A wealth of beef cattle production information is just a few computer clicks away.

With all of the information available today, selecting the most current and accurate sources can seem like an impossible task. The Beef InfoBase solves this problem by providing a variety of information at your fingertips.

The Agricultural Databases for Decision Support (ADDS) Center, a non-profit organization, has compiled over 1,500 of the latest Extension fact sheets, university research reports and private industry materials from across the country.

Beef InfoBase 1.0, which debuted last January, was developed at the ADDS Center through a cooperative effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Extension and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).

"There was a need to help universities and government agencies facilitate cooperation," says Basil Eastwood, USDA program leader. "Since no single state has all the needed expertise, this is a way all of the latest information can be made available to a larger number of people across states."

The InfoBase is available on CD and the Web and is easily searchable using keywords or phrases. It's split into 13 subject areas ranging from business management to nutrition. Also included is information regarding genetics, waste management, grazing lands and facilities.

"One user commented that the Beef InfoBase put his four filing cabinets of information onto one CD," says Mike Opperman, projects manager at the ADDS Center.

He says that about 500 people have purchased the Beef InfoBase so far. Of these 500, the majority have been purchasing the CD version so they can take it out to the field with them.

Ivan Rush, University of Nebraska beef specialist, takes the CD wherever he goes.

"It gives me access to a lot of current information from numerous experts in a matter of seconds," he says. "I've become a better resource by providing accurate information."

Five regional editors determine the InfoBase content: Bill Kunkle, University of Florida; Scott Barao, University of Maryland; Craig Burrell, Utah State; John McNeil, Texas A&M; and Dale Blasi, Kansas State University.

"We consider two factors," says Kunkle. "Is the article is up to date? And, is it applicable across states?" He adds that 95% of the material is the latest information. The other 5% is historical background information.

Kunkle says the Beef InfoBase was last updated on June 1. Version 2.0 will be released at the NCBA convention in San Antonio, TX, in February 2001.

The Beef InfoBase CD is available for $99, plus $6 shipping and handling. All CD purchases include a 12-month Web site subscription to the Beef InfoBase on-line version. All information contained on the CD is also available on the Web. Separate Web-site subscriptions can be purchases for $35.

For orders, contact Mike Opperman at mopperman@adds.org or 608/848-9055.