Agricultural Dinner Meetings to Begin January 16

The Agricultural Dinner Meeting Series is hosted by the Tygarts Valley Conservation District (TVCD) and the West Virginia University Extension Service.The series will kick off on January 16, 2014 at Camp Pioneer in Randolph County. Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m.. The Speaker for the first meeting will be Tim Sutphin of Dublin, VA, with the topic of Goals for a Sustainable Beef Production System.

Tim Sutphin, the recipient of the Virginia Outstanding Commercial Producer Award, the Virginia Farmer of the Year and was nominated for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year will be on the lecture tour this year. Tim owns and operates Hillwinds Farm that is comprised of approximately 1800 owned and rented acres that support 600 commercial cows. The cowherd consists of primarily Angus-based cows with a percentage of Simmental and Gelbvieh genetics to capture the established advantages of crossbreeding. Both fall and spring calving are practiced to make efficient use of resources and labor. In addition to the large commercial cow herd, stocker cattle and a flock of 150 commercial ewes add diversification to the operation. Tim also feeds the bulls for the VA BCIA Southwest bull test.

Sutphin cites two primary keys to the success of Hillwinds Farm. First is the production and proper utilization of high quality, cheap forage. This is accomplished through rotational grazing management practices, and taking advantage of stockpiled forage to reduce dependence on harvested feedstuffs. The second key is outstanding genetics. Since 1999, Sutphin has practiced whole-herd AI. Both mature cows and heifers are synchronized, and mated to proven Angus and Simmental AI sires. Natural service bulls are acquired through the Virginia BCIA test station program. Sires are selected for a balance of superior growth, optimum calving ease, moderate mature size and milk production, coupled with superior carcass merit. The advantages of these genetics are captured through retained ownership. Since 1996, Sutphin has retained ownership in 100% of his calf crop. Cattle are fed in western feedyards and sold on a carcass value grid basis, allowing him to reap the financial benefits of the superior growth and carcass merit.

A comprehensive computer record-keeping system is an instrumental tool in assisting Sutphin monitor the progress and performance of his herd. Both bulls and females are closely monitored for profitability- measured by net return of each calf produced to the operation through retained ownership. These extensive records also allow Tim to concentrate on the profit center of the operation- the cow.

Tim has served the industry as a board member for VCA, BCIA, MAMA, Beef Expo, and the family is very involved in the Pulaski County 4H Livestock club activities. On a more informal basis, Tim has worked closely with a large number of southwest VA producers by assisting them in retained ownership opportunities and cooperative feeding arrangements. The majority of the stocker cattle he attains are acquired locally. The feedlot and carcass performance of these cattle is also tracked closely and shared with those producers.

Reservations are required by Monday, January 13th to obtain a meal count.  This year’s dinner will be a $5 per person fee for the meal.  The meeting itself, which should begin at about 7: 15 p.m., will continue to be free of charge to the farmers.  If you plan to eat you should call the Tygart Valley Conservation District Office to make reservations at 457- 3026.


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