Beef Research Facility Improving Quality, Price and Learning Opportunities

Beef Research Facility Improving Quality, Price and Learning Opportunities

Ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 4, 2011. From left to right: Southeast Provost Ronald Rosati, Department of Agriculture Chair Dr. Mike Aide, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, USDA Area Director Greg Batson, USDA Rural Development Representative Phyllis Minner and Southeast Regent Al Spradling

A new Beef Research Facility at Southeast Missouri State University’s David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center will work to improve beef quality and price while providing students with some terrific learning opportunities.

“The Beef Research Facility is a regional asset devoted to improving farm profitability, providing innovative research and, most importantly, educating the next generation of animal producers in southern Missouri,” says Mike Aide, chair of the Department of Agriculture.

The Beef Research Facility is a cooperative venture among Southeast’s Department of Agriculture, the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Missouri Extension.

Together, they are providing direction in using DNA sequencing to better predict meat quality and feed efficiency. Both of these help produce a high quality and a more healthy meat product and at a more affordable price to the local consumer.

The Beef Research Facility is a building with adjoining animal holding pens designed for demonstrating feeder cattle practices and conducting research involving meat animal quality and feed efficiency.

“Collectively, these two facilities constitute the most sophisticated beef research investment in southern Missouri,” Aide says.

“This investment by the Department of Agriculture represents a commitment to the beef industry in southern Missouri, where the industry trend is to produce superior cattle at prices affordable by the citizens of Missouri,” Aide says. “By value adding to beef cattle, the local family farms of Missouri will obtain greater revenue by selling superior beef and improving overall farm profitability.”

Southeast undergraduate students at all stages will use the beef research facility for their class-laboratory experience as well as undergraduate research projects with faculty.

Southeast’s beef herd currently includes about 60 cow-calf pairs. With the new facility, though, the number of cows will substantially increase, becoming a mixed herd with Angus-Simmental bloodlines.

Dr. Julie Weathers, an animal scientist from Texas Tech University who recently joined the faculty at Southeast Missouri State, says, “We have lots of room and opportunity to grow here, and we should take advantage of that, so our students can gain the most out of the education we can offer them.”

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