The Cattle Industry Convention kicked off with two days of producer education on Feb. 3-4 in San Antonio, Texas. Cattlemen’s College, sponsored by Zoetis Animal Health, has become widely known as one of the most thorough, in-depth educational events offered to cattlemen and women in the country. Celebrating its 22nd year, the event saw outstanding attendance with more than 1,350 attendees.
Hands-on cattle demonstrations kicked off the event Tuesday night, highlighting how beef producers can add value to their market cows. Industry experts, including Dr. Gary Smith, Dr. Keith Belk, and Dr. Dale Woerner, explained how cattlemen can improve the quality, consistency and competitiveness of beef produced from market cows through management decisions on the farm or ranch. Later, attendees were treated to some southern hospitality at a reception sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.
Also, as part of the industry effort to increase producer education, the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program introduced and updated Cattle Care and Handling Guidelines at the Producer’s Forum Tuesday evening. The guidelines, which are industry-wide standards for cattle care and handling, now include the 2014 BQA supplemental guidelines, advice on cold stress management, and guidelines for the judicious use of antibiotics in the cattle industry.
“Cattlemen take great pride in properly caring for their livestock and the BQA program has proven very successful in providing guidelines that producers can adapt to fit their needs,” said Josh White, director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “This refreshed handbook provides additional information with updated graphics and a revised look.”
Cattlemen’s College started back up early Wednesday morning with a keynote address by Chef Mike Erickson, who is a champion at connecting consumers to how beef is raised. Erickson advocates for the beef industry and dedicates his time to teaching others in culinary about how beef gets from pasture to plate.
“I think it is important for people in the culinary world to understand how beef is raised and get to know the people who spend their lives producing such a fine product for us,” said Erickson. “If those of us preparing the beef are educated on how it is raised, we can help spread the positive story of beef. The cattle industry has so much good going for it and we have to get that message out to people.”
Throughout the day attendees could choose from a wide range of informative, hands-on educational workshops designed for cattle operations of every size and sector. Classes ranged from understanding the economics of rebuilding the domestic herd, land and water rights issues in the United States, to proper cattle nutrition and the future use of antibiotics in food animals. Each session delivered stimulating and thought-provoking information to help cattlemen and women generate higher returns back home on the ranch.