By Dewey Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator
The annual Farmers and Ranchers Cow/Calf College “Partners in Progress – Beef Seminar” will be held at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and Great Plains Veterinary Education Center near Clay Center on January 20, 2016 with registration, coffee and donuts starting at 9:00 a.m. and going till 9:30 a.m. The program will run from 9:35 a.m. until approximately 4:00 p.m. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension’s Farmers and Ranchers College and will feature several outstanding speakers discussing issues and management strategies that can affect the profitability of all beef producers. There is no cost for the event and the public is invited. It does include a noon meal which means that early registration is necessary to reserve materials and a meal.
The “Cow/Calf College” will begin at 9:35 a.m. with a welcome by Dr. John Pollak, Director of USMARC and Dr. Dale Grotelueschen, Director of the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center. There will be a special award presentation by Dr. Brent Meyer of Merck Animal Health to Dr. Gary Rupp, long time GPVEC Director just prior to the seminar. This award will be housed at the GPVEC. Chad Engle, USMARC Livestock Operations Manager, will kick off the seminar with his presentation of “MARC – The Real Story.” USMARC, which employs scientists that are world renown in their fields, has received a lot of attention from media sources in the last year. Chad's presentation will give a unique opportunity to hear what goes on every day at MARC on the ground level to carry out experiments and ensure land and livestock resources at MARC maintain a viable and sustainable research environment.
Deanna Karmazin, Director of Ag Literacy and Consumer Education for Nebraska Farm Bureau's Foundation for Agriculture will explain what she sees as the “The Issues Surrounding Animal Agriculture”. You might be surprised at how our young people, their parents, as well as consumers all across our nation view agriculture and especially animal agriculture. There is a good chance you will come away from this session upset, perhaps a little angry, but certainly with the knowledge that there are things happening all around us that can have a debilitating effect on the livestock industry and especially on your livelihood. If you are going to be proactive instead of reactive you need to know what you are up against. You can’t fight a battle if you don’t know what you are fighting.
Lunch will be provided and will be handled with a rotation system during two noon sessions featuring a follow up by Karmazin with split sessions on: “Cattlemen – Telling Your Story”. In order to offset the challenges brought to us in animal agriculture we need to "Build Bridges, Correct Misinformation, and Be Influential". You will learn how you, as a producer can do that. We all must be cognizant of a huge challenge: speaking up for farming in a year when Americans, most without any connection to agriculture, vote! You will be able to learn how you as a cattleman can act as an “Agvocate” and how you can make a difference in addressing the issues that will be discussed before lunch.
The afternoon session will start with a very timely presentation by Dr. Michael Apley, Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, who is nationally renowned on antibiotics and pathologies of livestock. With the firestorm on “super-bugs”; antibiotic resistance; consumer concerns for the safety of the food they provide to their families; and misinformation on animal health across the nation; Dr. Apley’s presentation on “Animal Health, Antibiotics and VFDs” is right on target to address some of this critical health issues that face beef producers. For our beef producers Dr. Apley will also inform us on how to comply with the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) as well as other feed and vaccine protocols.
Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz, Sandhills Cattle Consultants Inc., will lead you through “The Basics of Stockmanship”. One of the major talking points for animal activists, and consumers alike, is animal welfare and particularly the handling of livestock. Dr. Kip focuses more on cattle care and low-stress handling with far less focus on emphasizing treatments. His primary emphasis is on preventive health, disease prevention and animal well-being. Dr. Kip spends significant amounts of time training pen riders, hospital and processing crew members, and stresses that if cattle and the crew are put first, many of the cattle health management issues will be minimized. Here is your chance to learn from the best!
All presenters will then join on stage to pull everything together, give their final thoughts and considerations and then avail themselves for a coffee-shop style panel discussion during which cattlemen can ask questions and get answers on topic questions that came to them during the day’s sessions. A chance for door prizes will be awarded to those that stay for the entire event.
The USMARC and Nebraska Extension will once again join forces to offer a tour which will start immediately after the program. It will highlight the integrated crop beef systems research that is ongoing at the center. They have the results of last year’s steer project and will introduce a new heifer project. There is a good chance you can see both steers and heifers grazing on cover crops. Dr. Mary Drewnoski (UNL Beef Systems Specialist), Harvey Freetly (Research Leader- Nutrition and Environmental Management Research Unit) .and Kristin Hales (USDA Research Animal Scientist) will be guiding this special tour and explaining what they are doing and finding with their research. It is asked that when you register for the Seminar that you also register for the tour if you are interested. You will find this a valuable addition to the seminar.
Please pre-register by Friday, January 15th, 2016, at the Nebraska Extension Office at 621 North Cedar, Red Cloud, NE 68930 or call (402) 746-3417 to insure a seat and lunch. Walk-ins are accepted, but may not get a lunch. You may also email your registration to Dewey Lienemann at: firstname.lastname@example.org Further information may be found at the Nebraska Extension at Webster County website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu
To listen to BeefWatch podcasts go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/unl-beefwatch/id964198047 or paste http://real.unl.edu/podcast/BeefWatch-15/BeefWatch.xml into your podcast app.
Farmers and Ranchers Cow/Calf College at USMARC January 20
By Dewey Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator