Almost overnight, the ethanol juggernaut has reworked the U.S. agricultural landscape. Driven by ever-increasing, government-mandated production levels, almost 5 billion gals. of ethanol were produced in 2006, and Congress this fall will consider a Renewable Fuels Standard that could require as much as 36 billion gals. of renewable fuels be produced in the U.S. by 2012.

It's been a boon to struggling rural communities, but U.S. livestock producers, traditionally in lockstep with crop farmers, are torn. Cattlemen who stand to benefit from the growth of the biofuels industry — either as grain producers, investors, or because of their proximity to the abundance of cost-effective co-product feeds — generally are in favor. Meanwhile, those farther from the production plants, or without easy access to the co-products and facing the prospect of inflated feed-grain prices, are opposed.

Regardless of your personal view of biofuels, they appear to be a fixture on the landscape of U.S. livestock production for the foreseeable future. Now the industry is wrestling with what the phenomenon means, not only to the future of the U.S. livestock industry but the application and management of its feed co-products.

That's the basis of the 2007 BEEF Quality Summit planned for Nov. 7-8 in Omaha, NE. Set for the Holiday Inn City Centre, the two-day conference is themed “Beef Quality In The Ethanol Era” and is designed to provide attendees with the background, knowledge and tools to garner more value from their cattle in this new ethanol-driven paradigm.

Throughout the meeting, there will be ample opportunity to network with experts and other producers to discuss increasing cattle value.

The meeting kicks off Nov. 7 with a keynote panel discussion on the topic “Are we filling the demand for quality beef today?” The panel features top U.S. meat executives and researchers. Included are:

  • Jim Cannon, vice president of culinary and purchasing, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

  • Larry Corah, vice president, Certified Angus Beef® LLC.

  • Angelo Fili, executive vice president, Greater Omaha Packing Co.

  • Jeff Savell, Texas A&M University meats scientist.

Over the next two days, a list of presenters representing the industry's top producers, marketers, researchers and academics will delve into the topics of:

  • The ethanol effect on beef quality.

  • The ethanol effect on the beef industry.

  • The ethanol effect on your operation How will you survive and thrive?

A new feature of this year's BEEF Quality Summit is a one-on-one opportunity for attendees to meet with representatives of various value-based marketing alliances in attendance. While another special feature is the introduction of this year's BEEF Trailblazer Award winner, along with the winner of this year's National Beef Stocker Award.

At $150/person, which includes the two-day conference, one breakfast, two lunches, an evening reception and a dinner, it's an educational event not to be missed by any cattleman concerned about his operation's future. Check out the agenda or register at: www.beefconference.com. Or call 800-722-5334, Ext. 14710.