Southwest beef producers will have opportunities to get the latest information on production techniques and marketing at two seminars slated for mid-December.

A two-day production meeting has been set for Odessa, Texas, Dec.14-15 and a marketing conference is scheduled for Vernon, Texas, Dec. 17. Texas and New Mexico Cooperative Extension agencies are teaming up to present the first “Southwest Beef Symposium” Dec. 14-15 at Odessa’s Ector County Coliseum.

Dr. Bruce Carpenter, Texas Cooperative Extension livestock specialist at Fort Stockton and program coordinator, said organizers hope to establish the symposium as an annual event. “We plan to develop this into a forum to update Southwestern beef cattle producers on timely information about current industry issues and practical cattle management,” Carpenter said. The symposium will also include an extensive on-site trade show. Major symposium topics will include arid lands grazing management, range nutrition, economic analysis of winter feeding strategies, early weaning and a cattle market outlook.

Presenters will be Extension specialists from Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. A special highlight will be a calf marketing panel discussion featuring, rancher Sterling Spencer of Carrizozo, N.M., and Cactus Feeders vice president Paul Coleman.

Animal identification will also be a major topic. “The animal ID session will begin with an overview and update on the National Animal Identification System,” Carpenter said. A panel discussion on the status of premises ID, designed to track the origin of an animal back to the original producer, will follow. Bob Hillman, executive director of the Texas Animal Health Commission, is a scheduled panelist.

Activities on Dec. 15 will feature live animal demonstrations: including Fertility Associated Antigen, a new bull fertility predictor for veterinarians and cattle producers; and demonstrations of electronic cattle ID technologies on live cattle. Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered.

Individual registration is $25 per person. A registration form can be found at: http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/ces/ear For more information contact Carpenter at (432) 336-8585, bb-carpenter@tamu.edu

Next year the Southwest Beef Symposium will be in Tucumcari, N.M. A one-day Advanced Topic Series seminar slated for Dec. 17 at Vernon will help cattle producers improve marketing skills, said a Texas Cooperative Extension economist.

“Cattle producers have seen some wild swings in the markets during the past two years,” said Stan Bevers, Extension economist headquartered at Vernon. “Cow-calf operators weaned and sold their calves at record prices, but stocker operators are still trying to pencil out a profit scenario. On the other hand, cattle feeders are looking at offers from packers that are lower than break-even.”

The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Vernon. “This seminar is designed to help producers cope with market uncertainty by developing a written marketing plan.”

Bevers, along with Extension economists Steve Amosson of Amarillo and David Anderson of College Station, will address market fundamentals, technical signals and seasonal trends in cash, basis and cattle contracts. They will also discuss marketing strategies for stocker cattle and retained ownership.

“The objective of this workshop is for each participant to leave with all the information necessary to complete a written marketing plan for the coming year,” Bevers said. “We will use a combination of classroom lectures and small work groups to provide a learning environment similar to our Master Marketer trainings.”

Registration costs $75 per person, and includes educational materials, breaks and lunch. Pre-registration is required. The registration deadline is Dec. 10. To register or to get more information, contact Bevers at (940) 552-9941, extension 231.

Extension offers several Advanced Topic Series agricultural marketing workshops statewide each year. Partial funding for this year’s Advanced Topic Series is provided by the Southern Region Risk Management Education Center, Bevers said.

The series is also underwritten by the sponsors of the Master Marketer Educational System, the Texas Wheat Producers Board, Texas Corn Producers Board, Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas State Cotton Support Committee.