Winter Conference Brings Beef Industry Together

Pictured: Dr. Henry Zerby presents his keynote address, discussing the role of animal protein in the global marketplace.

Winter Conference Brings Beef Industry Together

March 4, 2020

The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association welcomed over 200 attendees to the Chula Vista Resort for the annual Winter Conference, held February 21-22, 2020. New this year, the UW-Extension Dairy and Beef Well-Being Conference was added to the educational portion of the program. The Wisconsin Hereford Association and Wisconsin Shorthorn Association also hosted their annual meetings in conjunction with the conference. 

The conference kicked off with updates on the national Beef Quality Assurance and FARM programs from Chase DeCoite, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Director of Beef Quality Assurance Programs. The UW-Extension Dairy and Beef Well-Being Conference educational sessions followed, featuring animal welfare topics presented by Dr. Charlotte Winder, University of Guelph; Dr. Courtney Daigle, Texas A&M University; and Dr. Nigel Cook, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. 

Dr. Henry Zerby presented the keynote address on Friday afternoon, discussing the role of animal protein in the global marketplace. Zerby serves as VP of Protein Procurement and Innovation for the Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-op (QSCC). Following the keynote, Dr. Beth Ventura of the University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science and Dr. Jesse Robbins of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine jointly discussed the importance of understanding and addressing the public’s concerns about animal welfare. Dr. Zerby, Dr. Ventura and Dr. Robbins then sat together on a panel to address audience questions.  

Ethan Lane, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs, shared a federal policy update ― highlighting the tremendous legislative work done by NCBA on behalf of cattle farmers and ranchers in Washington, D.C., over the past year. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Deputy Secretary Randy Romanski provided a state legislative overview, followed by an in-depth breakdown of the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association’s legislative efforts provided by Jordan Lamb of DeWitt, LLP. 

Fabulous Farm Babe and host of the Mid-West Farm Report Pam Jahnke joined the Wisconsin Beef Council staff for a Checkoff Chat, highlighting the ways checkoff dollars help build beef demand in Wisconsin. 

A trade show reception featured local beef products donated by members of the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors (WAMP). Following the reception, Jahnke and Abigail Martin, Wisconsin’s 72nd Alice in Dairyland, hosted an awards program honoring several individuals for their outstanding contributions to Wisconsin’s beef industry.  

Paige Gaffney was announced as the recipient of the 2020 WCA Young Producer’s Scholarship, which annually funds a young producer’s trip to attend the annual NCBA Convention, held this year on February 5-7, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. Gaffney is currently a junior at South Dakota State University, pursuing a major in ag business and a minor in land valuation and rural real estate. With these degrees, she hopes to find a career in the real estate industry, connecting farmers with profitable pieces of land. A video overview of Gaffney’s experience in San Antonio was played, highlighting her favorite takeaway from the convention ― the interaction in regional meetings regarding legislation specific to this area. 

Awards were also given to the following individuals for their dedication to and excellence within Wisconsin’s beef industry: 

  • J. Scott Hoffman, owner of J&S Angus Farms in Richland County, received the BQA Producer of the Year award.  
  • Arndt Farms of Janesville was recognized with the Environmental Stewardship award.  
  • Monroe County UW-Extension Educator Bill Halfman was recognized as the Friend of the Cattlemen. 
  • Marda Angus Farms, Lodi, received the Cattlemen of the Year award. 
  • Jena Swanson, WCA Past President, received the Meritorious Service award. 

Joe Scott, Lancaster, represented the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association at the 2019 Young Cattlemen’s Conference. The ten-day leadership training showcases every facet of the beef industry, providing 60 beef leaders from across the country an in-depth beef industry educational experience. Scott shared his takeaways with the group, thanking WCA for the opportunity and commending NCBA’s work on behalf of cattlemen and women. 

The evening concluded with entertainment and a silent auction, raising funds for a young cattle producer to attend the 2021 annual NCBA convention.  

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association committees met individually, followed by the WCA annual meeting. In the WCA Board of Directors meeting, the 2020-2021 WCA leadership roles were established as follows: 

  • President: Matt Ludlow, Viroqua, Wisconsin 
  • President-Elect: Brady Zuck, Ladysmith, Wisconsin 
  • Past President: Eric Johnson, Dane, Wisconsin 
  • Secretary: Anna Boschert, Livingston, Wisconsin 
  • Treasurer: Austin Arndt, Janesville, Wisconsin  

The Wisconsin Hereford Association and Wisconsin Shorthorn Association also held their annual meetings on Saturday. 

The date for the 2020 Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association Summer Tour was announced. The tour will take place on June 27, 2020, in the DeForest area; highlighted by a stop to Marda Angus, WCA Cattlemen of the Year.  

Next year’s Winter Conference is scheduled for February 12-13, 2021, at the Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association is extremely grateful to all those who contributed to making this year’s event a success and looks forward to continuing to serve as the voice of Wisconsin’s beef producers in the coming year.

Posted: March 4, 2020