Classes to focus on methods that improve carcass quality

By SEAN ELLIS

Capital Press

TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- A three-day conference in January is intended to help cattle producers improve the quality of their product by introducing them to the "meat" side of the beef industry.

Organized by University of Idaho's Extension service, the Idaho Beef Summit will include hands-on workshops and demonstrations on how to improve the quality of beef's end product.

Titled, "A Steak in Your Bottom Line," the summit will be held Jan. 5-7 in Twin Falls.

It will be of interest to any rancher interested in learning more about the end product they produce, said Wyatt Prescott, executive vice president of the Idaho Cattle Association.

"Ranchers are in the business of producing beef. It's always good for them to learn more about the final product," he said.

UI Extension educator Sarah Baker said leading industry personnel will help participants understand and improve beef carcass quality through DNA-based technology, nutrition and marketing.

Baker said the summit is designed to assist Idaho's beef industry by helping producers improve the quality and consistency of their product, making it as competitive as possible with other protein sources.

"It validates for them that they aren't just producing calves, they are producing beef," said Baker, who specializes in beef and range management for UI's Extension office in Custer County.

Leading retailers and chefs will discuss retail and foodservice trends and show how consumer preferences affect beef producers' bottom line.

Participants will also view cutting demonstrations and tour processing facilities to learn about carcass grading, processing and value-added marketing for market and cull beef.

The summit will include a "Meat Science Basics for Ranchers" course and offer updates from industry, Beef Checkoff leaders and officials from Beef Quality Assurance, a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production.

The conference provides a good opportunity for beef producers to learn ways to improve the quality, consistency and value of their product, said Traci O'Donnell, executive director of the Idaho Beef Council, which is funding the summit.

The more producers understand consumer trends, the more they can increase their profit as producers, she said.

"It's very important for producers to know the 'meat' aspect of the product they're raising," she said.

"The more producers can educate themselves about the latest science as well as the end-product attributes of the animals they're raising ... the better it is for our industry overall."

To register

Cost to register for the "A Steak in Your Bottom Line" summit is $50. For more information or to register, contact the Custer County Extension office at 208-879-2344 or Sarah Baker at sdbaker@uidaho.edu

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