Focus this year on forage production, marketing, genetic testing

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – More Tennesseans are involved in beef cattle farming than any other agricultural enterprise, and the number of beef cattle in our state has increased 300 percent over the past half century.
So it stands to reason some of the most well attended field days held by University of Tennessee Extension and UT AgResearch are related to cattle production. That’s often the case with the Northeast Beef Expo, which will be held this year on October 11 at the UT AgResearch and Education Center in Greeneville. Registration and a trade show will begin at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $10 if pre-registered, and $15 the day of the event, and that fee includes a steak lunch. Participants are asked to pre-register at your county UT Extension office by Monday, Sept. 24.
“Beef farmers are getting increased prices for their cattle here recently, but they also face higher input costs,” says Milton Orr, UT Extension director for Greene County, and one of the coordinators for the Expo. “We want to increase the value of that animal and keep that value on the farm. It must be a value-added process at every level, and we want to put those profits in the farmers’ pockets so they can keep producing beef,” Orr says.
The Northeast Tennessee Beef Expo is an annual presentation of UT Extension and UT AgResearch. Its purpose is to help farmers enhance the efficiency of their operations to make them more profitable.
At the field day, producers can learn about herd health and management, marketing of cattle in-state and out-of-state, and forage production in times of challenging weather. Farmers will also get to see forage equipment demonstrations, and hear from UT experts about factors affecting the selling price of feeder cattle. Panel and expert discussions are also planned on using DNA for genetic testing, and a beef advocacy panel will discuss the process of taking cattle from the farm to market.
“We hope farmers will gain knowledge that will allow them to evaluate the frame size of their cows and adjust for maximum future profits,” says Mannie Bedwell, UT Extension director for Hamblen County, and an organizer of the expo. “The beef advocacy panel should give farmers many good talking points to use when answering consumer questions about beef safety and production practices,” Bedwell says.

Featured speakers at the Expo include Dr. Neal Schrick, head of the Department of Animal Science at the UT Institute of Agriculture, Dr. Justin Rhinehart with UT Extension, and Dr. Gary Bates, a forage expert with UT Extension. Other speakers include Dr. Tonya Amen, a cattle genetic specialist with Pfizer Animals Genetics, and Dr. Bob Weaber, Extension cattle specialist with Kansas State University.
The UT AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville is located off U.S. Highway 70 approximately five miles south of Greeneville on East Allens Bridge Road. For more information, contact your local county UT Extension office by visiting, or call Milton Orr, UT Extension director for Greene County at 423-789-1710.
The complete program for the Expo, directions and a map are available online at
The UT AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville is one of 10 outdoor laboratories operated by the UT AgResearch system as part of the UT Institute of Agriculture. In addition to its agricultural research programs, the UT Institute of Agriculture also provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, and UT Extension offices in every county of the state.
Milton Orr, director, UT Extension, Greene County, 423-0798-1710
Mannie Bedwell, director, UT Extension, Hamblen County, 423-586-6111
Rob Ellis, director, UT AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville, 423-638-6532