Researchers will explain how ranchers can use the genetic predispositions of their cattle herd to enhance rangeland management during a beef symposium later this month at California State University-Chico's farm.
This year's Chico State Beef Symposium on Feb. 23 will touch on a new concept -- merging livestock genetics with on-the-ground grazing management, says Tracy Schohr, a University of California Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor.
"This symposium will tie together cattle selection with livestock distribution that will lead into conversations with our producer panel about fire fuel load reduction with grazing, endangered species, water quality and more," Schohr tells Western Farm Press in an email.
Schohr, a former official at the California Cattlemen's Association and California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, will kick off the talks by providing a local view of the challenges ranchers face in trying to improve livestock grazing across public and private rangelands, according to organizers. Her presentation will include insight from recent surveys of local ranchers who have been affected by drought, conversion of grazing lands, catastrophic fire and most recently increasing pressure from a diverse set of predators, according to the meeting agenda.
Schohr will also discuss findings from emerging research that explores livestock distribution grazing and management practices to meet natural resource objectives on public lands, organizers say.
Having earned her bachelor's degree in agricultural business from Chico State and her master's degree from UC-Davis, the 35-year-old Schohr was hired as a UCCE advisor based in Quincy, Calif., in 2017. Her efforts have included educating the public and policymakers about the importance of ranching to the overall economy, and the importance of grazing to the environment.
Other speakers will include Chico State professor Kasey DeAtley, who will discuss beef cattle genetic technology; University of Arizona range extension specialist Larry Howery, who will examine the role of "nature vs. nurture" in grazing distribution; and New Mexico State University professor Derek Bailey, who will discuss implementation of genetic selection to improve cattle grazing distribution, according to the agenda.
For example, if cattle are genetically predisposed to be high climbers or bottom dwellers, that information can help ranchers optimize distribution in the rugged rangeland pastures of the western United States, the symposium's organizers explain.
Co-sponsored by the UCCE and Chico State, the symposium will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include a trade show, breakfast refreshments and lunch. Registration is $25 (or $35 after Feb. 20), and $10 for students, including FFA and 4-H members. Click here to register.