ROGERSVILLE — Joe Wheeler State Park is the setting for this year's biannual Alabama Forage Conference, slated for Dec. 3-4.

Registration is underway now.

A pre-conference tour will be held Dec. 3 at the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center. 

Alabama Extension forage specialist Leanne Dillard said the tour and conference will combine to provide valuable information.

"On the tour, people will see the current research being conducted on many different areas of the forage industry," she said.

"Some of these research areas include legume-tall fescue mixtures, forage gardens, cool-season forage mixtures, and calf weaning and backgrounding."

During the conference on Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be numerous speakers discussing a variety of topics related to diversifying Alabama forage systems.

The keynote speaker will be Paul Beck, associate professor and endowed chair of Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Management at Oklahoma State University.

His research deals with nutrition and production and management of growing and finishing beef cattle. It is focused on the use of annuals in tall fescue and bermudagrass systems to increase forage quality and extend the grazing season. 

Other session topics include alfalfa and bermudagrass, grazing cover crops, and forage hot topics.

There will also be a tradeshow where producers can interact with more than 20 companies and stakeholder groups. 

Online registration for the conference is open until Nov. 19 at a cost of $65 per person, which includes both the conference and the pre-conference tour.

To register, go to the Alabama Cattlemen's website at Bamabeef.org and search Alabama Forage Conference.

Dillard said in the 20-year span of the conference, this is the first time it's been in northwest Alabama.

"We're highlighting all the research we have going on there, and all over the state, really," Dillard said. "We'll be showing a 20-minute video on all our research around the state."

According to Dillard, the idea behind the conference is to give attendees ideas they can take back and use immediately.

"It's about managing all livestock systems and the information that comes from this conference is certainly valuable," he said.

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