A look at the future of the ranching industry will be the topic of the general session of the 67th annual Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course on Aug. 2 to 4 across the Texas A&M University campus.

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Representatives of the Texas ranching industry will once again fill the Rudder Auditorium when the annual Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course returns to campus Aug. 2 to 4 to discuss the future of Texas ranching. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo.)

Nationally and internationally recognized as the largest-attended beef cattle educational program in the world, the annual event is designed to provide resources and up-to-date industry information to Texas agricultural stakeholders, producers, cattle ranchers, veterinarians and landowners. It is hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University.

“We selected our speakers and topics this year to address what ranching is expected to face post-pandemic,” said Jason Cleere, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist in the Department of Animal Science and conference coordinator. “We all know that the pandemic threw us a curve, but many of the issues we face moving forward are not new.”

General session lineup

Looking Toward the Future of Ranching is the general session theme. The general session is scheduled on Aug. 2 at 1:30 p.m. in the Rudder Auditorium.

Topics and speakers include:

• Pushing Beef Demand Higher: Beef Checkoff Update – Molly McAdams, Ph.D., executive vice president of the Texas Beef Council, Austin.

• 2022 Market Outlook: Cattle Prices and Input Costs – Justin Benavides, AgriLife Extension economist in the Texas A&M Department of Agricultural Economics, Amarillo.

• Long Range Weather Planning – Brian Bledsoe, Southern Livestock Standard meteorologist, Colorado Spring, Colorado.

• The Changing Landscape of Texas: Political, Social and Structural Implications for Texas Ranchers – Bart Fischer, Ph.D., co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center in the Texas A&M University Department of Agricultural Economics, Bryan-College Station.

Fischer said he will discuss the recent demographic trends in Texas and what all of that means for Texas agricultural producers.

“We’ll also be discussing what is happening in surrounding states, such as Colorado’s recent ballot initiative—Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation—which has now been put on pause, as well as Gov. Jared Polis’ MeatOut Day proclamation,” Fisher said. “We have to be aware of what could be knocking on our door next.”

Benavidez said he’ll have a bit of good news and bad news to discuss.

“The main challenges the cattle market is facing are the pressure on calf prices and high grain and hay costs,” he said. “We are going to talk about the forecast on calf prices for the next couple of years, as well as the feed prices for the next couple of years. The good news is we think the forecast for calf prices is positive, but with the drought throughout the West, we may still be facing some high feed costs.

“Part of dealing with all these high prices and the recurring drought is risk management, so we will also spend some time talking about programs and strategies to mitigate risk when managing your cattle herd,” Benavidez said.

And so much more

Cleere said the event will kick off a day early with veterinarian continuing education training and a Managing the Ranch Horse daylong training on Aug. 1. These events will be in the Memorial Student Center, MSC, and Thomas G. Hilderbrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex at 3240 F&B Road, respectively.

The short course will include more than 20 sessions covering basic practices, new technologies and hot topics. There also will be six live demonstrations and a trade show featuring an estimated 140 exhibitors.

The cost is $210 for in-person attendance and $160 for online. The prices go up to $250 and $200, respectively, after July 27. To register, go to http://tx.ag/BCSC2021 or call 979-845-6931 for more information.

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