Many cattle producers have experienced record returns on their calves the past year, but even times of high profitability demand a search for  opportunities to enhance the management of a beef operation. Several of these opportunities will be discussed at the upcoming K-State Beef Conference, hosted Aug. 11 and 13 at various locations across Kansas.

“The idea of continuous improvement is an important management principle beef producers should employ, even when the cow-calf sector is profitable,” said Bob Weaber, cow-calf specialist for K-State Research and Extension and one of the conference presenters. “Profitable times are good ones for managers to evaluate their operation and deploy new profit-improving practices, recognizing at some point ahead we’ll experience leaner times.”

The goal of the conference is for extension professionals and industry thought leaders to have a conversation with profit-minded cattle producers about different timely and economically impactful production and management topics. This year’s focus is “Improved Management, Improved Nutrition, Improved Profit.”

Rancher and author Rich Porter of Reading, Kansas, will provide the keynote address. Porter will discuss building successful personal and professional relationships. He has operated a cattle ranch in Kansas for a third of a century. The ranch has expanded to include about 6,000 head of cattle and 2,800 acres of corn and soybeans.

Porter has degrees in chemical engineering, law and a master’s of agribusiness. His  background includes a clerkship with the Environmental Protection Agency enforcement division, work for Bethlehem Steel in pollution control and being a part-time flight instructor. He was named BEEF magazine’s 2010 National Stocker Award winner, 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner from the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award winner from the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics.

Joining Porter at this year’s conference meetings will be speakers from K-State Research and Extension, including Justin Waggoner, beef systems specialist, and Chris Reinhardt, feedlot specialist. Waggoner will discuss low-stress cattle handling principles and techniques through the development of enhanced stockmanship skills. Reinhardt will address the benefits of a year-round mineral supplementation strategy. He will cover motivations for supplementation, practical feeding advice and cost containment methods.

The conference speakers will be followed by a “town hall” style question-and-answer session. Attendees are encouraged to bring their questions and pose them to the expert panel of speakers and extension specialists.

Hosting locations by date include:

Aug. 11: Melvern Community Center, Melvern, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  

Aug. 11: 4-H Center, Pratt County Fairgrounds, Pratt, 5 – 9 p.m.

Aug. 13: American Ag Credit, Salina, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Aug. 13: Nemaha County Community Building, Seneca, 5 – 9 p.m.

Registration fees and payment forms vary by site, and registrations should be completed with the hosting county or district office by Aug. 5 for the Aug. 11 meetings and by Aug. 7 for the Aug. 13 meetings. A meal is included in the registration fee.

For more information, visit Upcoming Beef Events and look for K-State Beef Conference.