Grass Fed Beef Information Workshop/Tour

Manitoba beef producers are facing multiple challenges; the low market price of cattle, the high cost of feed grains and the ever increasing costs of transportation are pressuring an industry that is still recovering from BSE.  Producers need more options to help improve their profitability and enable them to stay in business.  For those who have the support and wherewithal to access niche markets more profit can be made. One such enterprise is grass fed beef; using lower cost forages to produce and grow beef.  Research studies have shown that grass fed beef is a healthier food product since it is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and vitamin E than conventionally raised grain fed beef.

Producers who are already grass finishing some cattle and others who are interested in grass fed beef production, are in the process of forming the Manitoba Grass Feed Beef Association, with the guidance and assistance from the Manitoba Forage Council and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.  Recently this new association was involved in putting on a ‘Grass Fed Beef Conference’.  The conference sold out with 125 participants; there is great interest in grass finishing, but there is a lot to learn.

One of the key components of grass finishing is to have the right type of beef genetics.  Producers need more training on how to select the right type of cattle and develop a strategy for sourcing cattle suitable for grass finishing. They need to develop the skill set to select cattle that will gain weight efficiently on grass and produce desirable carcasses.  A two-day workshop/tour will address these issues and give producers the opportunity to learn from Mr. Todd Churchill.  Part of the workshop will include a tour of a producer’s operation to evaluate live cattle in the field.

Mr. Churchill is the owner of Thousand Hills Cattle Company, a 100% grass fed beef company that sells into a number of markets in the Twin City area of Minnesota.  Mr. Churchill was the keynote speaker at the Grass Fed Beef Conference; he was given a very good evaluation and the attendees stated they would like to learn more from him.

Project Objective:
The objectives of this workshop/tour are:
•    To bring a leading expert, Mr. Todd Churchill back to Manitoba to provide technical information about cattle selection for grass fed markets
•    To provide a practical training event that will add to the skill set of producers;  to give them more production options or to enhance their existing enterprises by considering a grass fed beef enterprise
•    To further develop the grass feed beef initiative and help beef producers become competitive in this dynamic industry

Project Contact: Glenn Friesen, Juanita Kopp, MAFRI
Ph: (204) 745-5672 / (204) 825-4302
Start Date: April 2008
Completion Date: August 2008
Funding Partner: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Greencover Canada Program Technical Assistance Component, MAFRI, MFC.
Project Results: Gearld Fry Grass Fed Beef Tour in Manitoba