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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Beef Symposium Targets Marketing Tools

January 5, 2005

LANCASTER, Ohio — Raising beef cattle not only requires the skills to produce a high-quality product, but also the knowledge to develop and implement a plan to bring that product to market.

The Ohio State University Extension Ohio Beef Cattle Marketing Symposium, being held Jan. 28-29 at The Liberty Center in Lancaster, Ohio, will explore issues associated with marketing plans and management tools, such as livestock insurance, live cattle contracting, auction markets and participation in branded or value-added programs.

The cost for the symposium, including handout materials and two meals, will be $50 for the first participant from an agricultural operation and $25 for each additional person affiliated with that operation. The symposium is limited to 150 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. The program is targeted to cow/calf and feedlot owners, beef marketing and cattle processing facility owners, agriculture lenders, and educators.

"With the beef cattle industry currently at the top of an apparent 10-15 year cycle, grid and value added marketing in their infancy, and growing industry and consumer concerns for individual animal ID, animal trace back, and quality assurance, the timing is right for an in-depth beef cattle marketing program in Ohio," said Stan Smith, an OSU Extension program assistant in Fairfield County. "While exploring all the marketing alternatives and tools currently available to Ohio and nearby cattlemen, the objective of this two-day program will be to send participants home with a well thought out and flexible marketing plan that offers profitability, as well as price protection, regardless of what segment of the beef cattle industry they may participate in."

Featured speakers and presenters of the program will include Western Kentucky Extension livestock economist Nevil Speer, OSU Extension livestock economist Brian Roe, Francis Fluharty the Ohio Beef Industry Center leader, OSU beef specialist Steve Boyles, and OSU Extension meats specialist Henry Zerby, in addition to several other OSU Extension and Ohio livestock industry representatives.

One presentation of interest will include information on the new Grid-Max software, a Web-based program developed by John Saunders of IMI Global to help cattlemen more easily identify marketing grids — tools designed to attract the proper mix of cattle to fill the demand of a brand or the orders of specific customers.

"Over the past decade, the number of finished cattle marketed on grids in the United States has expanded multiple times and now encompasses nearly 50 percent of the total supply. Back when there were just a couple of grids, the message could easily get through the system. Now, with every buyer having one or more grids to choose from, there is increasing confusion among sellers," said Smith. "Both buyers and sellers of finished cattle will benefit greatly if the right cattle are marketed on the right grid. "Grid" marketing is one of the marketing tools (symposium) participants will discover in depth."

For more information regarding the Ohio Beef Cattle Marketing Symposium, contact OSU Extension educators John Grimes in Highland County ( or (937) 393-1918) or Al Gahler in Fairfield County ( or (740) 653.5419).

Candace Pollock
Stan Smith