I spent the last weekend on a variety of pretty intense classroom experiences and a couple of tours.
The first was "Beef 200", put on by WSU, which was sold as a way to learn about the techniques for making great grass-fed beef. It was a 12 hour course, started at 8am and ended at 8:30pm, and included a hands-on beef harvest demonstration and a lot of work related to looking at live beef and trying to figure out how they'd grade for meat quality and for efficiency. There was also a section on genetics, which gave me the basics on how to read an AI catalog, and there was a bit of socializing as well, since everyone there was interested in the same sorts of things.
The country living expo was a day-long event, held on the last saturday of january, that offered classes in all sorts of things. I chose semi-randomly things like "managing a sow for maximum litter size", "growing grapes in western washington" "arc welding" and "pasture to plate: raising cattle". I missed my selection "raising prime beef" because the farm-kill guys showed up early at my farm and I stayed to get that going.
The final part was a tour on sunday of a small working beef ranch; it's a cow-calf operation run by a local rancher. It was pretty interesting because he was pretty open about the economics of it, and had a great handle on exactly what it cost him to feed his cattle, what his market was, and so on. He was running 70 cows.
I'll be writing a longer entry on each of these in the next few days; just wanted to let you guys know what I was doing over the weekend.
3 weeks ago