October 1, 2009

Forage and animal producers can get up-to-date, research-based information on current topics in both industries at the 10th Kentucky Grazing Conference. The conference is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT Oct. 29 at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton.

"We have an outstanding program planned and will discuss cutting-edge grazing issues," said Garry Lacefield, extension forage specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Several timely topics are scheduled for this year's conference. In one such presentation, Ed Ballard, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, will discuss extending the grazing season and reducing stored feed. Ballard is a renowned specialist in this area and has authored numerous publications on this subject.

Roy Burris, UK extension beef specialist, will talk about the role of grazing in relation to animal welfare and animal rights, which are hot topics now throughout the industry.

"The vast majority of farmers are concerned about their animals, but a few isolated incidents across the nation have given the entire animal agriculture industry a black eye," Burris said. "We need to be proactive, acknowledge that there are problems and clean up any existing ones. Fortunately, most cattle operations in the South are pastoral with well-managed cattle, which is the image that we need to present to the public."

Burris will discuss with participants the benefits of grazing, how to recognized well-managed cattle, determine body conditioning scores and give injections properly. He will also talk about handling cattle in way that is low stress to animals and producers.

"These pressures present us with an opportunity to be good stewards of animals and the environment and be part of the solution and not the problem," Lacefield said.

In the afternoon, contestants from across the state will compete to be the next Kentucky Forage Spokesman. The winner of this contest will represent the state at the national competition at the 2010 American Forage and Grassland Council's annual meeting in Springfield, Mo. The state's forage spokesmen are nationally competitive with Kentucky having more national winners than any other state. Contestants for the state contest are usually nominated by county agriculture and natural resource extension agents, but those interested in competing can also contact Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202.

A silent auction will take place throughout the day. Additionally, awards from the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council will be given.

This is the first time the conference will take place in Princeton. Traditionally, it rotated between Bowling Green and Lexington. The conference is sponsored by the UK College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council.

Certified crop advisor credits will be available.

Participants can register the day of the conference. The registration fee is $15 per person and $5 for students. The cost includes proceedings, meal and refreshments.   

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