"Natural" beef production systems are the focus of a special "Matching Cattle to Markets" program Jan. 17 in the Brookings County Resource Center in Brookings, SD.

"Targeting Natural beef production offers economic incentives for cattlemen and cattle feeders but does not come without a cost," says Miner County Extension Educator Jim Krantz. "Excluding ionophores, implants and antibiotics included in typical production systems results in reduced gains, increased feed costs, and the need for a regimented health program. All these issues will be part of the program discussions."

Included are presentations by:

  • Brett Stuart, Cattle-Fax, on the current U.S. beef industry picture, value differences and market opportunities.
  • Dana Stahl, USDA, definition of "natural" and an overview of the third-party verification system for documentation of production practices.
  • Erik Loe, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension feedlot specialist, on calf procurement, natural management and expected performance.
  • Tyler Melroe, Marshall County Extension livestock educator, on program participation and cattle types.
  • Russell Daly, SDSU Extension veterinarian, on the health aspects of raising natural cattle.
  • Matt Bode, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef cattle procurement manager, on the packer perspective.
Registration is $20, and includes lunch, breaks and handouts. Pre-register by Jan. 15 by contacting Kingsbury County Extension at 605-854-3851 or tracey.renelt@ces.sdstate.edu; Marshall County Extension at 605-448-5171 or tyler.melroe@ces.sdstate.edu; or Miner County Extension at 605-772-4661 or jim.krantz@ces.sdstate.edu.
-- Joe Roybal