The BEEF editorial staff likes to get together at least once each year for some strategizing, with some friendly competition usually thrown in. Over the years, the competitive aspect has ranged from the more cerebral contests of proofreading and punctuation rules, to suburban-style sports (bowling), to survivalist pursuits, such as paintball (I'm still carrying a few welts from that year.)

Last June, fishing was the fare, and Wes Ishmael, Clint Peck, Stephanie Veldman and myself took to the wide waters of the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin in search of the denizens of its depths. As the fishing luck (or so we thought) would have it, Stephanie ended up with the year's bragging rights by landing the biggest fish (a 21-in. small-mouth bass).

As the picture at right attests, however, Stephanie's success that day obviously wasn't a fluke. On a recent fishing trip with her dad, Rick, to Ear Falls, Ontario, she landed this 12-lb. lake trout. The photo now hangs prominently in her office next to that of the small-mouth, and her recent triumph over a 5-lb. large-mouth bass.

The men of the staff aren't sore losers or anything but this year we're contemplating alligator wrestling.

Profiting in the new beef value chain

Making the most of current and future industry trends to maximize profit on your calves is the focus of the 2006 BEEF Quality Summit, set for Nov. 14-15 at the Clarion Convention Center in Oklahoma City, OK. Presented by BEEF magazine, the Nov. 14 program will focus on new opportunities, while the Nov. 15 program will center on how attendees can link their production into the new beef value chain.

The conference is designed specifically for producers and is focused on practical, take-home information attendees can use to capitalize on opportunities made possible by the new beef value systems. Among the highlights of the meeting are presentations by officials from Wal-Mart Supercenters, McDonald's, Outback Steakhouse and Smithfield Beef Group; winning cow-calf marketing and management strategies; domestic and international opportunities; forming partnerships; and plenty of time to network with program providers.

To learn more, call 1-800/722-5334 or visit www.beefconference.com.