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Howdy! Welcome to Texas!

The 44th Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Annual Meeting wraps up in Houston.

by Kelli Fulkerson for Angus Productions Inc.

HOUSTON, Texas (April 19, 2012) — The 44th Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Research Symposium and Annual Meeting traveled to Houston April 18-21. This year’s hosts were Texas A&M University, Texas AgriLife Extension and the American Brahman Breeders Association (ABBA).

Event planning began two years ago when Chris Shivers, ABBA, and Joe Paschal, Texas AgriLife Extension, approached the BIF Board of Directors requesting permission to host the event in the Lonestar state. Both men recognized the importance of Bos indicus cattle in U.S. beef industry and wanted to showcase that for all industry members to see.

“Our goal with the 2012 annual meeting was to bring it back to the southern region, really showcase what Bos indicus cattle have to offer today and the strides we are making with our genetics — not only here in Texas, but throughout the southern United States,” said Shivers. “We encourage all attendees to be understanding of environmental climatic regions and appreciate the Brahman’s role and efficiency in today’s beef industry.”

Texas AgriLife Extension provided a very integral part of the educational content during the meeting. Several professors from the Texas A&M Department of Animal Science presented valuable research presentations.

“Texas AgriLife is focused on providing adults an educational outlet,” Paschal said. “We want our industry members to have opportunities to go and network with people from all over the country.”

The first general session was welcomed by Russell Cross, professor and interim department head, Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University. Cross had two major messages for attendees — be prepared to stand up for this industry in order to combat issues such as lean, finely textured beef, called “pink slime” by the popular press.

“Over the past few decades, new technologies have been discovered,” Cross said. “We, as an industry, haven’t done our job to explain what it is that we are doing and why. This is essential in the future of agriculture as it’s known today.”

Cross also stressed the importance of university agricultural departments, especially departments of animal science.

“In a decade, we will have a third fewer departments of animal sciences at our land-grant universities,” he said. “We can’t depend on just state or federal dollars anymore.” Cross noted that in May, several heads of animal science departments across the country will be meeting to address these concerns.

“We are coming to industry,” he noted, adding that they need help from industry in the form of funding, not leadership.

If you couldn’t make it to Houston, Angus Productions Inc. (API) — in cooperation with BIF and with sponsorship of LiveAuctions.tv — provides event coverage of the BIF symposium at www.BIFconference.com. Visit the site’s Newsroom for summaries of the presentations along with the accompanying proceedings papers, PowerPoints, audio and video interviews. Visit the Awards page for announcement of the Seedstock and Commercial Producer of the Year winners; Roy Wallace Memorial Scholarship winners; Frank Baker essay contest winners; and winners of BIF’s Ambassador, Pioneer and Continuing Service awards.

Next year’s event will be hosted June 12-15 in Oklahoma City, Okla.


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