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Nebraska hosts 2019 Range Beef Cow Symposium Nov. 18-20 at Mitchell

November 18 - November 20

The 26th Range Beef Cow Symposium returns to Nebraska Nov. 18-20 in Mitchell, at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds Events Center, with the theme “Moving Science into Practice.” The wide-ranging agenda is designed to be both topical and practical, ranging from headline-generating events like cell-cultured meats to advice about finances, reproduction, calving, and nutrition.
      The 2019 Range Beef Cow Symposium will include some hands-on demonstrations. Beef producers will share their own stories about trying new and different things.

      The Range Beef Cow Symposium (RBCS) is hosted by the University of Nebraska, the University of Wyoming, South Dakota State, and Colorado State. The event rotates among Colorado, western Nebraska, western South Dakota and Wyoming, and its focus is beef production issues in the western states.

      Registration is open and available on-line at https://beef.unl.edu/range-beef-cow-symposium. The website allows people to register and pay online. It also provides information and printable forms for mail-in participants. For more information, contact Cow-calf/Stocker Specialist Karla Wilke at 308-632-1245 at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center orkjenkins2@unl.edu.

      Among the most popular sessions of past symposia are those where beef producers share their experiences about adding value and stepping out of the box.
      One of this year’s producers is Vern Terrell of Sheridan County, who has tried a lot of different things on his family operation near Hay Springs – from weaning strategies, to cull cow management, and even multi-species grazing. Daring to be different just might be what makes the operation profitable for another generation.
      Terrell Farms has a reputation as leaders of innovation and their management continues to evolve. They grow both irrigated and dryland row crops. On the livestock side, they run a cow-calf operation and recently acquired sheep to help graze their pastures. The sheep tend to follow the cattle and will eat the grasses that cattle will not. The Terrells also use other new or innovative practices, such as cover crops and annual forages, and irrigated perennial pasture.
      Producers also will take the podium for a producer panel including a cow/calf producer, a feedlot producer, and a meat scientist who will discuss “Adding Value to our Product: Cow/calf, Feedlot and Meat Industry Perspectives.”  Britton Blair from South Dakota, Paul Dykstra of Nebraska, and Gary Darnall of Nebraska will discuss these options.
      A new wrinkle in this year’s RBCS is the addition of live demonstrations to the program. One of these will feature Juan Reyes of Wheatland, Wyo., demonstrating how to move cattle with dogs. Reyes and his family own and operate MR Angus, which has been recognized by BEEF magazine as a Top 100 Seedstock Operation. He believes his dogs must prove themselves on the ranch and his dogs work in wide open spaces as well as confinement with yearlings, pairs, and bulls. His dog JR Red won the inaugural National Cowdog Association’s Hall of Fame for Dogs award in 2018.
      Another of the hands-on demonstrations will focus on assisting a cow at calving. Nobody looks forward to it, but when it has to be done, minimizing stress to the cow and delivering a live calf are crucial. Dr. Caitlin Wiley Messerschmidt from Iowa State University will bring a cow model and demonstrate how to assist the cow and correct malpresentations for the best outcome for both cow and calf.
      The RBCS attracts producers from several states and more than 80 agribusinesses. On the afternoon of Nov. 18, Beef Quality Assurance certification will be offered, followed by a Ron Gill Stockmanship Clinic. On Nov. 19 and 20, the morning sessions will consist of traditional topics indoors at the events center. But part of the afternoon each day will consist of breakout sessions with hands-on presentations. Each of these will be repeated several times, and symposium attendees also can spend this time visiting vendors and interact with the industry-supporting services who help sponsor the event.
      Following evening meals at the Gering Civic Center, evenings will feature a “bull pen” session, which allows producers to interact with the speakers from that day, and have thought-provoking discussions about the topics that were presented.