October 12, 2020

Interpretive Summary: SDSU Beef 2020 increases participant knowledge of the beef industry

Interpretive Summary: SDSU Beef 2020 increases participant knowledge of the beef industry.

By: Dr. Emily Taylor

The cattle industry is represented by a large variety of producers – seedstock operators, backgrounders and feedlots, with very few producers maintaining ownership of their animals from birth to harvest.  Due to large changes in marketing methods, producers’ economic returns are more impacted by the quality of their cattle than in past. While producers are very knowledgeable within their specific segment of the industry, they may lack the knowledge needed to understand management decisions throughout the animals life. To help bridge the gap, South Dakota State University (SDSU) developed a program (Beef 2020) targeting cattle producers, beef purveyors, and allied industry representatives to address the pre-harvest management factors that influence beef carcass value through a hands-on workshop.

The objectives of this workshop were to 1) provide hands-on learning activities involving live cattle and carcass evaluation, factors that affect palatability, and carcass fabrication to effectively develop an understanding of factors that create value differences among beef cattle, and 2) review feeding management and marketing techniques that may be utilized in the raising and marketing of high-value beef cattle. The authors used participant survey results, as well as results from a focus group to evaluate the programs effectiveness.

Over the last eight years of Beef 2020, participants have suggested that the program provided valuable information to participants by increasing their knowledge of beef carcass traits, carcass value, and management factors that influence those traits. The focus group was used to assess the program’s effectiveness, strengths and weakness by modifying the program to fit the changing needs and learning goals of the participants. This program could be used as a model for other Extension professional looking to create a program linking livestock producers to their end products. To learn more about this program, visit Translational Animal Science.