Traveling is more difficult, early fall in a drought year for cattle producers is a busy time and employees are harder to find than ever before. These factors and many others still didn’t deter more than 100 members of the beef cattle community from gathering in the Fort Worth Stockyard in early September for the NEOGEN Igenity® Symposium. This group of industry leaders were focused on the future of beef production during the annual event hosted by NEOGEN.
Topics highlighted during the two-day event included herd improvement tools, precision technology, consumer demands and the use of blockchain in the beef industry.
Adoption of technology at any stage of production can be intimidating. More importantly, it can be difficult to go through the process of putting the technology into action in an operation. The main goal of NEOGEN’s Igenity Symposium is to bring new technology for the beef industry to the forefront, and to increase comfort for producers in use and adoption of new or evolving technologies.
The 2021 Igenity Symposium focused on providing beef producers access to leaders in precision technology and the connection to sustainability within the industry. Dr. Michael Langemeier of Purdue University described the evolution of precision technologies in agriculture and what producers can do today to equip their operations for the next phase of advancement.
Consumers have increasingly been showing interest in knowing more about where their food comes from. During the symposium, members of a sustainability panel highlighted how technology and innovation are driving the future of their operations and how consumers are relating to their stories. This panel also hosted discussion with the attendees about the needs of the industry, leadership and involvement, as well as next steps in communicating with consumers on the health, safety, and value of beef in the global food system.
“Producers need to be using these new technologies; Igenity Beef is one that will be leading the future for the beef industry,” said Bryan Palm, owner and manager of Two Bar Ranch of Mitchell, Neb. “Igenity Beef and genomic testing is like GPS in tractors 15 years ago;we all thought it was a neat concept but hesitant to adopt. And today, we don’t farm or ranch without it. Genomic testing is going to be one of the drivers for the future of the beef industry.”
The event concluded with a segment led by Alan Kartchner of Missouri Prime Beef and Lamar Steiger of Walmart, wherein data management and the use of blockchain were discussed. In the cattle business, each member of the production system has collected data, but what can we do with that data as an industry? The final discussion described the opportunities ahead with the use of data management platforms and blockchain. These systems will allow for producers and consumers to interact in ways we have yet to experience.
No matter the circumstances, the dedication of those in the beef industry to continue to innovate and explore new opportunities will be a foundational component of the people who comprise this community. NEOGEN is excited to continue to develop this symposium and to provide producers with new technology and opportunities to discuss implementation with innovative cattlemen and women.