Greg Halich, UK assistant Extension professor in agricultural economics and one of the workshop organizers, said there are significant producer challenges in such a system.

"Bringing animals to a finishing weight in a reasonable time frame is no easy task and requires not only a fundamental understanding of how beef cattle mature, but also an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of various forages. Butchering can be a challenge, with issues such as federal inspection, aging and scheduling being potential problems. And marketing may be the biggest obstacle to selling grass-finished animals," he said.

Meyer said the workshop is a response to help both sides of the supply chain.

"We're trying to help satisfy that consumer demand (for a locally produced product) and really help producers find a way to profitably provide consumers with what they're looking for," he said.

The first day's session will include discussions about pasture management, production costs, production systems, cattle breeds, marketing systems, market outlets and butchering and processing. The second session will go into more depth. Participants will have a chance to analyze specific production and marketing scenarios.

"If you're running 100 head of stocker cattle right now, you're not going to finish all those head and have a market for it all right away. You're going to have to grow your business," Halich said.

For that reason, he said, all aspects of a successful locally produced beef operation would be explored — everything from different types of forage and finishing methods through options for processing.

Meyer and Halich will teach the workshop along with other members of the UK College of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension staff and faculty, including Extension Meat Specialist Gregg Rentfrow, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Jeff Lehmkuhler and Sarah Lovett, Extension associate in agricultural economics.



To register for the workshop sessions, contact Lovett at 859-257-7272, ext. 281 or sarah.lovett@uky.edu or the local county Extension office. These offices can be found at http://ces.ca.uky.edu/ces/. Cost per session is $10. Lunch is included.