Grass-fed beef conference to teach producers how to capitalize on forage potential

Conference scheduled May 30-31 at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION – If recent rains continue to promote forage growth, beef cattle producers do have an option to consider with grass-fed beef production, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist.

Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist in Uvalde, said producers can learn about grass-fed beef production techniques at a conference scheduled May 30-31 at Texas A&M University in College Station. The conference will be held at both the Rosenthal Meat Science Building and the Louis Pearce Pavilion on the Texas A&M campus.

Dr. Davey Griffin, Texas AgriLife Extension Service meat specialist, discusses different cuts of beef at the 2011 grass-fed beef conference on the campus of Texas A&M University. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“Grass farmers across Texas have the opportunity to have a decent year with forage growth and may want to consider harvesting that forage with beef cattle,” Machen said. “Grass-fed beef production is an emerging trend, and we are finding a growing need to educate these producers on the finer points.”
Last year’s inaugural conference in College Station was attended by more than 60 beef producers, said Machen, conference coordinator.
“We are excited about the lineup of speakers we will have for this information-sharing opportunity,” he said.

The conference will cover a broad range of important topics pertaining to grass-fed beef production and is open to both beef producers and consumers.
The following topics will be discussed: overview of the beef industry; defining natural, grass-fed and organic beef; growing forage – the fundamentals; cattle types suited for grass-fed beef; forage-based nutrition for cattle; preventive herd health; handling cattle for wholesome beef; carcass fabrication; consumers and their expectations; marketing a unique product; and economics and sustainability.
“In addition to traditionally produced beef, products from natural, grass-fed and organic production systems are important contributors to the beef market. We welcome both the beef producer and interested consumers to attend this conference and learn more about this segment of the industry,” Machen said. “There will be several topics of interest to both audiences.”
As a highlight, this conference will feature carcass demonstrations, allowing producers to learn about fabrication methods and retail cuts, Machen said.

Cost is $250 through May 15 and $300 after. Three continuing education credits will be offered to Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicators holders.
To register online, visit https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/ and enter keyword “grassfed.”
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