I've been on the road this week, it is late as I write this and I’m about punchy at this point but I’m getting pretty excited about the Grassfed Exchange meeting in North Dakota in mid August.
I don’t usually “do” this meeting because it’s so specific to the grass finishing segment of the beef industry and therefore only about 5% of the whole industry, therefore a similar amount of our readership. That segment is growing, however.
More important, any of you who follow my work know I value highly the grazing and management knowledge these folks have attained to help them finish cattle on forage with very little outside inputs.
I keep hammering on this point and I’m going to say it again: great grazing management is the last frontier in the beef industry. It can double, triple and for most real students of the art it can eventually quadruple stocking rate. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, you can do with beef cattle can make that kind of money and lower risk from drought and rising input costs.
This year’s Grassfed Rising conference in Bismark, North Dakota, is simply loaded with speakers who can help you move in that direction.
The event begins August 20 with pasture walks on the ranches of Gabe and Paul Brown at Bismark and Ken Miller at Mandan. You may remember the articles we’ve written in Beef Producer with both these men in the past. These two and a few others such as Gene Goven of Turtle Lake, North Dakota, have been the real leaders in the soil health movement now sweeping the nation.
Many other sharp graziers from that area and from across the nation will be there to share ideas, ask questions and hopefully raise issues the managers themselves may not mention.
You can get more information on the pasture walks and register on the Grassfed Exchange website.
The meeting itself begins the next day in Bismark and features private consultant and economist Bill Helming of Kansas City, Canadian mob grazier Neil Dennis, North Dakota organic grower Fred Kirschenmann, and the ever-controversial Don Huber, Emeritus professor of plant pathology at Purdue University and an opponent of genetically modified plant technology.
Gabe Brown will speak some more about their years of experience on the ranch. Ken Miller will talk more about the operation he and his wife manage. Missouri soil health specialist and mob grazier Doug Peterson will speak about the connections between livestock and well-managed grazing and soil health.
Another speaker is Vermont grazier Abe Collins, a consultant who specializes in management for topsoil formation and monitoring technologies.
There will be others, too, and opportunities to meet and network with sellers and buyers of grassfed beef cattle and beef products.
Information on registration, the pasture walks and hotel accommodations is all on the group website.