Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Allen Williams, industry consultant and contributor to the Grassfed Exchange, noted recently that the U.S. cow herd has fallen to its lowest levels since 1952, with the 2011 calf crop the smallest in the last 60 years. “A significant portion of this decline is related to the severe ongoing drought experienced in major cattle producing states forcing producers in those areas to de-stock. Due to cattle inventory decline coupled with high grain prices, negative feeder and packer margins will continue into 2012” says Williams. Despite low inventory levels and woes for feedyards and packers, small processing plants catering to the local, sustainable, “natural,” “organic” and “grassfed” markets are flourishing. Williams notes that “retail scanner data shows that sales of fresh natural and organic beef increased by 4.2 percent in 2011” which is at four times the growth rate reported less than 10 years ago.
The Grassfed Exchange was established in 2009 to help cattle producers capture this growth in the natural and organic markets. The most recent offering from the Grassfed Exchange is the unveiling of its theme and list of presenters for the 4th Annual Grassfed Seminar to be held in Norfolk, Nebraska on September 20-22, 2012. This year’s theme: “Capitalizing on the Grassfed Revolution: Maximizing your Natural Resources While Unleashing your Marketing Genius” will focus on building forage quality necessary for a profitable and sustainable grassfed operation, the integration of multi-species as well as practical advice from top-line producers on how to direct market your grassfed product for greater returns. The seminar will kick-off with guided bus tours to area ranches for a one-of-a-kind learning experience with two innovative producers who have made tremendous strides in forage quality and carrying capacity.
The remainder of the event will be held at the Northeast Community College Ag Complex, located in Norfolk, Nebraska which is a premier indoor/outdoor facility for the event. Cattle and multi-species grassfed animals will be on display throughout and specialized vendors who cater to the natural and organic markets will be present to provide information on their services. Speakers for the event include nationally renowned experts in the grassfed industry such as, Dr. Garry Lacefield, Will Harris and Gabe Brown with an entertaining, yet informative, keynote presentation from Mark Schatzker, author of “Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef”.
Register now for the conference to reserve your place at the seminar. For more information visit www.grassfedexchange.com or call Traci at 402-371-2932.
About The Grassfed Exchange
The Grassfed Exchange, grassfedexchange.com, was founded in 2009 by a coalition of three producers and researchers to promote grassfed beef for the social good of our land, consumers and communities and to educate producers by exchanging ideas and improving grassfed genetics.
Heidi Hunt is an Assistant Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. She has been on the editorial staff since 2001 when Ogden Publications acquired the magazine. Heidi especially enjoys interacting with readers and answering the myriad of questions they throw her way. You can also follow Heidi on Google+.Photo by Fotolia