Ranchers to gather in La Grande Saturday

By ED MERRIMAN, Baker City Herald January 12, 2009 03:43 pm

Raising cattle, like these on the Forsea Ranch near Richland, is the topic of Saturday’s workshop. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins)
Raising cattle, like these on the Forsea Ranch near Richland, is the topic of Saturday’s workshop. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins)
Speakers from throughout the United States will be featured at the fifth-annual Cattlemen’s Workshop which starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Blue Mountain Conference Center in La Grande.

Ron Rowan, beef marketing manager for Beef Northwest feeders headquartered in North Powder, said the workshop has become one of the larger and more popular venues for renowned speakers to share their expertise in the cattle business.

This year will be another “must see” event if you are involved in the cattle business, Rowan said.

“We’re expecting more than 300 ranchers,” he said.

The theme for this year’s free workshop is “Opportunities in a Changing Beef Industry.”

Rowan expects ranchers from Northeastern Oregon and across the Pacific Northwest will attend Saturday to keep abreast of changes in the cattle industry.

Rowan said cattlemen will profit from the speakers’ expertise, and will have a unique chance to listen and interact with some of the industry’s well-known experts.

Tommy Beall, former director of market research for Cattle-Fax, will lead the discussion on cattle marketing trends and keys to success in the current economic climate. Beall helped create the “Cattlemen’s College” program that Cattle Fax has hosted for several decades.  He is a former executive at ContiBeef and owns a beef and cattle consulting firm in Colorado.

Others speakers include:

• Tom Field, executive director of Producer Education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, will return this year discussing “Challenges and Opportunities for the North American Beef Cattle Industry.” His talk will focus on the cow-calf  big picture, overall trends, and how cow-calf operators need to change to survive in today’s dynamic environment.

• Chandler Keys, senior spokesman for JBS, the world’s largest beef company, will be speaking on the political situation in Washington, D.C., and some of the major political and marketing issues in today’s beef industry.  He is a former vice president of the Center for Government Affairs.

• Gary Sides, cattle nutritionist for Pfizer Animal Health, will share his insight and big picture strategies that cow/calf producers should find valuable.

• Jerry Lipsey, executive vice president of the American Simmental Association, is a meat scientist based in Montana who helped establish the Certified Angus Beef program.

• Don Killingsworth, president of Killingsworth Trading in Kansas City, is a former vice president of Continental Grain and trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. He will present his outlook on the grain market and its implications to the cattle industry.

• Tom Brink, senior vice president of Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, is based in Colorado and is responsible for marketing and risk management for the largest cattle feeding company in the world. His topic is “Tailoring Cow/Calf Production for a Changing Beef Industry.”

Rowan said the Cattlemen’s Workshop program began in 2005 with the concept of “adding value to Eastern Oregon ranching.”

A trade show area is set up during the workshop, and those attending are invited to visit with sponsors at their booths to learn more about the programs and services they offer the cattle industry, Rowan said.

For more information call Kim Verhelst at the Eastern Oregon Ag Research Center in Union at 541-562-5129 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

In a separate meeting Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Badgley Hall Huber Auditorium at Eastern Oregon University, the Oregon State University Extension Service will be presenting the Winter Nutrition and Feed Cost Forum.

For more information on on Friday’s Winter Nutrition and Feed Cost Forum, call David Bohnert at 541-573-8910.