Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Planned for Beef Research Facility

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 27, 2011 — A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for Feb. 4 to mark the launch of a new Beef Research Facility at Southeast Missouri State University’s David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center.

The event is set for 10 a.m. at the Center. Participating in the ceremony will be U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, Southeast President Kenneth W. Dobbins, Missouri Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Dennis Baird, USDA Area Director Greg Batson and Dr. Mike Aide, chair of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture.  The public is invited to attend.

“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,” Aide said.

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.

The Beef Research Facility is located on an approximate 80-square-foot area next to the animal research facility at Southeast’s Barton Agriculture Research Center. Funding for the facility was made possible by Southeast Missouri State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development.

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

He says 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, Aide said. Both of these help produce a high quality and a more healthy meat product and at a more affordable price to the local consumer, he said.

“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 said. “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, Aide said, 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, Aide said, 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.”