Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit will have pasture-to-plate focus |

Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit will have pasture-to-plate focus

Beef enthusiasts ages 15 to 20 are invited to the Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit hosted by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) Oct. 20-22 at the Comfort Inn in Bismarck, N.D. The Summit is a high-energy leadership development and career exploration event for students interested in agriculture and in developing skills and making connections to propel them on their educational and career journeys.

“We are looking forward to hosting the second-ever Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit,” said NDSA Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson. “The beef industry will need strong, effective leaders to address the challenges and to embrace the opportunities it faces in the future, and this power-packed conference is designed to give young people the tools and the network they need to be prepared.”

Dr. Gary Sides, a Sterling, Colo., beef and feedlot nutritionist, will kick off the Summit on Thursday, Oct. 20, with, “Defending our Turf: Modern Ag in a Facebook Culture.” He will discuss current beef industry trends and offer ideas about ways young people can advocate for the industry.

Holly Hoffman, a South Dakota cattlewoman and the last woman standing on Season 21 of CBS’ hit reality show “Survivor Nicaragua,” will follow, detailing how positivity, determination and confidence pays off in overcoming the challenges life throws you, whether you are stranded on an island or in everyday life.

Thursday will also include a Beef Leader Career Panel, where panelists Kaitlyn Kline of Minot, N.D., Matt Kline of Hurdsfield, N.D., and David Spickler of Bismarck, N.D., will offer insight into their beef-related occupations in ag policy, cow-calf and seedstock production and commodity brokerage and offer advice to prepare students for college and careers. Interactive leadership development games led by U.S. Army officials will capstone the night.

On Friday, Oct. 21, Bismarck State College Agriculture, Technology, Food and Natural Resources Department Chair Carmel Miller will provide an ag employment outlook and Price, N.D., cattleman and feeder Bill Price will talk about entrepreneurship and how thinking outside the box helped his family expand their business around the world and become global industry leaders.

Later, the group will embark on a day of beef sector tours. The first stop will be 40 Steak and Seafood, a high-end steak and seafood restaurant recently voted North Dakota’s best steakhouse by MSN. Owner Dale Zimmerman will explain foodservice’s role in the beef industry and give students a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen and the restaurant’s unique dry age room.

It’ll be off to the North Dakota state capitol next, where the group will make agency visits, including one to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, where students will meet Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring and learn about the role of the Department.

After lunch and a tour of the newly renovated North Dakota Heritage Center, the group will head to Heim Cattle Company, where owner Alan Heim will showcase his family’s 999-head custom backgrounding and heifer development feedlot and explain the opportunities and challenges of the feeding sector.

The tour will continue with an inside look at the retail side of the beef business with a visit to the meat department of a local grocery store and then a presentation and hands-on demonstration by Nancy Jo Bateman, North Dakota Beef Commission executive director, who will highlight some of the checkoff-funded promotion, research and education programs.

Supper will be followed by a night of fun at Trapped in Bismarck, where students will test their communication and problem-solving skills as they play the team-building, brain-busting escape game, and then the NDSA headquarters for a tour and ice cream social.

Monango, N.D., cattle rancher and Wag’n Tales blogger Val Wagner will jumpstart the morning on Saturday, Oct. 22, with tips on agricultural advocacy, and Gackle, N.D., cow-calf producer and feeder and NDSA officer Warren Zenker will follow, explaining ways young people can get involved in the NDSA and help set the direction of the grassroots organization.

Bob Upgren, an expert in creativity and innovation in education and business, will close out the conference with his inspirational talk, “Seven Habits of Highly Successful Youth Leaders.” Upgren has spoken and consulted for many prominent organizations, including Disney, GM, Microsoft, the National Basketball Association, Verizon Wireless, the Make a Wish Foundation and Sharp Electronics, to name a few.

Registration forms are now available at or by calling (701) 223-2522. The cost to attend is $150 for NDSA student members or $170 for non-members. The registration fee includes lodging, meals, snacks, programming and transportation during the conference. The registration deadline is Oct. 1. On-site registration will not be accepted.

–North Dakota Stockmen’s Association

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