Cattle U Speakers

Dave Nichols

Nichols Farms 

Iowa seedstock producer Dave Nichols has been a pioneer in the beef industry for more than 60 years. When the Beef Improvement Federation was formed in 1968, he served on its first board of directors and later as president.
Nichols Farms collects more than 70 objective data points on each animal, creating a database that has been the basis of countless genetic research projects. Nichols was also a pioneer in the transition of Simmental to black-hided and polled cattle instead of the traditional color pattern. Through his service on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Nichols played a critical role in the development and implementation of instrument carcass grading. Overall, it was through the efforts of Nichols, and the small group of other performance pioneers, that the industry switched from the showring to performance testing as the primary means of selection.

2020 presentation:

How do we go forward and make the best better?

SUMMARY: 2015 Saddle & Sirloin Club inductee Dave Nichols, Bridgewater, Iowa, has spent a lifetime making the best better, whether it’s in his cattle herd or in his professional work on behalf of the beef industry. Nichols will wrap up our 2020 Cattle U with an energizing message for attendees, encouraging them to use the wisdom they gathered at Cattle U to go forth and make the best decisions for their operations, their families, and their communities.

Danette Amstein 

Midan Marketing 

Danette is a managing principal of Midan Marketing, based in Mooresville, North Carolina. Together with Michael Uetz, she develops and carries out the strategic direction and vision for Midan. In addition, she works closely with its meat industry clients to outline effective strategies based on their business goals and then oversees the execution of tactics to ensure those goals are not just met, but surpassed. Danette’s lifelong love for the meat industry started on her family’s farm in Kansas, deepened during her involvement with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and state beef organizations, and continues today with her passionate work for our clients. A well-respected thought leader in the meat industry, she speaks at conferences, writes social content postings, and blogs for Meatingplace.

2020 presentation:

Consumer beef purchasing trends before and after COVID-19

SUMMARY: Consumer purchasing patterns for beef have been evolving in the past decade. Midan Marketing will share insights they’ve gathered prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as freshly collected data during the pandemic that shows that beef is still what’s for dinner in many households.

Derrell Peel

Oklahoma State University Extension Economist 

Derrell Peel is the Charles Breedlove Professor of Agribusiness in the Department of Agricultural Economics. He has served as the Extension livestock marketing specialist since he came to Oklahoma State University in 1989. He has a bachelor’s and master’s from Montana State University and his doctorate from the University of Illinois. His main program areas at Oklahoma State University include livestock market outlook and marketing/risk management education for livestock producers.

2020 presentation:

Cattle Market Outlook for Fall/Winter 2020

SUMMARY: Dr. Peel will present the cattle market outlook for the fall/winter 2020/21 in conjunction with our Marketing Panel on Day 2.

Rebecca Kern

Professional Animal Scientist (PAS) / Ward Laboratories. Inc

Rebecca Kern got her start in animal nutrition feeding dairy cattle in Minnesota as a part time job in high school. From there she pursued a bachelor’s in animal and veterinary sciences and earned a master’s in animal nutrition from the University of Wyoming.
She collaborated with the United States Meat Animal Research Center for her master’s thesis project studying rumen epithelial physiology and gene expression related to gain and intake phenotypes. She has been the consulting professional animal scientist at Ward Laboratories, Inc. for the past 4 years. Currently, Kern serves on the board of the NIRS Forage and Feed Testing Consortium.

2020 presentation:

Representative Forage Sampling and Utilizing NIRS Analysis of Forages

SUMMARY: Forages are typically the largest portion of a beef cow’s diet. Understanding the nutrients available in forages can help producers make crucial nutritional decisions, weather balancing a total mixed ration or determining the best supplementation strategy for their herd, producers can make better decisions with a forage report in hand. These reports can help producers avoid over or underfeeding cattle. Decisions resulting in more precise nutrition result in economic benefits in the form of fewer resources wasted on unnecessary supplements, but also healthy animals and less vet bills. To get reliable results sampling procedure is key in obtaining a representative sample for laboratory analysis. NIRS analysis of forages is an affordable, rapid method to obtain valuable nutritional data. Finally, it all comes together with tips on how to interpret and make use of forage reports.

