Drought soaks up focus at cattle tradeshow

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:41 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M campus became the home base for 2,000 people attending the Beef Cattle Short Course tradeshow.

The main topic of conversation this year, drought. With 140 companies represented, 80 different speakers and thousands of people of all ages, College Station is their destination this week.

“A vast majority of the folks that come are from Texas, but from all over Texas. And then we’ll have usually around 20 to 25 different states and a dozen different countries that will attend as well. And our international presence this year is up,” Jason Cleere, an Associate Professor and Beef Cattle Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, said. “Anything from a 10-year-old kid that’s in junior high, that’s coming with their parents, all the way up to seasoned ranchers with thousands of acres.”

With major drought conditions around the area, Cleere says this year’s focus is something affecting everyone right now.

“The big buzz around the trade show and just the event is the drought,” Cleere said. “We’ve had a lot of our speakers have been kind of working that into their topics. And how producers, you know, mitigate the consequences of drought.”

Ranchers around the country are struggling to hold onto their cattle, often selling them off in order to stay afloat. Ron Gill, a professor and Livestock Specialist, says it’s also important to address what happens once the rain does come.

“Our main objective in any kind of ranching environment is the stewardship of the land resources. So that’s kind of where we approach the drought and what can we do to manage our natural resources, so that when it does start raining, we can come back in with good genetics and good cattle and be profitable again,” Gill said.

On top of a lack of rain, prices across the board are skyrocketing due to inflation. Gill says he’s happily surprised with the turnout.

“Even with the increased gas prices and hotel room rates and everything else, people are craving to get back out a little bit,” he said.

According to Cleere, the tradeshow brings around $1.5 million to the local economy over a three-day period.

“During a time, there’s not a lot going on because the students are gone. So, from a hotel and restaurant perspective, the community really likes us to be in town because we do contribute to the economy with that,” Cleere said.

Other major topics at the tradeshow included embryo transfer and genetic testing.

The tradeshow is held at Rudder Theater Complex and the Memorial Student Center.

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