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Course is carryover from beef effort
By VICKI JOHNSON
Ohio correspondent

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Ethanol plants and their impact on feeding cattle, an update on meeting EPS standards and the difference between feeding heifers and steers were topics covered recently at the Great Lakes Professional Cattle Feeding and Marketing Short Course.

The class took place in the Junior Fair Building on the Wood County Fairgrounds. “(Bowling Green) is kind of the heart of the cattle-feeding industry in Ohio,” Rust said. “It’s a centralized site where a majority of the feedlots are located.”

Other sites include Dekalb, Ill.; East Lansing, Mich.; and Wyoming, Ontario, Canada.

“We’ve been doing this for a number of years,” said Steven Rust, professor of animal science at Michigan State University. “It started out as a cooperative effort amongst five states to try to improve the economic conditions in the beef cattle industry.”

A five-state Beef Cattle Initiative – Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan – studied the possibility of forming a program in which cattle were started in the southern portion of the five-state area and raised to slaughter in the northern part where the slaughterhouses are located.

“We thought we would get a more consistent product,” he said. Although the project didn’t develop as hoped, the annual short course remains to keep producers updated on the latest research.

“We view the Ontario industry as part of the eastern North American industry,” Rust said. “It’s important that we have a good relationship.”

If an Ontario slaughterhouse closes temporarily or permanently, producers there sell cattle into U.S. markets and sometimes U.S. producers sell cattle to Canadian markets.

“In the end, if you lose a plant, when that all settles out, we’re going to lose producers,” he said. “The packing industry really determines what size your industry is going to be.”

There are relatively few cattle producers east of the Mississippi River.

Including Ontario and the eastern United States, Rust said, “We wouldn’t equal the cattle in the state of Kansas.

This farm news was published in the February 8, 2006 issue of Farm World.

2/8/2006