"Beefing Up the Future" offers strategies for success

Sep 10, 2010
by WLJ

Beef industry professionals and students interested in the industry will have an opportunity to learn about the research, teaching and extension of Washington State University’s (WSU) Department of Animal Sciences at “Beefing Up the Future” on Oct. 22-23.

“Beefing Up the Future” is a showcase of science and solutions for Washington’s beef cattle industry. Focused on target areas of research and extension projects currently underway, the Friday and Saturday program offers an insider look at the science and technologies that are shaping the industry’s future.

The Friday program includes faculty-guided tours of El Oro Cattle Feeders and Bar-U Ranch. The El Oro feedlot in Moses Lake, WA, is a high-efficiency facility that, by leveraging economies of scale in procurement and marketing, is able to maximize profits. Bar-U owners Dick and Paula Coon work closely with WSU researchers to translate grazing science from the lab to the ranch. The Coons and their research partners will discuss innovative strategies of rangeland management. After arriving in Pullman, participants are offered a tour of the WSU Ensminger Beef Center facilities where they will see firsthand the research, teaching and extension programs being conducted there.

On Saturday, the program includes a keynote address from Larry Corah, vice president of Certified Angus Beef (CAB). Having spent his career advancing the beef industry as a Kansas State University Extension beef specialist and director of beef production systems for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association before joining CAB, Corah is nationally recognized for his visionary perspective on the beef industry. Based on his experience, he will offer his vision of the beef industry’s future by outlining challenges and presenting opportunities for Washington producers.

The program continues with sessions and hands-on workshops that offer participants a close-up look at ways WSU research developments can be used as tools for success. Sessions include:

Mark Nelson and Jan Busboom will discuss their work in beef palatability. “While it is easy to ruin good beef, it is almost impossible to make bad beef palatable.

“New research conducted at WSU provides opportunities for cattle producers to add to their tools and enhance sustainability of their operations.”

Our research on both preand post-harvest factors in beef palatability offer you tools to improve beef palatability,” said Busboom. Nelson and Busboom will also present tools for palatability evaluation and strategies for producing beef with increased omega-3 fatty acids and other potentially healthbenefitting properties.

Holly Neibergs, Derek McLean, Jim Pru and Dan Rodgers will present their work in genetics and its potential to reduce disease susceptibility, improve maternal recognition of pregnancy, enhance male fertility, and bolster muscle growth. Neibergs invites participants to “imagine a future in which you can reduce culling for reproductive performance, select for cattle that are not susceptible to BVD or other respiratory diseases, and that produce lean, tender beef.”

Kris Johnson, Jude Capper and Don Nelson will discuss and present tools that enhance productivity and beef quality while at the same time, creating a sustainable landscape by mitigating the impact of beef production on the environment.

“Beef producers have carefully managed their resources for years to ensure the sustainability of their operations,” said Johnson. “Increasing societal pressure to manage nutrients to reduce losses due to runoff, mitigate greenhouse gas production, and produce a safe and abundant food product may require additional or different management strategies. Incorporation of management techniques to enhance production efficiency is clearly one option. New research conducted at WSU provides opportunities for cattle producers to add to their tools and enhance sustainability of their operations and educate the general public about cattle and their role in the environment.”

Margaret Benson, chair of the WSU Department of Animal Sciences, said, “We anticipate participation from all over the region, and by both established professionals and young people looking for a future in the industry. To that end, we’re arranging for a bus to bring folks from the west side of the state to Pullman on Friday, and take them home again on Saturday.”

Information about transportation, meals (including a Friday night beef BBQ with optional beef and wine tastings created by WSU Executive Chef Jamie Callison), hotel rooms and registration costs is available on the animal sciences website: www.ansci.wsu.edu.