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Farm to fork: Texas A&M Virtual Beef Cattle Short Course has much to offer ranchers

published: July 24th 2020
by: Kay Ledbetter
source: Texas AgriLife Today

Finding value beyond the packer as more people look for locally sourced beef in the wake of COVID-19 is only one of the benefits of attending the Virtual Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course set for Aug. 3-5.

There’s still time to register for the education-packed short course jointly hosted by  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University
Online registration 
will be open until the event, with the cost $129 until the conference, and $149 after the conference is over for access to the recorded sessions.  

“COVID-19 caused some short-term grocery store beef supply issues in the past few months, and this has really created an increased interest among consumers for locally sourced beef,” said Jason Cleere, Ph.D., conference coordinator and AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist in College Station. “It has created some challenges because local beef processing plants cannot keep up, and processing appointments for cattle are several months out.” 

This increased demand for locally sourced beef has provided additional opportunities for ranchers to add value to their cattle.

“We will be offering the whole picture, from farm to fork,” Cleere said. “We’ll start on the production side of ranching, learn marketing tips from a very successful ranch that is providing local beef, and there will be a carcass-cutting demonstration to discuss where the value in the carcass is and how to capture all of the value.”

Going virtual this year meant that they would not have the traditional Texas Aggie Prime Rib Dinner on the first evening of the short course, and many were disappointed when they heard the news, Cleere said.

“So, we decided to let the expert, Dr. Davey Griffin, provide a live Nolan Ryan Texas Aggie Prime Rib cooking demonstration on Monday evening,” he said.

The cooking demonstration will be broadcast live during the virtual conference beginning at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 after a full day of educational sessions.   

“We normally cook over 100 whole prime ribs each year in our state-of-the-art smokers in the Rosenthal Meat Science Center on the Texas A&M University campus,” said Griffin, AgriLife Extension meat science specialist, College Station. “The average person does not have one of these smokers so we will demonstrate on a traditional Texas barbeque pit outside of Kyle Field.”

The short course is the largest beef cattle educational event in the country, offering more than 20 sessions covering basic practices, new technologies and hot topics, along with a virtual trade show and live cattle demonstrations. There will be a live question and answer feature during the sessions, and each participant will receive a digital copy of the proceedings, Cleere said.

For more information, go to the website or call 979-845-6931.

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