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Forage conference will educate producers about grazing practices


BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 15, 2006 – Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council will explore the theme, “Profitable Pastures: Extending Grazing” at this year’s winter forage conference, Jan. 23-25. Producers will learn how to increase their profits by extending the time livestock feed on forages.

The conference will be repeated on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Armory in Suffolk, Va.; Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, Va.; and Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Southwest Virginia 4-H Center in Abingdon, Va. Registration will begin at 8 a.m., and events will end at 3:30 p.m.

“Beef producers will gain skills and knowledge of economical ways to manage pastures that will result in reduction of costs by extending the grazing and reducing use of expensive stored feeds or purchased grains,” said Gordon Groover, Extension farm management specialist at Virginia Tech, who will discuss the cost of hay for grazing operations at the conference. “Farmers will also gain knowledge about beef marketing and practical knowledge of marketing their calves.”

Researchers, producers, and government officials will present at the conference on a wide range of topics:

Bill West, a successful beef producer in Ripley, W.Va., will share his experiences with year-round grazing.

Emmit Rawls, of the University of Tennessee will discuss the cow-calf cycle and the importance of forages for these animals.

Jim Cropper, of the Natural Resource and Conservation Service in Greensboro, N.C., will explain how controlled grazing affects soil ecology.

Patrick Cook, the small game project leader for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will present information about wildlife damage to livestock.

Robert Shoemaker, of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will discuss his concept of beef production that revolves around year-round rotational grazing systems with limited inputs.

Lewis Sapp, of Salem, N.C., who worked for Gallagher Power Fence for 25 years, will be discussing cost-effective fencing for grazing systems.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation supports the conference. The early registration fee is $25 for Virginia Forage and Grassland Council members and $35 for non-members. After the Jan. 9 deadline for early registration, the fee is $35 for Virginia Forage and Grassland Council members and $45for non-members.

For more information or to register for the conference, contact Margaret Kenny at(434) 292-5331.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based agents, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 13 agricultural research and extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.