Beef Cattle Conference


A small county in the tallgrass country of the Texas Panhandle is having an outsize impact on ranching in the Lone Star State and across the Southwest.

It is home of the Texas A&M AgriLife Hemphill County Beef Cattle Conference which grew from humble beginnings eight years ago to a major draw that has gained a Texas-sized reputation as a serious meeting for serious beef cattle producers across the nation.

Born from the vision of Hemphill County AgriLife Extension Agent Andy Holloway and his hard-working ag committee of 15 local ranchers and businessmen, it has earned full commitment from the small-town folks of Canadian, Texas. This year’s conference will be held April 25-26 and the theme is “It’s All About the Numbers.”

“We have a drought that’s raging. We have sky-high input costs because of inflation. On top of that, for people who have to sell down or sell out because of drought, they’re wondering how they can get back in the business when costs are so high,” Holloway says. “These are critical issues we’ll be addressing and it’s all about the numbers.”

A complete line-up of conference speakers can be found at

Donnell Brown, owner of R.A. Brown Ranch in Throckmorton and a TSCRA director, will moderate this unique conference which he says is “one of the best in the country. I like how it does more than analyze critical Issues. It provides solutions.”

“Andy’s experience of real-world ranching and as an AgriLife Extension Agent combined with a motivated group of county volunteers, is what makes the Hemphill County beef cattle conference an oasis in the desert,” Brown says. “They assemble amazing, all-star speakers every year.”

“Field of Dreams” story

Holloway’s vision of a beef cattle conference was formed from hard knocks suffered and lessons learned from years as a cattle marketer and rancher.

He marketed purebred Angus, Brangus, and commercial replacement cattle for 35 years and started a registered Angus herd in 2003 which grew to 500 head.

“Unfortunately, in 2011-2012, we lost our cowherd due to the drought and a lot of bad business decisions,” he says.

Looking for a place to land, he hired on as Hemphill County AgriLife Extension agent in 2013. He found a real hunger from local ranchers for information that could have a real impact on their bottom lines.

“When I came here, part of my dream and vision was to share things with people I’ve been through myself, to help them to not make all the mistakes and suffer the heartache that I had,” Holloway says.

A cutting-edge beef conference is the result of Holloway’s personal “Field of Dreams.”

He built it. And they came.

A nice crowd of 85 attended the first one in 2015, quite an achievement considering he charged $100 to attend—something unheard of for a small beef conference.

Fast forward to 2021 and 2022. Some 600-800 people came from 11 states and 53 Texas counties. The trade show, started the second year with 16 vendors, grew to 85 vendors last year.

Holloway says three components are key to the conference success.

Outstanding presentations on critical issues that impact ranchers’ livelihoods. “One thing I like about Andy’s conference, it’s a good mixture that applies to everyone, no matter if you’ve been ranching 100 years or you’ve done it for a year,” says TSCRA Director Jeff Mitchell, who runs a cow/calf operation near Lake Meredith. “It’s really relevant to the things we do in the Panhandle.”

A large trade show and the networking opportunities it offers. “Ranchers love talking to those trade show vendors and love talking to each other about what’s going on in their operations,” Holloway says.

Opportunities to socialize with a social hour, two lunches and a dinner featuring “the best beef meals money can buy,” Holloway says.

Local rancher Steve Rader adds another thing he looks forward to is the keynote speaker.

“We had former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last year,” Rader says. “I was totally impressed. He built up my hope for America.”

2023 Conference highlights

Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame will be this year’s keynoter and will bring an inspirational message about America and his personal faith.

The conference will offer 12 sessions on everything from cattle markets to weather conditions to the future of the cattle business, along with 85 trade show vendors, a social hour and three beef meals, including a prime rib dinner.

The cost is $150 per person. Spouse tickets are $125 if attending together. Register online and find more information at or by calling 806-323-9114.