Registration is now open for the 2008 BEEF Quality Summit, BEEF magazine's third annual symposium on the beef quality topic. The theme of this year's event, set for Nov. 6-7 at the Antlers Hilton Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO, is “Quality — A Solution to Rising Costs.”

If you read BEEF editors' state-of-the-industry report in the June issue, you know that the months and years ahead will be challenging to say the least. Shrinking calf margins due to higher input costs, an overcapacity in the feeding and packing sectors, a languishing economy and flattening beef demand will force some tough decisions.

But within those changes lie opportunities in the realm of beef quality, and that is what the 2008 BEEF Quality Summit will address. Among the topics of discussion by leading figures in beef retail, academia, economics and production are:

  • The long-term effects of rising costs on industry profit and beef demand.

  • The retail perspective — balancing quality, price and consumer preference.

  • The producer perspective — managing costs, product quality and profit.

  • The global perspective — keeping U.S. beef competitive.

  • The 2008 election — what the results might mean for the beef industry.

The early-bird registration of $125 until Oct. 1 ($150 after that date) buys you an eight-hour conference program, 6.5 hours of trade show, a lunch, an evening reception and a breakfast.

Of the 500 total participants in our past two programs, 96% have indicated they would attend another event. And you can check out the flavor of the annual event by going to http://beefmagazine.com/beeftv/ for presentations of the 2007 event in Omaha, NE. Register at beefconference.com/.

I hope you can join us.

A new checkoff website

mybeefcheckoff.com is the name of a new producer communications online tool being rolled out by the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) in mid July. Part of the mandate of the CBB, which administers the national self-help program under the Beef Act and Order, is to keep stakeholders apprised of the hows, whys and wherefores of its management of the mandatory $1 beef checkoff.

Included will be repositories of information categorized by promotion, research, consumer information, industry information and foreign marketing. There will also be a CBB meeting blog, a listing of checkoff-related events, beef recipes and much more.

The idea is to focus on information of value to producers rather than the diversity provided by the current website www.beefboard.org.

Check it out in mid July.