by Jackie Atkins, PhD | Hybrid event proved successful in Iowa |
Randie Culbertson, PhD
The 2021 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) symposium met for the summer conference in Iowa at the end of June. Iowa State University host group put together a thought-provoking symposium with meaty talks covering beef on dairy implications, understanding consumer trends, gene editing and other precision technologies; and breakout sessions highlighting genomics and genetic predictions, producer applications, efficiency and adaptability, emerging technology, end-product improvement, and selection indexes. The 2021 BIF Symposium was the first hybrid model, with nearly 400 people present in person and an additional 100 tuning in virtually. The BIF communication group did a great job juggling the complications of their first hybrid meeting.
Joe Mushrush, BIF retiring president, gave a powerful talk on the meaning behind BIF and what we all have in common. Mushrush explained the interesting connection in BIF with competitors coming together and collaborating for the advancement of the beef cattle industry. BIF stakeholders predominantly fit one of three profiles: 1) beef cattle producers (seedstock and commercial), 2) industry organizations (state associations, breed associations, and businesses in the beef industry), and 3) researchers (universities and research agency personnel). People from each of these sectors come to BIF and find ways to help each other and the greater beef community continues to improve. Mushrush highlighted the business term “coopetition,” which means collaboration between business competitors for mutually beneficial results.
A particular highlight for ASA was the presentation of this year’s Seedstock Producer of the Year. There were many high-level seedstock producers nominated, including Loving Farms, a shorthorn breeder in Pawnee, KS; Nextgen Cattle Company, a Charolais and Beefmaster herd in Paxico, KS; and Woodhill Farms, an Angus breeder in Viroqua, WI. The Seedstock Producer of the Year went to Cow Camp Ranch and the Brunner family based in the Flint Hills of western Kansas. Kent and Jane Brunner were there to receive the award. Cow Camp has been exemplary Simmental and SimAngus breeders focused on data collection from birth through harvest, and adding thorough genotyping in more recent years. This is a well-deserved award. Congratulations, Brunner family!
International Genetic Solutions (IGS) was showcased throughout the week as well, with a successful IGS social Tuesday evening, several staff and breeders from breed organizations in IGS mingling in the halls, and Dr. Randie Culbertson, IGS’s Lead Geneticist spoke in the Emerging Technology breakout session Thursday afternoon. Culbertson’s talk addressed how the IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation is capable of doing genetic evaluation with multiple breeds at one time, accounting for breed effects and adjusting for heterosis to allow all to be on one directly comparable base. Culbertson explained how the single genetic evaluation for all the breeds was beneficial in adding more data (and thus more accurate predictions) to one evaluation than any single breed organization would have on their own. For example, the Red Angus Association of America tripled the progeny records on their sires who had calves in other breed association databases.
Matt Perrier will serve as the 2021–22 BIF president and lead the board through a strategic planning session and symposium held in Las Cruces, NM, next June. BIF in New Mexico should be an interesting location with very different production challenges than those in Iowa. Hope you can join us next year in NM!
(Photo: Simmental and SimAngus producers John Irvine (left), Kent Brunner, and Willie Altenberg catching up in the hall).
Left: ASA staff member and BIF Board Member, Jackie Atkins, visits with Sarah Jones of Red Hill Farms, and ASA staffer, Lane Giess.
Right: BIF Symposium welcomed 400 in-person attendees and nearly 100 virtual attendees in the first hybrid event.
- Created: 29 June 2021
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