An Educational Program for Traditional and Non-Traditional Beef Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $64,396.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Grant Recipient: Penn state University
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Dr. John Comerford
Penn state University

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, feed/forage, feed formulation, feed rations, grazing management, grazing - continuous, grazing - rotational, housing, implants, livestock breeding, mineral supplements, pasture renovation, preventive practices, stockpiled forages, vaccines
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    Abstract Northeastern beef farmers are uniquely positioned to produce varying beef products with sufficient potential to consumers in a $600 million industry. A recent survey among 28 extension educators in Pennsylvania and New York with responsibility for delivering beef production and marketing information indicated a wide range of skills about environmental, human health, marketing, and basic production practices for traditional, organic, natural, and grass-fed beef. On a scale of “none” to “extensive” skill level, average responses were moderate or less. A followup “test” related to these topics resulted in only two educators answering all questions correctly. There is a defined need to provide additional skills for delivering information for both traditional and non-traditional beef production and marketing practices in the Northeast. The solution to a lack of skills among educators for traditional and non-traditional beef production is a method to educate, create learning opportunities, create information resources, and provide a forum for farmers to receive the information. The source of the information should include both farmer interaction and science-based delivery. These sources will allow a more complete skill set to emerge because on-farm information and experiences can be coupled with science-based data to allow delivery of complete information with more utility to producers. Delivery of information should be made directly as well as digitally. Thus, farmers can share expertise from other farmers while having unbiased data available to assess the possible impact on their farm, environment, customers, and markets.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    A. Project participants have indicated a need for additional skills for educating beef farmers. Pre- and Post survey and testing will indicate participants increased needed skills by 75%.
    B. 20 educators who build a wide range of skills related to traditional and non-traditional beef production systems will become proficient in delivering science based information to beef producers.
    C. One thousand 1000 beef farmers, particularly those with non-traditional enterprises, will benefit from regional and local educational programs conducted by the trained educators. On-site and post-program evaluations will document quality of information delivery and adoption of information by farmers.
    Project Performance Target:
    20 educators who improve their knowledge and skills in environmental, human health, marketing and basic production practices for traditional and non-tradition beef production systems will proficiently deliver regional and local educational programs to 1,000 farmers with 25,000 cattle, and document the quality of information delivery and adoption of information by farmers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.