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National County Agent Association Honors Hughes
Lancaster Farming Staff
LANCASTER (Lancaster Co.)
Lancaster livestock agent Chet
Hughes first met his objectives
when he noticed the kind of
response he received from a two
day workshop in July 1993.
Cattle feeders across the county
were so impressed with the infor
mation provided about under
standing beef cattle grading and
quality assurance at the workshop
that they wanted more.
So Hughes, again, helped set up
another workshop during the same
time this year.
Hughes ’ work on showing cattle
feeders how to evaluate cattle for
market, including live and carcass
trait evaluation, so impressed the
judges at the annual meeting of the
National Association of County
Agricultural Agents that they hon
ored him in September with the
Search for Excellence recognition
in Casper. Wyo.
The award was presented,
according to Hughes, for his
efforts in working with the cattle
feeders in this area on producing
safe, low-fat animal products.
Lancaster County is home to as
many as 100,000 head of fed cattle,
which makes up a large potion of
meat products on the eastern sea
board, according to Hughes.
(There are no statistics available
from the Pennsylvania Department
of Agriculture on how many cattle
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are raised for beef in the county.)
The goals of the program, which
was authored by Dr. Bill Henning,
Penn State extension red meats
specialist, were to have cattle feed
ers understand quality and yield
grading, particularly the USDA
grading systems, and how they
work. The other goal was to get
producers concerened about qual
ity assurance, including under
standing of materials used in car
ing for cattle.
‘ ‘ Producers see the cattle graded
live at the market, but they don’t
often get to see them hanging on
the rail and what they look like and
how they’re graded in carcass
form,” said Hughes. Many who
grade the cattle, like the judge in
the show ring, have to make esti
mates on finish and approximate
percentage of the body in actual
red meat. ‘ ‘People find out that it’s
not real accurate when you’re sit
ting there eyeballing the cattle and
making that decision,” Hughes
Only when the animal .is hung
up on the rail do you get the real
information about percentage of
fat, marbling, and size of loin eye.
Also, the workshops helped the
producer understand why certain
animals are sold as “Choice Yield 1
Grade 3 or Choice Yield Grade 1
or Select Yield Grade 3,” or what
ever, according to the extension
agent. Hughes writes a monthly
column in Lancaster Farming,
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255 Plane Tree Drive
Lancaster, PA 17603
Chet Hughes, Lancaster County livestock agent, was recently honored with the
Search for Excellence Award from the National Association of County Agricultural
Agents in Casper, Wyo. The award was presented for his efforts with the cattle feeders
In the county on producing safe, low-fat animal products. Photo by Andy Andrews
called Livestock Ledger, of which
he reported the findings of the July
The workshop in 1993 focused
on grading. The 1994 workshop
focused on late feeding of cattle,
using a 1,600-pound steer to illus
trate how much fat is on an animal
that is overly finished.
“It's an eye-opening experience
Lancaatar Farming, Saturday, Novambar 26, 1994-A27
for anybody who’s never been
through it, even people that buy
cattle every day,” said Hughes.
The success of the workshops
have been evident. This year,
Hughes said the intention is to
combine the workshop with a field
day at a Lancaster County finish
ing farm, in cooperation with the
“The first one went over so
well, the people really appreciated
the fact that we took the time and
effort to put that together,” he
said. ‘‘Cattle feeders felt it was
very valuable to them.”
One of the concerns Hughes has
is about the lack of uniformity of
the product in the beef industry,
and that will be the focus of
upcoming workshops. More will
be presented on how cattle feeders
can understand and make use of
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expected progeny difference
(EPD) information when selecting
There is an effort to get the cow/
calf producers involved that finish
beef, because of the ways they can
select EPDs for more marbling,
bigger ribeye, or less fat. “We’re
starting to identify carcass traits
and, by using those bulls, we
should be able to, in time, produce
a more uniform product.”
Hughes said, “Thai’s the beauty
of EPDs you now have more
predictability. You can select a
high marbling bull and use it in the
herd. I’m not sure if our producers
have latched onto that yet.
“It can be done. But it’s going
to be a while until the whole indus
try gets to that point.
“Every little thing producers
can do to fine-tune their operation
is helpful,” he said.
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