Consumers increasingly are interested in finding locally produced products and, in some cases, grass-finished beef. As a result, some beef producers might be considering a return to a pre-mid-century model of finishing their own cattle and marketing it locally, rather than shipping their stock to Midwest-based feedlots.

The University of Kentucky two-part Pasture-Based Beef Finishing Workshop will help them analyze their operations and explore the financial potential for locally finished beef.

"The farmers will be able to make a decision about whether they want to go to a completely pasture-based system or if they want to do a grain-on-grass supplemental system," said Lee Meyer, Extension professor in the UK Department of Agricultural Economics. "There are pros and cons to both, and there are risks, different costs and different product quality."

Funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Education Program, two workshops have already been held in central and eastern Kentucky. A third two-day workshop will be held in western Kentucky at the Muhlenberg County Extension office Jan. 5 and 6. This workshop will be geared toward farmers with experience in cattle and grazing, who are interested in exploring the locally produced beef alternative.

"There are lots of examples of financially successful locally-marketed beef, but there are examples on the flipside as well," Meyer said.