CENTERVILLE The 2005 Cow Country Congress will be held Sept. 29 at the Wallrath Champion Ranch, a registered and commercial Brangus operation near here.
A tour of the “showcase” ranch will top the educational event, said Tommy Neyland, Texas Cooperative Extension agricultural and natural resources agent in Leon County.
The ranch encompasses 8,000 acres of forestland, with a 1,500-head herd, private lakes, multiple dwellings and 25 miles of blacktop, Neyland said.
Program topics and speakers will include national animal identification, Dr. Jason Cleere, Extension beef cattle specialist; practical cattle management, Tuffy Loftin, Champion Ranch manager; source and age verification of cattle, Loftin; chemical weed control, Darrel Evans, Dow Chemical Co.; and the legal aspects of deer hunting leases, attorney Judon Fambrough.
The national animal identification program is a plan to electronically tag cattle and enter unique identifier numbers in a U.S. database. When the plan is in place, it will be possible to track cattle from the pasture to the supermarket.
Though some beef producers have expressed concern about the program, most industry experts are behind the system, saying it will improve beef quality and insure food safety.
Neyland believes it will benefit beef producers directly.
“Animal identification simply makes sense to me,” he said. “I don’t go out and buy a used car that doesn’t have a title. I think that a little more information on the animals we purchase will only make our industry stronger in the future.”
The ranch tour will be in the morning while the outside temperature is still relatively cool, Neyland said.
The tour will be followed by a rib-eye steak lunch, which will be included in the $10 registration fee.
Fees will be collected at the door, but participants should R.S.V.P. to the Extension office in a participating county to ensure there are enough lunches to go around, Neyland said.
Participating counties include Leon, (903) 536-2531; Freestone,(903)389-3436; Anderson, (903) 723-3735; Houston, (936) 544-3255; Madison, (936) 348-2234; Walker, (936) 435-2426; and Trinity, (936) 642-1421.