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NMSU, Texas AgriLife Extension to host Southwest Beef Symposium January in Roswell

ROSWELL, N.M. - Cattlemen in the Southern High Plains are facing many challenges presented by Mother Nature and increased costs of production.


The Southwest Beef Symposium will focus on defining the state of the beef industry in the region amid several ongoing natural disasters, evaluating lessons learned from major events impacting the beef industry in 2011, and developing management plans to ride out the challenges.

The Southwest Beef Symposium is a collaboration of New Mexico State University Extension specialists and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Location of the event alternates yearly between venues in West Texas and eastern New Mexico.

The eighth meeting of this annual symposium will be Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 17-18, at the Roswell Convention Center, 912 North Main St., Roswell.

"There were numerous lessons learned in 2011 across multiple avenues of the industry," said Manny Encinias, NMSU Extension beef cattle specialist stationed at NMSU's Clayton Livestock Research Center. "This year's symposium will give attendees an optimistic insight of opportunities that lie ahead in the industry, as well as provide management framework to minimize risk back at the ranch."

In the opening session, 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, Doug Southgate, an agricultural economist at Ohio State University, will discuss the challenge of meeting global demand for livestock products and other food.

"Even though population numbers and per capita consumption of food are not growing as fast as they used to do, global demands for edible goods, especially beef and other livestock products, will be much higher in 2050 than today," said Southgate, who collaborated with two coauthors in the recently completed second edition of "The World Food Economy" published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. in 2011.

"These demands can be met, partly through increases in agricultural lands use in Africa, South America and elsewhere, but mainly through technological improvement that raises yields," Southgate said. "Better technology caused food supplies to go up faster than food consumption during the second half of the 20th century, when increases in the population were without historical precedents. Technological gains can have the same beneficial impact in the decades to come."

Other topics to be addressed the opening day are "Cattle Marketing: Lessons Learned from Eastern Livestock" by Paul Colman of Frontera Feeders, "Market Outlook" by Paul Gutierrez of NMSU, and "Record Cattle Prices: So Why Record Low Herd Numbers?" by Stan Bevers of Texas A&M University.

The first day will conclude with a panel of ranchers discussing "Fighting the Battle and Winning the Wars." The panelists will be John Welch, chief executive officer of Spade Ranches; Gene Whetten, ranch manager of Adobe Ranch in Magdalena, New Mexico; Houston McKenzie of McCamey, Texas; and Dennis Braden, manager of Swenson Ranches in Stamford, Texas.

Wednesday programs will be divided into a morning session focusing on putting the ranch back together after wildfire and the drought, and the afternoon session addressing nutrition management and challenges on ranches in the Southwest.

"The key to putting the ranch back together comes from what we learned from our experiences encountered in 2011," Encinias said.

Dave DuBois, New Mexico state climatologist, will provide a glance at what the models and predictions suggest for 2012 weather in the Southwest.

In other presentations, Nick Ashcroft, NMSU Extension range management specialist, will speak on how rangeland and natural resources are likely to respond after wildfires and prolonged drought; Bevers will discuss restocking and what a rancher can afford to pay for cows and bulls; and Brayden and Encinias will share what they each learned from their recent experiences managing resources, cattle and people during catastrophic wildfires on ranches they managed in Texas and New Mexico.

Before lunch, John Wenzel, NMSU Extension veterinarian, will provide some helpful tips and ideas on preparing an emergency management plan for the ranch, which can be activated in case of a natural disaster or agriculture-related emergency.

"Even during the non-drought years, developing a sound nutrition program is vital," Encinias said. "Wednesday afternoon's programs will bring together multiple components that will help producers put a nutrition program together for their operation."

Presentations will include "Southwest Forage Quality: What we've measured over 20 years" by Kent Mills, nutritionist with HiPro; "How do I figure out what to feed?" by Ted McCollum, beef cattle specialist at Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo; "The FRAMS system: Drought management new technology on the horizon" by Bruce Carpenter, Texas AgriLife Extension livestock specialist at Fort Stockton; "Grazing Behavior: What we are learning with GPS" by Derek Bailey, director of NMSU's Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center; and "Dietary Interaction of Cattle and Elk Following Fire and Drought" by Sam Smallidge, NMSU Extension wildlife specialist.

Registration fee is $50, which includes a steak dinner on Tuesday night sponsored by the New Mexico Beef Council, lunch on Wednesday, refreshments, and a symposium proceedings book. Pre-registration is requested by Jan. 11. For more information, contact Encinias at 575-374-2566 or Bruce Carpenter at 432-336-8585. A schedule of events, speaker information, lodging information and on-line registration is available at http://swbs.nmsu.edu after Dec. 1.