​​UT Extension Offers Updated Materials, New Speakers


Angus cattle on UT ETREC pasture

The UT Extension Grass-Fed Beef Conference is designed to help producers address the challenges of managing forages, finishing cattle and marketing beef using pasture-based production systems. Photo courtesy UTIA.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For the second consecutive year, University of Tennessee Extension will offer cattle producers a “one-stop” opportunity to learn about producing and marketing grass-fed beef. This year's conference offers new materials and speakers for the benefit of those interested in grass-fed beef production.

Called the Grass-Fed Beef Conference, the educational workshop will be held on two dates at two locations in 2017: June 28 in Spring Hill, Tenn., and June 29,in Athens, Tenn. Both conferences will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time and adjourn at 4:30 p.m. 

The same conference sessions will be provided at both Spring Hill and Athens locations. Educational topics will include:

Considerations for Grass-Fed Finishing
Developing a Forage System for Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-Fed Beef Nutrition
Branding and Labeling Considerations for Grass-Fed Beef 
Grass-Fed Beef Producer Experiences –Video Farm Tours

Consumer interest in purchasing local meats from farmers that use specialized production practices has motivated many cattle producers to adopt grass-fed beef production systems on their farms. Special claims such as “Grass-Fed” or “Pasture-Raised” are increasingly used on meat product labels, promotional materials and in popular press. According to UT forage specialist and conference presenter, Gary Bates, “Transitioning from a conventional cow-calf operation to pasture-based cattle finishing can present many challenges and often entails a knowledge base and skill set distinct from more traditional pasture management programs.”

Value-added activities related to processing and marketing can also create hurdles for producers transitioning to grass-fed beef. Other conference presenters include UT extension specialists in beef nutrition and marketing, and University of Kentucky livestock and forage management extension economist, Greg Halich, co-author of the publication “Producer's Guide to Pasture-Based Finishing.”

Pre-registration for each conference is required by June 20, 2017. The cost is $40 per person per event. Lunch will be provided. To register, go online to tiny.utk.edu/grassfedbeef17​. Conference location information will be emailed to registered participants the week prior to the events. The conference qualifies as one educational course requirement for TAEP Producer Diversification Value Added Sector only. 

In addition to the general conference sessions, a free, pre-conference tour of UT’s Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (MTREC) in Spring Hill will be offered on June 27 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CDT. The pre-conference tour will show participants some of the current forage and livestock research being conducted, including information on: 

Native warm-season grass trials
Integrated crop-livestock systems
Intercropping annual cash crops with forages  

The pre-conference tour is free to registered participants from either the Spring Hill or Athens conference locations, but an additional pre-registration is required. 

Funding for these conferences has been provided, in part, through the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center and the United States Department of Agriculture. 

For more information, visit the website for the Center for Profitable Agriculture: ag.tennessee.edu/cpa. Look for a link under the “educational events” menu.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.



Chuck Grigsby, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777, cgrigsby@utk.edu​