Driftless Region Beef Conference

Driftless Beef Conference

Driftless Region Beef Conference set for Jan. 26-27

Learn best practices for surviving beef market volatility 

With nearly 2.5 million cattle in three Midwest states, university extension services in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin are teaming together to offer the Driftless Region Beef Conference. The eleventh annual event will be held Jan. 26-27, at the Grand River Convention Center in Dubuque.

The cattle business has been challenging in the last year with drought in some areas, excess rain in others, increasing hay prices and skyrocketing grain prices. Cow sales are up and heifers retained for the breeding herd are down. Fed cattle prices are at or near all-time highs, but so are input costs. The volatility of the cattle industry is a concern for all producers. The 2023 conference will focus on practices to survive the market volatility into the future.


Sarah Sellars from the University of Illinois will kick off the conference Jan. 26 at 1 p.m., with a general ag outlook and a review of which carbon credits may benefit cattle producers. Lillie Beringer from Cascade and Jack Smith from Epworth will share what they are doing to add economic stability to their business. Dan Thomson, professor in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University, will discuss the impact of cattle handling on performance and new regulations on animal health products, and Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State, will discuss feeding options with high feed prices.

Following dinner is the “Bull Pen” producer panel. On Friday morning, state beef council representatives will discuss research funding, and there will be eight breakout sessions for feedlot operations and cow-calf producers, as well as a market outlook from Derrell Peel, of Oklahoma State University.

Breakout speakers are Loy and Denise Schwab, Iowa State University; Bill Halfman and Dorte Dopfer, University of Wisconsin; Travis Meteer, Dan Shike and Josh McCann, University of Illinois; Zach Smith, South Dakota State University; and Colby Redifer and Jordan Thomas, from the University of Missouri.

The early registration fee of $85 per person must be received prior to midnight, Jan. 13. After that date, it increases to $115.  

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