Markets, Alternative Meats on Convention Program

November 6, 2019

(TOPEKA) – Featured presentations about the cattle markets, how the industry is using its resources to position beef as the optimal choice over plant proteins and the continual progress being made on beef sustainability will highlight the educational program at the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Convention. The three-day event will be held December 4-6 at the Wichita Hyatt and Century II Convention Center. 

CattleFax Chief Executive Officer Randy Blach will offer perspective on the cattle and beef markets during Beef Industry University (BIU), sponsored by the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas. As the industry waits for one of the largest beef processing facilities, the Tyson plant in Holcomb, to come back on-line after the fire in early August, Blach will discuss packing capacity and what that means for future growth in the cattle business. He will assess where the industry stands with herd expansion and what that means for beef supplies in 2020. Blach’s outlook for the year ahead will consider grain prices, energy costs, the macroeconomy, beef exports and consumer demand for beef and its competitors.

The Industry Information Session, sponsored by Elanco Animal Health, will feature two speakers discussing how the industry is positioning beef as plant-based protein options gain notoriety. This involves separate, but closely coordinated efforts between both the checkoff and policy divisions of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). From the checkoff perspective, NCBA Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Alisa Harrison will outline how checkoff dollars are being used to highlight the taste and nutritional advantages of beef. High-level digital strategies and paid advertising on social media platforms are among the ways this is being accomplished. In addition, Kansas Beef Council staff will share a video featured in the upcoming in-state checkoff campaign titled “One Simple Ingredient.” The message, targeted at millennials and Generation Z consumers, provides positive differentiation for beef from meat substitutes. The policy side of the fake meat issue will be presented by NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. He will outline how NCBA staff in Washington, D.C., is working to ensure all protein sources, including the plant-based varieties and cell-cultured options of the future, are produced and marketed under the same food safety and labeling standards as animal-based proteins.

The Consumer Trends Forum, hosted by the Kansas Beef Council and Kansas CattleWomen and sponsored by the Kansas Soybean Commission, will feature Elanco Animal Health Technical Consultant in Sustainability Sara Place. She will highlight how the cattle industry has reduced its environmental footprint in recent years. In her previous role as NCBA senior director of sustainable beef production research, Place oversaw the checkoff-funded life cycle assessment used to benchmark the sustainability of the U.S. beef industry. She has been interviewed on the subject by many major media outlets and has spoken on high-profile panels targeted at the consuming public.

An individual who takes his humor seriously will entertain the crowd at the Cattlemen’s Banquet, sponsored by INTRUST Bank and Tyson. Devin Henderson helps people use humor to perform at their best in the workplace. He will show livestock producers how humor can help them deal with change, stress, failure and difficult people. Henderson’s presentation is sponsored by Micro Technologies and Zoetis.

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 proper labeling of meat alternatives to better inform consumers, continued efforts to preserve and enhance the lesser prairie chicken population, trichomoniasis and the CattleTrace project. 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 Jared Daniels Band. The band’s appearance is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and Kansas Feeds.    

Schedule and registration information is available here 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.  -30-