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June 10, 2012

A plan for marketing beef cattle

(Continued)

The North Country has an abundance of pasture land suitable for grazing and raising beef cattle, but one of the obstacles we face is our location and lack of marketing options. The local livestock markets have long been focused on the dairy industry and have not developed the market for beef animals. And while the local food movement is gaining in popularity and direct marketing is possible, many farmers aren’t interested in the extra time, effort and marketing it takes to go that route.

In an upcoming meeting at the Clinton County Cooperative Extension office, West Virginia University Extension Livestock Specialist Dr. Phillip Osborne will explain how beef farmers in West Virginia developed a feeder cattle marketing program to meet the demand for high-quality feeder cattle. By setting standards for vaccinations and by pooling cattle to be delivered to bigger markets, smaller farmers have the opportunity to participate in the Quality Assurance feeder calf sales.

Weaned, vaccinated and preconditioned calves regularly receive higher sale prices at auction. As more and more beef cattle are being raised in Northern New York, this type of marketing program may be an opportunity for small farmers in our region to benefit.

It won’t happen by itself, so local beef farmers are encouraged to attend this meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Extension office in Plattsburgh. Dr. Osborne will be speaking via video-link and Cornell Beef Extension Specialist Dr. Mike Baker will be present to lead a discussion about the possibilities for such a program in New York. Please pre-register by Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.  A program fee of $5 will include refreshments.

Dr. Baker will also be available in Clinton County for a limited number of farm visits. If you are a beef farmer and would like Dr. Baker to visit your farm to evaluate your operation, contact Peter Hagar at Cornell Cooperative Extension Clinton County at 561-7450 or email phh7@cornell.edu.

Peter Hagar, agriculture educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension Clinton County, 6064 Route 22, Suite #5, Plattsburgh, 12901. Phone 561-7450, fax 561-0183 or email Phh7@cornell.edu.

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