OPINION: Is a grass fed finished business a viable option for cattle producers?

Columnist David Zirnhelt discusses an upcoming seminar taking place through TRU’s Applied Sustainable Ranching Program.

There will be another ranching seminar at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake Dec. 5, with part of the course being offered on cattle production.

Producers, processors and retailers will be presenting their information.

Why might you want to come if you are in the livestock business?

The compelling reason you might want to come is both to contribute and to garner current knowledge about the business of producing and marketing local beef in particular.

Would this be worth the $50 fee (includes a grass-fed beef burger for lunch)? I think it is worthwhile. It is more cost effective than trying to find and afford a seminar in Alberta or elsewhere in B.C.

Fifty bucks would hardly buy you the fuel to get to Kamloops in your diesel pickup.

The entry fee helps pay the costs of travel for the resource people coming from away. In business terms the cost to you or your business is a cost of doing business.

Consider it continuing education or professional development.

The first presentation in the morning will be by Gillian Watt, P. Ag, MBA on the gross margins and return on investment for a 100-head grass finishing business. She will involve those present in the process.

The same will be done for retail and wholesale meat sales.

A panel of local businesses involved in the value chain will discuss the challenges and opportunities, including key success factors and best management practices for existing and new entrants.

Also you will hear from a consulting team looking at developing a BC Meats Centre of Excellence, involving research and development and training of people in the meat processing.

This could be one of the next generation of abattoirs and processing facilities focusing on meats and meat products for the local and B.C. markets.

If you are interested in adding value to your products and marketing to the B.C. markets, this is for you. You will get to know some of the players, local and regional.

We need processing capacity in the region.

The workshop starts at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec 5 at TRU in Williams Lake in Room 1251.

It is best to reserve a spot. Call the TRU at 398-8000. Or call Gillian Watt at 250-319-2367.

David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which started at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.

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