WSU scientists showcase advances in animal agriculture
By MATTHEW WEAVER
Washington State University's animal science department has a lot at stake for the state's steak -- and beef -- producers.
"(We) are doing more things to impact the beef industry than a lot of our stakeholders, producers and the public in general are aware of," said Margaret Benson, chair of the department and a university professor.
On Oct. 22-23, the department will present beef-related faculty research projects at "Beefing Up the Future: A Showcase of Science and Solutions." The event will take place on WSU's campus in Pullman, Wash.
The event will focus on three research areas: beef quality, incorporating biotechnology into production and environmental sustainability.
The department works with cutting-edge scientific tools and advances that can be directly applied to the industry, such as identifying animals with greater growth or meat quality, Benson said.
"Sometimes those are long-range impacts and sometimes they can be implemented quite quickly," she said.
The work the department does will assist livestock operations in the midst of increased government regulations, Benson said.
"We have faculty involved in how quantifying the impact of livestock, whether it's air quality, water quality or carbon footprint, is being determined," she said. "They will actually demonstrate some of the equipment that can measure those criteria."
Benson hopes to demonstrate the accomplishments of the department, which will result in future benefits for Washington beef production.
"The idea of science and the solutions it can result in is really what we're all about here at the university," she said.
Producers from the western side of Washington can participate in a bus tour to campus, stopping off at the El Oro feedlot in Warden, Wash., and the Bar-U Ranch in Benge, Wash. Benson said eastern-based producers may have a feedlot tour in the future.
Because the program is new, Benson isn't certain how many people will attend. Registration will be accepted beyond the Oct. 15 online deadline, she said, stressing the importance of an accurate head count for meal preparation.
Oct. 22 events include a tour of WSU's beef center at 5 p.m. and dinner. Oct. 23 events include presentations and lunch.
Cost is $130 for producers participating in the Beef Bus Tour, $60 for both days or $40 for Saturday only. Reduced rates are available for youth.
Call 509-335-2880 for more information.