised from birth to slaughter without the use of antibiotics, animal by-products or synthetic hormones; are a minimum of 50 percent Red or Black Angus and have been raised using humane-handling practices.

Blake is responsible for contracting and scheduling fat cattle that meet the MNA program requirements from feed yards located in western Nebraska, western Kansas and northeastern Colorado.

Prior to joining MNA, Blake spent nearly eight years as the commercial marketing director for the Red Angus Association of America.

C.J. Blew, Blew Ranch

C.J. is the fourth generation to own and operation his family’s commercial cow-calf and farming operation near Hutchinson, Kan. Along with his brother Russell, they raise both Red Angus and Simmental cattle, utilizing heterosis and the strengths of both breeds to achieve the goals they set for their crossbred calf crop.

Blews enroll their calves in the Red Angus Feeder Calf Certification Program (FCCP) and their cowherd in the Certified Red Cow program, ensuring that their calves are 50 percent Red Angus and source and age verified.

They have used several methods to market their calves from Superior Livestock Auction to selling in the country with forward contracting. Blews have also backgrounded their calves and retained ownership depending on the year’s markets.

John Butler, Beef Marketing Group

Industry-thought leader John Butler is the CEO of the Beef Marketing Group (BMG), a producer cooperative focused on creating value throughout the beef supply chain. They accomplish this by producing a consistent supply of cattle that meet specifications and insure safe, wholesome beef products targeted at exceeding customer expectations.

BMG’s alignment with feeder cattle suppliers, a processor, and end users brings together a unique structure to enhance verified beef programs consumers can trust.

Their producer cooperative, formed in 1987, consists of 15 cattle feeding and growing operations in Kansas and Nebraska. They harvest 500,000 cattle annually and focus on consistently producing value-added beef that uniquely aligns the entire beef supply chain.

Bob Weaber, Ph.D., Kansas State University

Bob Weaber, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and cow-calf extension specialist at Kansas State University.

The focus of his extension and research programs have been to broaden the availability, use and understanding of genetic selection tools (EPDs, DNA markers and selection indexes) as well as performance data collection schemes implemented by cattle producers.

Dr. Weaber also serves as central regional secretary of the Beef Improvement Federation, is a co-coordinator of the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium education programs and has served as a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Policy Division Board of Directors.