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Meaty matters discussed at state cattle convention

March 04, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

A herd of cattlemen from across the state stampeded into the Four Points Sheraton on Saturday to eat beef and discuss everything that is bovine during the 20th annual Maryland Cattle Industry Convention.

One of the day's events focused on the industry's future.

Nearly 350 people packed the hotel's grand ballroom to honor more than 100 children who competed in a "Livestock Skillathon" earlier Saturday.

The skillathon consisted of several stations that had the contestants identify, among other things, cattle breeds and cuts of meat.

Garrett Hamby, 17, of Williamsport, placed fourth in the Senior Division for ages 14 to 18.

Hamby said he competes in cattle and swine skillathons at the national level throughout the year. He prepares for the events by studying the topics and using his knowledge from "growing up around the livestock."

Hamby pledges time when he isn't competing to teaching youngsters from the city and suburbs about livestock, he said.

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"I'm just glad I can share my knowledge with other 4-H'ers and young kids," Hamby said.

The other skillathon divisions were Junior (8 to 10) and Intermediate (11 to 13). There were about 140 contestants overall.

Besides the youth competition, the convention gives cattlemen from across the state an opportunity to congregate and share techniques on raising cattle, said Scott Barao, executive director of the Maryland Cattlemen's Association.

Some of those techniques include genetics, nutrition and herd health, he said.

The convention kicked off Friday and featured Baxter Black, a well-known cowboy poet and humorist.

Barao said roughly 270 people turned out to hear Black perform.

The Maryland Cattlemen's Association has held all 20 of its conventions in Hagerstown, he said.

"Hagerstown is central to the needs of the event," Barao said. "Washington and Frederick counties are the biggest cattle producers in the state."

Washington County is home to about 45,000 head of cattle, according to Jeff Semler, an educator specializing in agriculture and natural resources for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension.




New directors



The Maryland Cattleman's Association re-elected the following to its board of directors:

Lee Chaney, Frederick County

Richard Holloway, Harford County

Gabe Zepp, Carroll County

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