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.


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?

Rick Pfortmiller

Beef Genomics Territory Manager, Neogen

Rick grew up on a livestock and grain farm in North Central Kansas, where he and his wife and daughters now live as the fourth and fifth generations on the land. They manage the family’s commercial cow-calf operation using Simmental x Red Angus genetics selected for low input environments.  They also produce milo and wheat and cover crops for extending the grazing season. Rick graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. degree in animal science and has an extensive background in genomic applications in the seedstock and commercial cattle sectors.

2020 presentation:

Genomics: The new frontier in the beef business

SUMMARY:  This session will provide some of the latest advancements and applications of genomics in the seedstock and commercial beef operations and how producers can jump on to this technology at an affordable and informative level.

Logan Hoffman

Beef Extension, Colorado State University 

Logan Hoffman currently works in Extension with Colorado State University leading a ranch analysis program called Total Ranch Analysis of Colorado. The program helps cattle producers sharpen their ranch management abilities through the lens of increasing profitability. Hoffman earned a bachelor’s in business administration from Simpson University in Redding, California, and a master’s in agricultural business from Kansas State University. His professional experience includes work in the cattle, grain, and lending industries as well as livestock and data analysis.

2020 presentation:

Record Keeping and Accounting for Better Ranch Management

SUMMARY: Historically, the level of net returns in the cow-calf business have been relatively low. Defining, evaluating, and utilizing key performance indicators is one way to help mitigate operation risks unique to a ranch. Managerial accounting, not tax accounting, is key to making more informed ranch management decisions. Let us show you how to create systems on your ranch that lead to better analysis.



Dr. Tera Rooney Barnhardt


Dr. Barnhardt grew up in Satanta, Kansas, on a farming and ranching operation. Her family instilled in her, at a young age, that work ethic and showing people you care will go a long way. Barnhardt earned her bachelor’s in animal sciences and industry at Kansas State University and concurrently worked on a master’s with the Beef Cattle Institute under Dr. Dan Thomson while getting her doctorate of veterinary medicine also at K-State. She currently resides and practices in southwest Kansas, based in Johnson. She and her husband own and operate Barnhardt Construction and they have their hearts and hands full with two young children, Archie and Jolee.

2020 presentation:

Protecting Our Social License to Operate: BQA Training

SUMMARY: Beef quality assurance training and certification that will help the cow-calf, stocker, grower, and feeder. This will be a comprehensive and dynamic talk given by a veterinarian who spends her days with boots on in the operations she serves.



Roger A. McEowen

Professor of Agricultural Law and Taxation, Washburn University School of Law  

Roger A. McEowen is a professor of agricultural law and taxation at Washburn University School of Law. McEowen also teaches an undergraduate course in agricultural law at Kansas State University. He is the author of “Principles of Agricultural Law,” an 850-page casebook that is updated twice annually, and a second 300-page book on agricultural law. In mid-2017, McEowen’s book, “Agricultural Law in a Nutshell,” was published by West Academic Publishing Co. McEowen conducts approximately 80 to 100 seminars annually across the United States for farmers, agricultural business professionals, lawyers, and other tax professionals. He also conducts two radio programs each airing twice-monthly across the Midwest and on the worldwide web. He also can be seen as a weekly guest on RFD-TV where he discusses various agricultural law and tax topics with the RFD-TV hosts.

2020 presentation:

Transitioning the Ranching Operation to the Next Generation

SUMMARY: Presently, the federal estate tax isn’t a concern for most ranching operations, but how to transition the business to the next generation is. This session looks at the essential keys to making an effective transition.


Ty Lawrence

Professor of Animal Science / West Texas A&M University

Ty E. Lawrence is a professor of animal science at West Texas A&M University. He was reared on a cow-calf operation near Dalhart, Texas, before pursuing his bachelor’s and master’s at West Texas A&M University, and his doctorate at Kansas State University. Lawrence spent two years with Smithfield in the position of research manager for pork harvest and processing facilities on the eastern seaboard before entering his academic career. In his current position at West Texas A&M University, he has taught over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 13 different animal, food and meat science courses. In addition, Lawrence is the director of the WTAMU-Beef Carcass Research Center, which annually evaluates more than 200,000 cattle for a variety of research projects. His research activities focus on improving the yield and quality of red meat products.

2020 presentation:

Beef Grading 101

SUMMARY: Overview of the fundamentals of beef quality and yield grading and the methods with which that is determined.

Dale Strickler

Green Cover Seed

Dale Strickler is the technical agronomist for Green Cover Seed, and author of the books “Managing Pasture” and “The Drought Resilient Farm.” Strickler is a leader in the soil health movement and has presented on grazing topics at High Plains Journal’s Soil Health U and Trade Show for several years. He is an agronomist for Green Cover Seed, a leading cover crop-specific seed company. Strickler holds bachelor’s and master’s in agronomy from Kansas State University and taught college for 15 years.

2020 presentation:

Maximizing Pasture Production and Profit

SUMMARY: This session will cover management methods that can dramatically increase the production of beef from grazing of native pasture, brome, fescue, and pastured cropland, including crop residue pastures and cover crops. These techniques will also focus on reducing the costs of stored feed.

Marketing Panel

Moderated by High Plains Journal Livestock Consultants, Jeff Nemecek, and Nick Wells

SUMMARY: Join High Plains Journal Livestock Marketing Consultants Jeff Nemecek and Nick Wells as they moderate this panel of livestock auctioneers from across the country. They’ll share their insights into how you can make your cattle stand out in the ring to buyers. There will be time for audience interaction, so bring your questions for the panelists.


Brian Bertelsen

U.S. Premium Beef

Brian Bertelsen is vice president of field operations for U.S. Premium Beef, a producer-owned beef processing company that is an owner of National Beef Packing Company, the nation’s fourth largest beef processor. Bertelsen provides technical service and education to producers regarding genetics, management, nutrition and carcass data of the cattle they deliver to further develop their beef production system. He holds degrees in animal science and ruminant nutrition from the University of Illinois. Previously, Bertelsen has worked as a cattle nutritionist in the feed industry and as a beef specialist with Cooperative Extension. 

2020 Presentation:

Adding Value to the Cattle You Produce

SUMMARY: Explore options for adding value to the cattle you produce such as feeder verification programs, branded beef programs and value based grids. We will discuss some of the basic requirements and things to consider before participating.