Jack Oattes

Regional Business Manager and Beef Cattle Specialist 

Jack Oattes, a native of Ontario, Canada, serves as Regional Business Manager and Beef Cattle Specialist with Biozyme Inc. working across Canada and the northeastern United States. He was raised on his family’s Charolais seed stock operation and continues to be involved in the management of the breeding program. Jack attended college in the U.S., participating in successful livestock judging teams at both Blinn College as well as Kansas State University, where he was named high individual at the North American International Livestock Exposition. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at K-State and received his master’s degree in Animal Sciences with a specialty in cow-calf nutrition and management from the University of Illinois. Jack also coached the livestock judging team during his tenure at the University of Illinois. At Biozyme Inc., Jack enjoys working day-to-day with producers to find solutions to their operation’s nutrition and management challenges.

2020 presentation:

Is Premium Nutrition Really Worth It?

SUMMARY:  When cattle producers are trying to cut costs, mineral programs seem to be the first to go, but should they be? When reproductive efficiency and performance are the pinnacles of profitability in the herd, nutrition becomes a valuable ally in maximizing profitability. Join us as we discuss the value of premium nutrition and how an investment in a quality mineral program will generate return on numerous fronts in operations of all shapes and sizes.

Miles Theurer 

Research Director – Veterinary Research and Consulting Services, LLC

Dr. Miles Theurer grew up on a family farm and cow-calf operation in south-central Kansas. He earned doctorates in epidemiology and veterinary medicine from Kansas State University. He is currently a research director for Veterinary Research and Consulting Services where he evaluates data for the consulting group and their clients. Theurer works directly with pharmaceutical companies, feedyard managers, and consultants to improve the health and efficiency of cattle in the feedyard through practicing evidence-based medicine, data-driven decisions, personnel training, and animal welfare. Theurer currently lives in Cimarron, Kansas.

2020 presentations:

Mid-feeding period morbidity in high performing cattle 

SUMMARY: Provide preliminary observations related to bovine respiratory morbidity in high-performing cattle during the mid-portion of feeding; specifically, first treatment for bovine respiratory disease occurring after 45 days on feed. The beef industry must come together to better understand the health issues and potential implications throughout the supply chain.

Stocker operation: Optimization of health, performance, and economic outcomes 

SUMMARY: Provide an overview of stocker operations, and definition of the stocker industry within the supply chain. Highlight what is known about necessary health management strategies related to performance and economic drivers.

Sandy Johnson

Extension Beef Specialist, K-State Research and Extension 

Dr. Sandy Johnson is a reproductive physiologist and extension beef specialist for Kansas State University Research and Extension located at the Northwest Research and Extension Center in Colby. She is a founding member of the Beef Reproduction Task Force, a multi-state academic group that collaborated with allied industry to develop a short list of recommended protocols for beef heifers and cows. Johnson has represented the task force in updating and improving the Estrus Synchronization Planner, a popular scheduling tool for implementing estrus synchronization protocols. Her goal is to help promote wider adoption of reproductive technologies among cow-calf producers and to educate those producers in management considerations that will increase the likelihood of successful artificial insemination breeding.

2020 presentation:

Practical consideration for use of sexed semen in beef operations 

SUMMARY: Sexed semen creates new and changing opportunities for the beef industry. Determine realistic expectations for shifts in gender ratios and understand insemination timing differences with sexed semen.

Brandi Buzzard Frobose 

Blogger and 2019 NCBA Beef Advocate of the Year

For more than a decade, Brandi Buzzard Frobose has been a passionate agriculture advocate, while helping others share their agriculture story. In 2019, her work in the professional and advocacy arenas led to her selection as a Top 10 Industry Leader Under 40 by Cattle Business Weekly as well as the NCBA Masters of Beef Advocacy Advocate of the Year. She has spoken on MSNBC, FOX, and CBS addressing issues like climate change, sustainability, and nutrition, and makes regular appearances on podcasts, radio, and print journalism.
Frobose has worked for the Beef Cattle Institute/K-State Research & Extension, NCBA, and is currently the Director of Communications for the Red Angus Association of America. Throughout her career, Frobose has strived to provide clear communication, whether the situation is sustainability or a new tagging program.
Frobose, her husband Hyatt, and their daughter Oakley live in southeast Kansas and own a Gelbvieh/Balancer seedstock operation.

