August 14, 2002 | By: Haven Miller

Marketing strategies and industry trends highlighted a recent conference in Lexington for beef cattle industry leaders. About 200 people attended the conference, which was the first of its kind in central Kentucky.

"One of the things we discussed was the importance of controlling costs," said Paul Deaton, area agriculture development agent with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "The producer at the farm level has more control of his costs than anything else, so holding costs down is one of the best things the producer can do."

Kentucky has excellent potential for expanding its beef cattle enterprises because of the state's abundance of forages which make up a large part of the beef animal's diet. Producers who understand consumer trends and Kentucky's role in an international marketplace will be better prepared to take advantage of future opportunities.

"Producers who have raised their calves in a particular way or with a particular method over the last 10 or 20 years have to realize we're in a different world situation where things are changing in terms of how beef is marketed," said Nelson Curry, manager of Clay Charolais and the secretary-treasurer of Cattlemen's Beef Board. "One of the mindsets we as producers need to come to grips with is that we're not just raising and selling cattle - we're selling beef, and our customer is the consumer."

In addition to a panel discussion of industry trends, the conference also featured Dave Weaber of Cattle Fax who spoke about market analysis, and Harry Knobbe of Knobbe Feedyard in Nebraska who addressed important cattle feeding issues.

"We hope our leaders will go back to their home counties and discuss with their local cattle associations what they've learned from the conference, and how Kentucky producers can see where the trends are going and how they will fit in," said Deaton.


Paul Deaton, 859-323-9277