Livestock, nutrition conference to "reclaim high ground" for ag

MSU News Service – This year’s Montana Livestock Forum and Nutrition Conference will address misinformation, innuendo and anti-meat agendas that have plagued the agriculture industry in the past year, said organizer and Extension Beef Specialist John Paterson at Montana State University.

The conference, titled “Challenge for Agriculture: Reclaiming the High Ground,” will be held April 6 and 7 in the ballrooms of the Strand Union Building on the MSU campus. That is a change in location from previous years.

“It is no secret that animal agriculture has been under attack by organizations that want to change the way that livestock producers raise and care for animals,” Paterson said. “… We must become better informed.”

Speakers will discuss a variety of topics, including “Taking Back Agriculture for the Beef Industry” and “The Science and Politics of Animal Welfare.” The keynote speaker, who will address animal welfare, is Janice Swanson, director of the Animal Behavior and Welfare Group at Michigan State University. Her lecture is funded by a new endowment created by Paul and Barb Grieco with the MSU Foundation. Paul Grieco is a professor in MSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

In other presentations, MSU economist Gary Brester and Butch Bratsky from Stockman Bank will predict calf prices. Mark Petersen, the new research leader at Fort Keogh, will discuss protein supplementation, while another nationally known scientist, Bret Hess, will discuss fat supplementation. Mac White, a rancher from Two Dot, will give his perspective on the true costs of feeding hay during the winter.

The cost to attend both days of the conference is $70. The price for attending one day only is $50 for Tuesday and $25 for Wednesday. Parking permits are required on the MSU campus. They cost $2.50 per day.

To register, call (406) 994-3414, send an e-mail to or mail a check to Anita Gray, 221 Linfield Hall, MSU, P.O. Box 172820, Bozeman, MT 59717.

The conference schedule is:

Tuesday, April 6:
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Registration.
12:30 p.m. — Welcome. Dave Whittington, Montana Feed Association.
12:40 p.m. — Comments by MSU President Waded Cruzado.
1 p.m. — Taking Back Agriculture for the Beef Industry. Charlene Rich of the Montana Beef Council and Jackie Matsen of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
2 p.m. — Windshields and Rearview Mirrors. Tom Field, NCBA.
3 p.m. — Break
3:30 p.m. — Deja vu All Over Again. The 2010 Cattle Price Outlook. Gary Brester, MSU.
4:30 p.m. — Outlook for 2010 Montana Cattle Industry. Butch Bratsky, Stockman Financial Corporation.
5:30 p.m. — Social.
6:15 p.m. — Dinner.
7 p.m. — Scholarship Presentations. Keynote Address on The Science and Politics of Animal Welfare. Janice Swanson, Michigan State University.

Wednesday, April 7:
7 a.m. — Poster judging. Pat Hatfield of MSU.
8 a.m. — Thoughts on Strategic Protein Supplementation. Mark Petersen, Fort Koegh.
9 a.m. — Winter Hay Management. Mac White of Two Dot.
9:30 a.m. — Fat Supplementation of Beef Cattle. Brett Hess, University of Wyoming.
10:30 a.m. — Poster presentation results. Pat Hatfield.
10:45 to 11 .m. — Questions, comments and closing remarks. John Paterson, MSU.


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