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WSU launches new beef conference

Dan Wheat

Capital Press

A new conference intended to educate beef producers about various aspects of production and marketing is being offered in June by Washington State University.

YAKIMA, Wash. — The continuing trend of branded beef and cutting-edge science in genomics and nutrition will be highlighted at a new Washington State University Beef Production Conference.

The two-day conference is designed for all types of Pacific Northwest beef producers including large ranchers and small cow-calf operators, said Curtis Beus, WSU Extension director in Okanogan County and lead organizer of the event.

The conference will take place at State Fair Park in Yakima, June 13-14. For information and registration: www.beefconference.wsu.edu.

“Years ago, WSU use to put on Beef Information Day in Pullman but as faculty associated with that retired the event went away,” Beus said. “A number of us in extension felt we weren’t doing as much as we could be to serve the industry. So we came up with this with the primary goal of educational content for producers and those in the industry.”

The intent, he said, is for it to become an annual event.

It has the backing of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Cattle Producers of Washington and Washington Cattle Feeders Association, he said. It’s different from the annual conventions of those groups in that this is strictly educational and won’t go into policy and legislation, he said.

Three national beef industry leaders are keynote speakers:

• Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax, Englewood, Colo., a company aimed at helping producers make more profitable marketing and management decisions, will talk about global opportunities in the marketplace.

• Larry Corah, vice president of Certified Angus Beef, Wooster, Ohio, will talk about the future of the industry, particularly the continuing trend of beef sold under brand names to certain specifications and targeted at certain consumers.

• Kent Andersen, genetics associate director of Global Technical Services for Zoetis, Florham Park, N.J., will discuss “New Genetic Tools for Selecting and Mating Replacement Heifers.”

A panel will discuss critical issues facing the future of the PNW beef industry.

Beside ranchers and small cow-calf operators, the conference is intended for purebred breeders, cattle feeders, stocker-backgrounders, packer-marketers, companies that support beef production and livestock educators.

Topics include vaccinology, DNA testing, genomics and breeding, grazing management, fetal programming, calving management, nutrition and how genetic markers relate to marbling, yield grade, beef tenderness and other carcass characteristics.

WSU Animal Science and Vet School faculty and WSU Extension beef specialists along with faculty and beef specialists from the University of Idaho, Oregon State University and Kansas State University will teach 20 workshops.

A variety of companies and organizations will offer a trade show of more than 30 booths.

Twenty-two sponsors will cover more than half of the approximate $30,000 cost. Main ones are: Agri Beef Co.; Certified Angus Beef; Washington Cattle Feeders Association; and Progressive Cattleman. Others include: Washington Cattlemen’s Association; Toppenish Livestock Commission and Beef Northwest.



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