2024 Speakers


Dr. Randie Culbertson

Originally from New Mexico, Randie Culbertson spent her childhood on the family's cattle ranch located in Norther New Mexico. She later attended New Mexico State University where she obtained a B. S. in Animal Science. After completing her degree at NMSU, she moved to Colorado where she worked in the equine industry for a little over 10 years. In 2011, she pursued her graduate degrees at Colorado State University where she earned her M. S. and Ph. D. in Animal Breeding and Genetics. While pursuing her graduate degrees, Randie's research interests focused on addressing questions facing the beef industry. Her doctoral research focused on feed intake in beef cattle and specifically the implementation for genetic improvement. The last 9 months at CSU, Randie managed and coordinated a USDA grant project examining late feedlot death in cattle. This project examined the effects of pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) on the performance and survivability of fed steers and begins to answer some questions about this growing concern. Upon completing her Ph. D. in 2019, she accepted a position as lead geneticist with the American Simmental Association and International Genetic Solutions (IGS) where she worked on challenges to conducting the largest multi-breed genetic evaluation for beef cattle and was involved in the development and validation of new EPDs. Last November, Randie joined the faculty at Iowa State University as the Cow-Calf Extension Specialist.


Jesse Steffensmeier

Jesse grew up on a family farm in Southeast Iowa where he now operates J & L Farms with his wife Leah and their three children - Henry, Lucy, & Lizzy. He attended Kirkwood Community College where he obtained an Associate’s Degree in Animal Production. After Kirkwood, he returned home to work with his father on the farm.  After a year, he decided to go back to college and got a degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Athletic Training.  As the saying goes, you can remove the boy from the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy. After 4 years of working in Athletic Training and medical implant industry, Jesse came back to the farm.  He now runs a commercial cow/calf herd using purebred Akaushi bulls along with a bull lease/purchase buyback program, and a feed yard feeding F1 Akaushi/Wagyu cattle. The fat cattle he raises and feeds are marketed across the country and exported all over the world. Jesse will discuss the benefits of using Akaushi bulls on your commercial cow herd: calving ease, health, and vigor of the calves and buyback program. Learn how stepping outside of the norm and working with J & L Farms can increase your bottom line.


Brian McCulloh

Brian McCulloh was born and raised at DeWitt IA on a diversified family farm. He graduated from Iowa State in 1981 with a degree in Animal Science. Brian has been managing partner of Woodhill Farms Viroqua WI for the last 40 years. Woodhill sells 160 Angus bulls a year and runs 285 registered cows in southwest WI.

Brian has served from 1996-2002 as a director on the American Angus Association Board as well as the Certified Angus Beef Board of Directors. He is past president of the Beef Improvement Federation and has judged numerous Angus shows both nationally and internationally.


Dr. Shelby Gruss

Dr. Gruss is an Assistant Professor in Forage Extension at Iowa State University. Her roots in agriculture trace back to a small farm in Northern Indiana, sparking a lifelong interest with agricultural production. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Illinois and completed her Ph. D. at Purdue University. Her research focuses on optimizing forage based systems through innovative strategies, striving to enhance the sustainability and productivity of forage-livestock systems.


Dr. Jason Nickell

Dr. Jason Nickell received the DVM degree in 2003 from the University of Missouri.  After four years of mixed animal practice, Dr. Nickell attained a PhD in Epidemiology at Kansas State University in 2010.  Dr. Nickell serves as Director of Insights and Outcomes for Merck Animal Health.  Dr. Nickell is a Diplomate of the ACVPM and member of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.


Garland Dahlke

Garland Dahlke, Research Scientist III has been employed with the Iowa Beef Center of Iowa State University since 2003 and occupies his day with software support and development, ruminant nutrition and production consultation, troubleshooting nutrition issues with cattle, and small ruminants and an occasional research project.  Garland’s education, apart from lessons learned in the school of hard knocks include a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin River Falls (Animal Science and Agronomy), a Master’s degree in Animal Production from Iowa State University and a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition from Iowa State University.  Prior to the ISU Beef Center tour, Garland had been involved in his family’s farm in central Wisconsin and worked in the feed industry with Tomorrow Valley Cooperative in East-Central Wisconsin.


Patrick Wall

Patrick Wall has worked in many facets of the seedstock industry, being previously employed by the American Shorthorn Association as the Director of Breed Improvement. He also was Director of Communications for The National CUP lab in Ames, Iowa. His current role is a Beef Specialist for Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Patrick, his wife Amanda, and their two children reside on her family’s original farming operation near Pleasantville, Iowa. They raise purebred Hereford cattle, hosting a modest online production sale every fall. Wall has his B.S. and M.S. from Iowa State as well as his A.S. from Black Hawk East. He was a competitive livestock judge at both schools, being named to the All-American Livestock Judging Team in 2001.

Wall also serves as the Executive Director of the Ultrasound Guidelines Council (UGC), a seat he has held since 2017. The UGC Board is comprised of breed association representatives, industry professionals, lab personnel, and a field technician. They set and enforce the standards for all ultrasound images collected, and all data sent into genetic evaluations for generating carcass EPDs. During his tenure, Wall has revitalized carcass data collection behind all the ultrasound equipment currently being used in the industry. More recently, he has set his sights on improving carcass ultrasound accuracy for both heavily ear-influenced breeds and extremely high marbling cattle.