January 9, 2009

The American Grassfed Association will hold its sixth annual conference, titled "To Market to Market, Adding Value to Your Farm," Feb. 5-7 in Lexington. The keynote speaker will be the noted author and sustainable agriculture advocate Wendell Berry.  The conference is hosted in part by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

"The conference is aimed at our producers and all users and supporters of grass-fed products. We welcome producers, professionals, chefs, all food service professionals and anyone else interested in the grass-fed industry and products to attend this conference," said Patricia Whisnant, president of American Grassfed Association, as well as a Missouri grass-fed beef producer, processor and veterinarian.

UK College of Agriculture professionals will lead several conference sessions. Lee Meyer, UK agricultural economist, will map strategies for economic success in alternative ranching practices. Gregg Rentfrow, UK meat science extension specialist, will break down lamb, swine and beef carcasses, and UK Chef Bob Perry, along with Chef Jesse Cool of San Francisco and Georgia beef producer Will Harris, will tackle the subject of how to sell to restaurants.

Other speakers include Julius Reuchel, author of "Grass-Fed Cattle," who will explain the basic ingredients of a successful beef grass‐finishing program and how to develop a comprehensive grass‐finishing plan and Charles Ritch, board member from American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, who will speak on poultry production and the Kentucky Mobile Processing Unit. Speakers from Kentucky's lamb, pork and bison industries will be on hand to talk about alternative marketing strategies.

UK's Perry will coordinate all conference meals. Partners for Family Farms will host the Friday night meal, which will be prepared by some of Kentucky's finest chefs, using Kentucky Proud products.

Among the field trips offered is a self-guided field trip to Better Beef, LLC, a grass-fed operation in Paint Lick owned by Earnie Kidd and Stan Pace.

The conference is open to the public. Discounted rates are available. A special reduced rate of $109 per night at the Hyatt Regency Lexington will be available for conference participants. Shuttles will run to and from Lexington's Blue Grass Airport.

A detailed conference schedule, registration form and complete lodging information can be found on American Grassfed Association's Web site, http://www.americangrassfed.org .

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