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USDA to Host Free Webinar on Markets, Carcass Quality, and More


USDA will host a series of evening webinars with guest speakers from all three USDA Cattle and Carcass Training Centers (CCTCs)—West Texas A&M University, Colorado State University, and the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center—as well as the CME Group, to cover an exciting array of topics that will broaden participants’ understanding of how live cattle and carcasses are evaluated by USDA for quality and yield, how these factors play into CME specifications for live cattle deliveries and beef carcass deliveries, and the relationship between cattle production practices, the grading and acceptance process, and price.

The series will be hosted on Zoom and is open to the public. Pre-registration is required.

Cattle and Carcass Grading and the CME Delivery Process November 17, December 1, December 8, and December 15, 2020

Register for the Webinar

Part I: CME Cattle Contracts – A look at Cattle Futures, the CME Rulebook, and CME Live Cattle and Carcass Specifications Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Eastern Time Presenters: Laura Buschnyj, Jim Sullivan and Sarah Calhoun, CME Group Inc.

Join CME Group’s Sarah Calhoun, Jim Sullivan, and Laura Buschnyj in an informative session all about cattle futures. Learn more about the history of CME Group Live Cattle contracts and how they are used to manage the price risks associated with domestic production; walk through the specifications of the Live Cattle contract and some of the upcoming changes; and dig into the details of the physical delivery of live steers and heifers through Live Cattle futures. View the Speaker Bios (pdf)


Part II:  The Science Behind the Grade – How biology and physiology impact production, performance, and carcass quality and acceptance Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Eastern Time Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Martin, Colorado State University, and Dr. Bucky Gwartney, USDA-AMS


In this session, participants will explore the fundamental biological and physiological factors which influence cattle grade, yield, and meat quality. We will discuss concepts related to skeletal structure and development, muscle growth, and fat deposition and how these principles impact production variables, carcass performance and, ultimately, meat quality and yield. This session will allow participants to take a deeper dive into the science behind the grade—information that can be used to make more informed production decisions. View the Speaker Bios (pdf)


Part III:  Live Cattle Evaluation – Factors for evaluating quality of live cattle, and the CME Live Delivery Process Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Eastern Time Presenters: Dr. Ty Lawrence, West Texas A&M University, and Mr. Jodie Pitcock, USDA-AMS


Dr. Ty Lawrence, Director of the Beef Carcass Research Center at West Texas A&M University, and Jodie Pitcock, Assistant Field Chief for the USDA AMS Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, will explore the core concepts of slaughter cattle evaluation to estimate quality and yield grades while “on the hoof.” This discussion will help cattle producers and other industry stakeholders understand what is involved in the acceptance process for CME Live Cattle deliveries. Participants will take part in an interactive cattle grading experience to put their skills to the test. View the Speaker Bios (pdf)


Part IV:  Carcass Grading CME Certification –USDA Beef Carcass Grading, the Use of Instrument Technology, and CME Carcass Certification Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Eastern Time Presenters: Dr. Steven Shackleford, USDA Meat Animal Research Center; Dr. Bucky Gwartney, USDA-AMS; and Mr. Joe Barksdale, USDA-AMS


Experts from the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and USDA AMS Livestock and Poultry Program will give an overview of the U.S. standards for grades of carcass beef and the USDA quality grading process; discuss how camera instrument technology is used in that process; and explain the CME carcass certification process. View the Speaker Bios (pdf)

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