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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
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Virginia Beef Producers Short Course at Convention

Livestock Update, February 2001

Bill McKinnon, Extension Animal Scientist, Marketing, VA Tech

A series of focused educational presentations is planned for the Virginia Beef Producers Short Course to be held in conjunction with the Virginia Beef Industry Convention. The Beef Producers Short Course will be held on Friday, February 23 at the Homestead in Hot Springs. The Industry Council of the Virginia Cattlemen's Association is sponsoring the short course.

After an opening general session and a thorough industry situation update by Dr. Wayne Purcell, the short course breaks into three separate groupings of classes. The class groupings are intended to offer something for all segments of Virginia's cattle industry.

The Cow/calf classes will offer attendees tools to identify and troubleshoot areas of concern within their herds. Dr. John Hall of Virginia Tech will examine the importance of a sound cowherd nutrition program and its role in improving reproductive performance, the single most important factor in herd profitability. With the growing importance of carcass merit, Extension Specialist, Dr. Scott Greiner will discuss how to start improving the carcass genetics of Virginia's cowherds.

Health issues will be the key focus in the Stocker/Backgrounding classes. Many Virginia background operators are battling a tough, new disease, mycoplasm, for the first time this fall and winter. Dr. Dee Whittier of the VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine will discuss the current state of knowledge in dealing with this organism, as well as other new issues in respiratory disease. After lunch Dr. Whittier will be exploring how to cost effectively prevent lost profits from parasite infection. It appears that one of the most important strategies in preventing respiratory disease in newly weaned calves is getting them started on feed quickly. Dr. Terry Swecker from the VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine will discuss techniques and ration details to get young cattle off to a quick start.

Every month the industry hears more about the growing importance of production/marketing alliances and their potential impact upon how the industry conducts business. Dr. Ronnie Green, a Botetourt County native, has recently joined the staff of the new Future Beef alliance. Dr. Green will come home to detail the plans for Future Beef and how Virginians might be involved. Mr. Dean Freed of the Horizon Beef alliance headquartered in Iowa will discuss the services and marketing options available through their organization. Both of these alliance groups have already had substantial experience with Virginia cattle. With the average small herd size of most Virginia beef operations, it has been unclear how many local producers might participate in an alliance. Reggie Reynolds and Forrest Ashby of the Virginia Cattlemen's Association will present ideas on how the association might facilitate that participation.

The extended lunch break will offer time for fellowship and visiting exhibitors in the trade show. Lunch is planned to be an informal, standup affair in the trade show area.

Registration cost for the Virginia Beef Producers Short Course is $20 and includes the cost of lunch and class handouts. Registrations should be in to the Virginia Cattlemen's Association as soon as possible to reserve space in the short course. Industry sponsors are providing van and/or bus transportation from several regions of the state. This industry sponsored transportation will originate at the following locations: Winchester, Louisa, Buckingham, and Abingdon. Producers wishing to reserve a seat should contact one of following Extension agents who are coordinating the transportation: Winchester - Lance Kauf (540/955-5164); Louisa - Jim Ridell (540/967-3422); Buckingham - Jim Myers (804/969-4261) or Jennifer Morris (804/645-9315); Abingdon - Phil Blevins (540/676-6309)

Virginia Beef Producers Short Course
Sponsored by the Virginia Cattlemen's Association
Industry Council

9:00 a.m. -- Registration and visit trade show

9:45 a.m. -- Opening General Session Introduction

10:00 a.m. -- Beef Industry Situation and Outlook
Dr. Wayne Purcell, Professor, VT, Aricultural & Applied Economics Dept.

11:00 a.m. -- Break Into Concurrent Class Sessions

Cow/Calf Classes

Stocker/Backgrounding Classes

Intro to Alliances Classes

12:00 noon -- Lunch with Trade Show Exhibitors

1:45 p.m. -- Classes reconvene

Cow/Calf Classes

Stocker/Backgrounding Classes

Intro to Alliances Classes

3:30 -- Adjourn for Home

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