Gregg, Blach, Holthus On KLA Convention Program

October 18, 2018

(TOPEKA) – Speakers scheduled to appear at the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Convention in Wichita will talk about creating an animal traceability system before a crisis arises, defining sustainability from the rancher’s perspective, the cattle market outlook and a new digital consumer guide called Chuck Knows Beef. The convention will take place November 28-30 at the Wichita Hyatt and Century II Convention Center.

World Perspectives Consulting Projects Manager David Gregg will talk about how the U.S. has an opportunity to proactively develop an industry-driven animal traceability system without being forced into doing so by a disease outbreak. This is in contrast to most of the world’s major beef exporting countries, which were forced to adopt a system in response to a disease event. With 61% of all beef exported around the world coming from a country with some form of animal identification, the U.S. currently is working at a disadvantage with export customers. Gregg’s presentation will come during Beef Industry University (BIU), sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas.

Continuing the BIU discussion on traceability, collaborators with Kansas-based CattleTrace will discuss how the pilot project is structured and provide an update on cattle scanned to date. The two-year project involves an end-to-end disease traceability system beginning with cow-calf producers and ending at the beef processing plant.

White City rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe will be on the BIU program to talk about the cattle industry’s key role in sustainability discussions. She and others have provided input on behalf of cow-calf producers and feeders as part of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

During a session sponsored by Elanco, CattleFax Chief Executive Officer Randy Blach will provide a cattle and beef market outlook. The veteran market analyst will take a top-to-bottom look at beef industry economics, from feed and energy costs to exports and beef demand.

Veteran sportscaster and Smith Center native Mitch Holthus will be the keynote speaker at the Cattlemen’s Banquet. Holthus will draw on his experiences as the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs since 1994 to share inspirational stories with lessons that translate to business and life. His appearance is sponsored by Zoetis and Micro Technologies.

The Consumer Trends Forum, sponsored by the Kansas Soybean Commission, will highlight timely beef checkoff activities. Kansas Beef Council Director of Nutrition Abby Heidari will explain how checkoff-funded research is being shared with health influencers who consult with millions of patients on a regular basis. NCBA Senior Executive Director of Brand Marketing Season Solorio will discuss the recent launch of Chuck Knows Best, the all-knowing digital beef expert powered by Google Artificial Intelligence.

KLA members will review existing policy and consider new resolutions during committee and council meetings at the convention. Among policy issues expected to be discussed are a state constitutional amendment on K-12 education funding, animal disease traceability and authority for the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health to address animal neglect cases. Final policy consideration will come during the general KLA membership meeting at the end of the convention.

The KLA Trade Show will feature livestock products and services on display for producers, as well as being the site for many social events and meals at the convention. A barn party will close out the trade show schedule, with entertainment by the hard-rocking country group Lucas Maddy and the Kansas Cartel. The band’s appearance is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and Kansas Feeds.     

Schedule and registration information is available on or in the November/December Kansas Stockman. All livestock producers are welcome to attend.     

KLA works to advance members’ common business interests on legislative, regulatory and industry issues affecting producers at both the state and federal levels. The association’s work is funded through voluntary dues dollars paid by its members.