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State cattle convention coming to town

February 20, 2007|by JEFF SEMLER

The Cattlemen are coming to town. Kind of conjures up memories of the old West. Well, trust me, during the first weekend in March, Hagerstown will not look like Dodge City on a Saturday night.

What is going on is the 20th Annual Maryland Cattle Industry Convention. And if I am not mistaken, all 20 have been held here. This makes sense, since nearly 45,000 head of cattle call Washington County home.

The conference is a two-day event held at the Four Points Sheraton. It begins Friday, March 2, with Cattlemen's College I. There are three sessions.

Ryan Ruppert, director of quality assurance programs NCBA-Denver, Col., says, "It's time to take a look at how our industry is doing when it comes to producing high-quality, defect-free beef. You will also learn about the new animal care guidelines and how they will affect the way you farm." And he will address this issue in Session 1 titled The Beef Quality Audit, The New Animal Care Guidelines and BQA: Putting the Pieces Together.

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In session 2, come learn about the newest CSP program details and find out what is available in the area of pasture and forages. Pick up some useful pasture and grazing management tips as well. Elmer Dengler, grazing specialist USDA-NRCS, will present the topics Conservation Practices to Build a Better Beef Operation and How to Qualify for USDA-CSP Benefits.

Winding up the afternoon Daren R. Williams, executive director, spokesperson development, NCBA-Denver, will provide you with a rare opportunity to learn in a fun and exciting way, how to be a better spokesperson for our industry. Learn how to become an "everyday advocate" for the beef industry in opportunities ranging from coffee shop conversations to media interviews. You do not want to miss this one!

The highlight of the evening and the weekend is the Cattle Industry Banquet beginning at 7 p.m. This year's guest is world-renowned cowboy poet and humorist Baxter Black. With beef on the menu and Baxter at the microphone it will be an evening to remember.

Saturday opens with a Livestock Skillathon Contest, where 4-H and FFA members form across the state test their livestock knowledge. For the adults, Cattlemen's College II features Paul Kempe of Blue Seal Feeds discussing beef cattle nutritional management and feeding your show steers. At the conclusion of the Skillathon, Daren R. Williams will be repeating his session on being "everyday advocate" for the beef industry - this time focusing on ways youth can be a voice for their industry.

The day concludes with a luncheon and breed association meetings. Washington County's own Bill Poffenberger is this year's Cattlemen's Association president and he wishes to invite anyone and everyone interested in beef cattle to attend. Registration information is available from the Extension Office or at www.marylandcattle.org/2007%20convention.pdf

So if you have cattle, or even if you don't come out, and see what cowboys do for a weekend of fun.

Jeff Semler is an Extension educator, specializing in agriculture and natural resources, for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. He is based in Washington County. He can be reached weekdays by telephone at 301-791-1404, ext. 25, or by e-mail at jsemler@umd.edu

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