Farmers will learn the newest tools in livestock identification, beef marketing, quality management and disease prevention from government and industry experts at the Mid Atlantic Marketing Symposia and Cattlemens Conference Feb. 6 7 at the Ramada Inn in Morgantown.

The conference is sponsored by the West Virginia University Extension Service, Allflex USA , West Virginia Cattlemens Association (WVCA), West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Beef Council, Virginia Cattlemens Association and the Mid Atlantic Beef Quality Assurance program.

Electronic livestock identification systems, beef marketing programs, disease prevention techniques and regulatory issues will be among the presentations made by agriculture industry representatives, commercial beef farm owners and government experts.

Featured speaker is Trent Loos, a sixth generation farmer who raises purebred Angus and Limousin cattle on a central Nebraska ranch. His speech,Returning the Human Element,will provide a timely message for agriculturists. Loos hostsLoos Tales,a daily radio show heard in 11 Midwestern states that feature stories about food producers and farmers. He recently founded Faces of Agriculture, which develops educational materials for teachers, college students and food producers on numerous agricultural topics.

The conferences first day focuses on electronic identification systems. Neil Hammerschmidt, a U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian, will update attendees on the government task forces work on developing a national livestock identification program. Mike Bumgarner of United Producers Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio, will discuss West Virginias potential participation in the Manage Beef Alliance. Mark Gardiner of Gardiner Angus, located in Ashland, Kan., will speak about U.S. Premium Beef, which has been one of the nations most successful marketing programs. He will also explain the American Angus Associations Angus Source project.

The conferences second day includes information sessions on minimizing livestock herd risks, working with beef marketing programs, dealing with agri terrorism threats and receiving national agriculture policy updates. Jim Tickel, a North Carolina Department of Agriculture veterinarian, will explain how farmers may prepare for a possible bioterrorism attack and its effect on animal agriculture. Tom McConnell, WVU Extension specialist, will explain the revenue insurance program to aid West Virginia farmers in risk management. Ernie Reeves, region 1 representative, National Cattlemens Beef Association, will discuss policy issues facing farmers this year. He will discuss the Blue Ridge Premium Beef program, Virginias branded beef marketing program, which is similar to West Virginias Petite Beef initiative.

The Mid Atlantic Beef Quality Assurance coordinators meeting will be held after the banquet. The gathering gives counties with local quality assurance pools the chance to participate in the larger group. Eight states are members of the regional group. The WVCA will hold its annual meeting during the conference.

Cost for the two day event is $25 a day for WVCA members and $30 a day for non members. Fees include workshops, meals and instructional materials. The registration deadline is Jan. 26. For room reservations, call the Ramada Inn at 304-296 3431 or 1 800 272 6232 and ask for the WVCA block.

For more information or to register for the conference, contact Michelle Graff at the WVCA office at 304-472 4020.