July 19, 2010

Pennsylvania beef producers will benefit from a new profitability study the Center for Beef Excellence’s Economic Development Team is conducting in partnership with Penn State University.

“The goal of this study is to find alternative ways for beef producers to feed cattle profitably,” said J. Willard Lemaster, executive director for the Center for Beef Excellence. “By partnering with Penn State’s beef production class, the project will also help the students, our future industry leaders, gain real-life experience in analyzing different production practices.”

As part of the center’s Integrated Resource Management, or IRM, program, Lemaster and university faculty will teach the students about the profitability and performance measurement program called Standardized Performance Analysis, or SPA.

As part of a semester-long research project, the students will develop an SPA for two beef operations that are incorporating several new production concepts. The farms will add stockers – 500-900 pound animals – into a cow-calf enterprise, and convert hay ground to pasture ground using the stockers to harvest the forage rather than making hay. The students will analyze the subsequent purchase of winter forage needs in the absence of hay making.

The center and faculty will assess the students’ findings and make recommendations to the participating producers. The information will also be used to help other Pennsylvania beef operations.

The center reminds beef producers that a maximum of $3,000 is available for up to 12 farms to develop their own on-farm IRM team. Funding is available for 18 months of the IRM team operation and may be used to reimburse team members or cover up to 50 percent of expenses incurred in identifying solutions to farm problems.

A mentor will be provided to help coordinate each team meeting and provide input. Teams are encouraged to meet monthly or bimonthly to evaluate the operation, set goals and develop action plans for targeted areas, and assess progress.

Applications for IRM teams are now being accepted by contacting the center at 717-425-5545, or via e-mail at Lemaster@beefexcellence.com. IRM seminars and training sessions for all interested producers will be coordinated through the center.

For more information about the Center for Beef Excellence, visit the website at www.beefexcellence.org.

Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085; jkummer@state.pa.us