January 11-12, 2023


January 11th - Tours and Opening Reception at CSU Spur Denver

8:00am-9:00am: Registration and Check-In (Terra Building Atrium at the CSU Spur Campus 4817 National Western Drive Denver, CO 80216)

9:00am-4:00pm: Tours in Northern Colorado (Participants will select on tour, box lunch provided upon departure)

Tour 1

International / National Beef Processing

Beef Feed yard

Food Manufacturer

National Retailer Distribution Facility 

Tour 2

USDA Certified Processor with in state distribution 

Beef Feed yard

Regional Retailer

Food Manufacturer

Tour 3

Custom Exempt Processor


Single location retailer

Online direct to consumer distribution site

Tour 4


Walking tour of the National Western Complex and CSU Spur Campus

4:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Reception and Dinner at Terra Building at the CSU Spur Campus at the National Western Center ( If you are in need of transportation from the Opening Reception to Fort Collins, a bus will depart from the Spur Campus for the Fort Collins Hilton hotel at 6:30pm. Seats are limited, so please sign up here in advance.)

8:00 pm: ILF FELLOWS ONLY: NWSS Rodeo (bus to Fort Collins Hilton following conclusion of rodeo)

January 12th - Technical Program at CSU Fort Collins Campus

7:30am: Registration, breakfast and coffee (Behavioral Sciences Building, Room 131)

8:00am: Welcome

8:30am: Meat Industry Updates – Randy Blach, CattleFax

9:30am: International Markets: Challenges and Opportunities –  Erin Borror, US Meat Export Federation

10:30am: Break

11:00am: The Global Significance of a Sustainable Livestock Industry – Dr. Sara Place, Colorado State University AgNext 

12:00pm: Lunch in the JBS Global Food Innovation Center

1:00-4:10pm: Concurrent Breakout Sessions4

Session 1 | 1 - 1:55

Concurrent Sessions

Thinking outside of the middle: Maximizing carcass value using non-middle meats

Kelcey Christensen (307 Meat Company) and Jordan Hinton, SALT Craft Meat Market

Animal Handling and Welfare

Temple Grandin (College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University)

Planning for the future: Resiliency and succession planning for meat businesses

Heidi Crippen (Crippen’s Processing), Holly Zink (Sunnyside Meats and Sunnyside Farms Market), Angie Satterwhite (former Brother’s Custom Processing)

Understanding meat processing options

Julie Mizak (Colorado Department of Agriculture) and Justin Latham (Wyoming Department of Agriculture)

The people problem: Addressing the workforce challenge

Bob Delmore (Colorado State University) and Mark Gallegos (Colorado Department of Agriculture)

Session 2 | 2:05 - 3:00

Concurrent Sessions


Meat quality and yields: Liabilities and Opportunities

Jeff Smith, Colorado Craft Beef and Cody Heimke, Niman Ranch

Federal support for meat supply chain expansion and diversification

International markets: What’s on the horizon

Dan Halstrom (US Meat Export Federation)

Exploring new markets: Online and direct to consumer

Tommy Casados (C4 Farms), Michele Meyer (Community Ag Alliance), Matt LeRoux (Cornell University)

Session 3 | 3:10 - 4:10

Concurrent Sessions

Updates in Biosecurity: HPAI and Preparing for What’s Next

Dr. Maggie Baldwin (Colorado Department of Agriculture)

Navigating building a new facility: Case studies from planning to implementation

Chris Roper (Flower Hill Institute)

Certification programs, labeling, and marketing

Dr. John Scanga, Eurofins

Emerging trends in intermediated meat markets

Beth La Shell (Ft. Lewis College), Kathryn Quanbeck (Force of Nature), Pam Fruh (Montana Farm to School)

4:15-5:30pm: Curbside consulting. Meet with technical assistance providers to get answers to your specific questions regarding grants, regulations, environmental health, and labeling.

4:30pm: Networking Happy Hour: Colorado Craft Beer

4:45: Closing Comments in the Atrium of the GFIC

Bringing Policy Down to Earth

World Café: Open forum to identify, discuss and advance key issues and opportunities

Key Factors in Food and Agriculture

Localized solutions to Global Issue: A case study of the San Luis Valley

Next Generation of Food and Agriculture

Voices from the future: Creating a youth-lead vision for Colorado Food Systems

Putting our money where our mouth is: Connecting Supply and Demand for CO ag and food systems

Value Chain Coordination: Growing markets from the ground up

A place for all at the table: New approaches to Nutrition Security

Apple in the Artists Eye: Creative appraoches to understanding our food system

Join us for Happy Hour! 

Thank you to our ILF Sponsors and Partners

Thank you to our Mountain Meat Sponsors and Partners

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number G325-21-W8612 through the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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