Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council will co-host the 2011 Winter Forage Conference at three locations on Jan. 18-20. 

The conference will cover this year’s theme, “Essential Topics in Animal Agriculture: What Farmers Need to Know,” and will feature keynote speaker Temple Grandin, an internationally known expert on animal behavior.

Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, is listed in the “2010 Time 100,” Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Well-known for her autism advocacy, Grandin has designed almost 50 percent of the livestock control systems for cattle in the United States and was the subject of the 2010 biopic “Temple Grandin,” which won seven Emmy Awards in August. Other featured speakers include Fred Provenza, professor of wildland resources at Utah State University, and John Anderson, livestock economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The daylong conference will be held at three locations

  • Tuesday, Jan. 18, in Wytheville, Va., at the Wytheville Meeting Center;
  • Wednesday, Jan. 19, in Madison Heights, Va., at the Madison Heights Community Center; and
  • Thursday, Jan. 20, in Weyers Cave, Va., at the Weyers Cave Community Center.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the conference will adjourn at 3 p.m. each day.

This is an ideal opportunity for livestock producers to gain an understanding of animal psychology and behavior, leading to reduced stress and injury to animals and people, higher-quality animal products, a safer work environment, improved animal welfare, and lower total costs of production. “Understanding livestock psychology can help create a safer and healthier environment for the both the producer and the animal. This conference will help producers grasp why animals behave in certain manners and hopefully help the farmer improve their bottom line,” said Gordon Groover, Extension farm business management specialist at Virginia Tech.

For more information or to register for the conference, contact Chris Teutsch at (434) 292-5331. The $35 early registration fee must be postmarked by Jan. 3, 2011, while on-site registration is $50 per person. Students can register for $15.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, First Bank and Trust, and Pfizer Animal Health are all conference sponsors. Visit the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council website for registration information and to learn more about the conference.



Written by Parker Welch of Chestertown, Md., a senior majoring in dairy science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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