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The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) will conduct its 2011 annual meeting and research symposium June 1-4 in Bozeman, Mont. Approximately 600 cattlemen and allied industry representatives are expected to attend the event, says Joe Cassady, associate professor at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and BIF executive director. Seedstock and commercial cow-calf producers, university specialists and breed association leaders will gather to explore innovative technologies and management practices to improve beef production for the benefit of seedstock and commercial producers.

BIF President Ben Eggers, Sydenstricker Genetics, Mexico, Mo., encourages producers to attend this year's meeting to participate in discussion of accurate measurement and prediction of genetic traits, environmental effects, genetic effects on animal health, and tying it all to profitability.

"I've heard it many times from seedstock producers," says Eggers, "If I were only going to attend one meeting a year, BIF would be the one."

"I attend BIF every year because it gives me the opportunity to learn the newest and latest about genetic selection tools," agrees Troy Marshall, Marshall Cattle Co. of Burlington, Colo. "Just as importantly, it gives us a chance to network with the most progressive seedstock producers in the country. I always learn more at BIF than at any meeting I attend."

This year's program

The schedule kicks off with an opening reception Wednesday evening, June 1, at 5 p.m., followed by a symposium hosted by the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB). The symposium focus will be genetic improvement from artificial insemination (AI) and synchronization.

The theme for Thursday morning's general session, chaired by Montana State University (MSU) Dean of Agriculture Jeff Jacobsen, is the "Role of Genetic Evaluation Technology in Enhancing Global Competitiveness." Scott Newman of Genus, Robert Williams of the American International Charolais Association (AICA) and Willie Altenberg of Genex will be the featured speakers.

Thursday's General Session II, chaired by Mark Jutila of MSU's Veterinary Molecular Biology Department, will feature "Genetics in Improving Animal Health." Speakers will include Michael Gonda of South Dakota State University and Erika Downey of Iowa State University.

The awards luncheon Thursday will honor Commercial Producer of the Year nominees, Frank Baker and Roy Wallace scholarship winners, and Ambassador and Continuing Service Award winners, as well as recognition of graduate fellowship recipients.

Three of BIF's standing committees will host technical sessions Thursday afternoon - Cow Herd Efficiency (Mark Enns, Colorado State University, chairman); Live Animal, Carcass and End Point (Robert Williams, AICA, chairman); and Producer Applications (Jane Parish, Mississippi State University, chairman).

After a welcome by MSU President Cruzado, Friday's agenda begins with General Session III, "New Traits in National Cattle Evaluation," chaired by Kathy Creighton-Smith of the Montana Angus Association. Speakers will include Steve Moore of the University of Alberta, Christian Maltecca of NCSU, and Alison Van Eenennaam of the University of California-Davis.

General Session IV is headlined "A Toolbox Full of Genetic Prediction Tools - Is Profit In There, Too?" It will feature a panel of industry representatives and cattlemen moderated by Dan Moser of Kansas State University. Confirmed panelists include Lauren Hyde of the American Simmental Association and Steve Radakovich of Radakovich Cattle Co., Earlham, Iowa.

Friday's award luncheon will feature Seedstock Producer of the Year nominees, Pioneer Award winners, the President's address, recognition of international guests and an invitation to the 2012 BIF conference.

Technical sessions hosted by the Genetic Prediction Committee (Mark Thallman, USDA-ARS, chairman); Emerging Technologies Committee (Jack Ward, American Hereford Association, chairman); and Selection Decisions Committee (Bob Weaber, University of Missouri, chairman) will conclude the technical program Friday afternoon.

Two tours are being planned for Saturday, June 4.

For more information about the BIF organization, visit www.beefimprovement.org or contact Joe Cassady, executive director, Dept. of Animal Science, North Carolina State University, Box 7621, Raleigh, NC 27695-7621; 919-513-0262.

— by Shauna Rose Hermel


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