2020 presentations:

Battles are Won in the General’s Tent

SUMMARY: Weather, activists, markets and acts of God are all pressures and challenges that cattlemen and women are dealing with these days. Rather than sit back and wait for relief to come, progressive producers have contingency plans in place so that their world is altered as little as possible when the next earth-shattering challenge hits.

Sustainable Beef and Advocacy: Hard Work Worth Doing

SUMMARY: Using social media to stand up for your industry. The 2019 NCBA Beef Advocate of the Year will provide attendees practical tips and advice for using the tools at hand to be an advocate for the beef industry and their own operations.


Brandi Buzzard Frobose Mark Gardiner

Gardiner Angus Ranch

Gardiner Angus Ranch breeds over 4,500 head of Angus females each year and calves approximately 2,000 cows each fall and spring. Both registered and commercial Angus are settled by either embryo transfer or artificial insemination. In other words, no cleanup bulls have been used since 1964.
Since 2008 genomic information has been gathered on all of the ranches’ bulls, heifers, and commercial females. Performance data is recorded on all calves born on the ranch, registered or commercial.
Steer calves are placed in feed yards and carcass data is collected on all ranch AI sires. Since 1970, carcass data has been collected on all of the ranch’s home raised steers. This carcass data accounts for 43% (over 14,000 head) of the current American Angus Association database.
Gardiner is married to the former Dr. Eva Stumpff, DVM. They, along with their three sons, all work at GAR.

2020 presentation:

Genomic applications for Beef Producers

SUMMARY: Genomics may be misunderstood from the standpoint that producers may not understand how they can use them in their operation to their benefit. These tools are real and will make you money.

Dustin Aherin, PhD

Vice President, Rabo Research Animal Protein Analyst 

Originally from Phillipsburg, Kansas, Dustin Aherin has been involved in several sectors of the beef industry, from seedstock and commercial cow-calf to cattle feeding. Aherin started as an animal protein analyst with Rabo AgriFinance in February 2020 upon completing his doctoral degree from The Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University. His graduate work focused on applying systems modeling to beef cattle production and included a visiting fellowship at MIT, system dynamics’ founding institution. Prior to completing graduate school, Aherin spent time in Russia on an artificial insemination and embryo transfer project and worked for Elanco Animal Health as a feedyard sales rep. Currently, Aherin also serves on the American Gelbvieh Association board of directors.

2020 presentations:

How does cow size translate into profitability in your herd? 

SUMMARY: Biological efficiency and economic efficiency at the cow-calf level are not synonymous. The relationship between the two depends a great deal on the balance between input costs and cattle prices over the time frame of interest. One size does not fit all.

A look at beef markets from a macro perspective

SUMMARY: While the cattle cycle typically dominates, the beef and cattle complex is not immune to the macroeconomic environment. Consumer demand, futures markets, and trade flows all respond to realizations and uncertainties surrounding the broader economy. How does the impact of COVID-19’s economic fallout compare to past economic downturns?

Ryan Rhoades

CSU Extension Beef Specialist, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science


2020 presentation:

Whole Ranch Management 

SUMMARY: The session will show how using a different accounting perspective on the ranch can help cattlemen better control costs and capture more profits.

Galen Fink 

Cattleman/Co-owner Fink Beef Genetics, Inc.


2020 presentation:

Genomics for the commercial cowman  

SUMMARY: With decades of experience in helping cattlemen make the right breeding selections for their herds, Galen Fink will explain how commercial cattlemen can best utilize genomics and other selection tools to improve their herds and boost their profits.

Jordan Jones

Kansas Livestock Association


2020 presentation:

Beef  Quality Assurance Training – Day 1 & Day 2 

SUMMARY: Using the best tools and training available to ensure the health, welfare, and safety of not only cattle herds but the people who manage them is what Beef Quality Assurance training is all about. Each standalone session will result in certification for attendees.

Jeff Robe 

Program Coordinator, Oklahoma Quality Beef Network, Oklahoma State University


2020 presentation:

Capturing more value with branded beef programs in a post-COVID market


Ty Lawrence

Professor of Animal Science, Director of Beef Carcass Research Center, West Texas A&M University


2020 presentation:

Beef grading demonstration

SUMMARY: This refresher course will remind cattlemen of the basics of beef grading, but also teach some of the new developments in beef grading that set the value for their products.