More than 300 people from across the United States and Canada converged in Illinois for the 2007 National Angus Conference and Tour, August 29-31. Warm fall days filled with Angus fellowship and food were highlights of the “Heartland Homecoming” that headquartered in Peoria, Ill. Purina Mills and Alpharma Animal Health were major partners with the American Angus AssociationSM in bringing the event to the Heartland. The Illinois Angus Association hosted the tour that showcased Angus herds from throughout the state.
“We are trying to build a long term relationship within the industry and with U.S. beef producers,” says Rod Nulik, marketing manager for Purina Mills. He said that Purina is proud to sponsor beef industry events such as the National Angus Conference and Tour, as well as continue its relationship with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
The annual conference began the three-day event and featured some top industry experts. A theme of efficiency—from reproductive to feed efficiency— flowed through out the presentations. Bill Beal, Virginia Tech professor of animal science, called on audience participation to demonstrate the estrous cycle and spoke about the economic importance of getting the cow herd bred. American Angus Association staff Bill Bowman and Sally Northcutt discussed current Association reproductive studies.
Jerry Cassady, Association regional manager, covered the topic of customer service, stressing the importance of providing service after the sale. Doug Parrett, University of Illinois, provided insight on efficiencies for cow-calf producers. Other University of Illinois professors, Larry Berger and Tom Carr, spoke about feed efficiency and carcass grading, respectively. Mark Polzer, Certified Angus Beef, highlighted the need to supply the brand.
A stop at Weaver Angus Farm, Peoria, kicked off the tour following the conference. The tour continued on Thursday, Aug. 30. Tour goers had an option of several agricultural related stops in the morning; and chose from stops at Kickapoo Creek Winery; Caterpillar and Keystone Steel and Wire; or the Caterpillar World Parts & Logistics headquarters. A noon-time stop at the Woodford County Fairgrounds in Eureka, featured representation from nearly 30 Angus herds as producers brought their bulls and females to the fairgrounds at a stop that also featured history from the Central Illinois Angus Association.
Thursday afternoon, six buses traveled north to Cordova where Werner Angus hosted an evening event. The day concluded with cattle displays, dinner, a race car simulator, magicians and artists entertaining the crowd.
On Friday morning, the tour began at Dameron Angus Farm, Lexington. The crowd was treated to a breakfast of Certified
Angus Beef ® steak breakfast burritos, and CAB chef Scott Popovic conducted a cooking demonstration while others looked at cattle on display. A noon stop at Prairie View Farm, Gridley, featured cattle displays and the PVF Diner, a tent featuring the Route 66 theme with antique cars on display.
The tour concluded at Sauk Valley Angus, Rock Falls. Display cattle and farming equipment, along with a relaxing dinner and music capped off the tour.
The National Angus Conference & Tour is planned annually and organized by the American Angus Association. The 2008 event is set for early October and will headquarter in Oklahoma City, Okla. For highlights of this year's event, visit www.national angusconference.com.