Form-A-Feed Professional Beef Conference: A Lesson in Thriving
If you missed the 2018 Professional Beef Conference you sure missed a seminar packed full of take-home applications and points to ruminate on. How do we go from Surviving to Thriving? Our keynote speaker Mark Jewell helped our audience bring home the seven steps to work towards thriving. Each step will bring a lot of challenges, heartache at times, and work on behalf of us all to continue to thrive. His insightful stories, laughter and realistic goals helped many understand just how rewarding it can be when you finally decide to Thrive.
The goal of every seminar is certainly to have everyone leaving with one more tidbit of useful information they can go home and initiate on their operation. We also hope they leave knowing they have a few more people they can rely on when they have questions or need further support of their business. We certainly had an insightful discussion to end our seminar by Joseph Kerns of Kerns & Associates who put perspective on the upcoming year’s marketing goals based on demand, export and competition. He listed some interesting things to think about as we are trying to reach a goal of feeding 30 million more people by 2030! That’s right 30 million more people. How are we going to do it? Who will bear the burden of that growth? Who will be our main competitors, and do we have enough shackle space to even support that growth? There is a lot to look forward to in the coming years. One thing is for sure, we know we are in support of some of the most best-minded and best-practiced individuals in the industry to help reach that goal. Beef will be in the forefront to help feed the world. By the way, have you noticed this coincides with one of Form-A-Feed’s main values, innovation? We value being flexible, creative, unique and passionate about formulating new solutions that help feed the world. It will certainly take all of that if we expect to feed another 30 million people by 2030.
To reach these goals we need to be more efficient, understand our market, the consumer better, and keep our prices in check all while looking ahead. Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz of PAC, showed us just how to keep moving forward with effective animal handling and how it impacts cattle health throughout the feeding period, and the reflection this has on more pounds of beef sold. Less stress and lower death loss equals lower expenses, more efficient cattle and lower cost of gains. Between Dr. Kip, Joseph Kerns and Dr. Kelly Bruns from the University of Nebraska, we certainly learned that understanding the consumer by providing an economical cut of beef, working towards being efficient, and not necessarily harvesting cattle at higher weights will be the goal. Efficient use of pounds to feed a world who has a taste for beef, but in a package they can afford. Sure, it sounds easy, but the reality is, this will take work through better management and recordkeeping. Troy Brown and Simon Kern are both great resources for Form-A-Feed, and helped bring that message home as they talked about best management practices for fermented feedstuffs and how good recordkeeping can help showcase the areas of management that can provide the best return on investment. Without measuring your inputs, how do you know what to change?
Lastly, it takes a lot of people to make these changes functional and possible. Family is another one of Form-A-Feed’s values. “First and foremost, Form-A-Feed values the entity of family. Founded by the Nelson Family, we continue to instill a “Family First” value in all we do – from our personal families to our Form-A-Feed family – including customers, dealers, Nelson Family Companies, co-workers and vendors.” We understand it takes all types of families to make a cattle operation work. We started our conference out with a generational panel that helped drive that feeling of family home, and I think Lynn Mayer, 2018 Outstanding Cattleman and a rancher from Pukwana, SD, said it best, “An employee is only two weeks away from leaving. A family member will stay due to a sense of ownership, loyalty and belonging.” We all try to treat our employees like family, and understand they are an essential part of our operation. How we treat our employees, and transition through the generations will help propel all our farming and ranching families forward to succeed in feeding the world.