By: Betty Jo Gigot

Much to everyone’s delight, the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame has turned out to be a big deal. The annual event was held at the Westin DIA hotel in Denver last week. Now on their third hotel, the organizers will more than likely be looking for a larger venue next year after having to limit the number of banquet attendees. They will have to look long and hard for a better steak than the ones served at this year’s event or a more enthusiastic crowd honoring Dee Griffin, DVM, with the 2017 Industry Leadership Award, and inducting Jeff Biggert and Earl Brookover into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.

A highlight for me was Eulogio Dimas of Southwest Feeders near Hayes Center, Neb., receiving the 2017 Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award. Dimas has been a part of the cattle-feeding business for the past 38 years and is a treasured member of the Southwest Feeders team.

Finishing its ninth year, the Hall of Fame has become a must attend by an appreciative cattle community. Look for a complete photo chronical of the event in our next issue, as well as coverage of the Hereford, Texas Spicer Gripp celebration.

The 2017 Cattle Feeders Business Summit, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, was held in conjunction with the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame celebration. Always informational, my antenna certainly went up at the last presentation discussing how precision diagnostic tools have advanced the farming industry and how to apply some of the same techniques to cattle feeding. Years ago as a part of an Ag Innovators group, Dean and I saw the first of GPS technology being used to map and farm individual fields on farms across the country. At the time, much of the emphasis was on identifying soil types and adjusting seed rates, fertilizer, etc. to specific parts of a field and seemed to have very little practicality in the Kansas sandhills.

Believe it or not, the only GPS we had been exposed to at the time was while car shopping one day. We drove into the lot in our Caddy and walked over to a new BMW. The very young salesman came over to demo the car and, as we sat in the front seat, Dean commented about the screen on the dash. The salesman explained that it was called a GPS, and if you took a wrong turn a female voice would tell you. Dean explained that he had one of those, and the salesman, looking at our Caddy, said, “No sir, you don’t.”

He went through the entire spiel again and still was confused when Dean explained, “I have one of those. Her name is Betty Jo.”

The salesman was obviously not married.

As the technology advanced, every piece of equipment on the family farm was upgraded, and screens in the office now show every application in real time.

Needless to say, after seeing the animal health systems developed in the ‘80s becoming standard practice in yards, as well the other technological advancements in cattle feeding, I can hardly wait to see where the industry goes next in improving our ability to provide a healthy, tasty product, efficiently.

As usual, this issue of CALF News is chock full of information and excitement – in color. Beef Empire Days is reported on by one of our newest reporters. We welcome Aly McClure of Garden City, Kan., to our team. In the tradition of the family, oldest son Brad and his wife, Shawna, had a wonderful meal at the Buckhorn Exchange in Denver and reported about it in “Where’s The Exceptional Beef.” You will be sorry you missed the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Ball when you see the pictures, and news on the beef export market looks good. Enjoy the issue, have a good summer and look for us in the fall.