Country music star to highlight 2017 Appalachian Grazing Conference


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A presentation from a country music star and a tour of a multi-million dollar educational facility will highlight the 2017 Appalachian Grazing Conference, scheduled for March 9-11 at the Morgantown, Waterfront Place Hotel.


Teddy Gentry, bassist and backing vocalist for country music group Alabama, will lead the conference by sharing his insights into breeding cattle to fit environmental conditions.

Gentry owns and operates the Bent Tree Cattle Co., located near Fort Payne, Alabama.

The farm is home to the South Poll composite breed of cattle, developed from Red Angus, Hereford, Senepol and Barzona genetics.

Peter Ballerstedt, PhD., a nationally recognized expert and speaker on forage, ruminant and animal agriculture, will headline the second day.

Ballerstedt was the forage extension specialist at Oregon State University from 1986 to 1992 and is currently the forage product manager at Barenbrug USA.


Pre-conference attendees will also have the opportunity to register for a tour of the new Agricultural Sciences Building on the Evansdale Campus of West Virginia University and research farm in nearby Preston County.

The facility, which opened in September, is five stories and 207,000 square feet, making it one of the largest on campus.

It includes six general purpose classrooms, two computer labs and numerous departmental teaching and research laboratories that support the academic units of animal and nutritional sciences, plant and soil sciences, resource economics and management, design and community development, and the agriculture and natural resources unit of Extension.

Sustainability features incorporated into the building’s design include: an energy recovery system that captures heat or cold exhausted from laboratories, occupancy and motion sensors in many rooms, and a green roof on the building’s west side, which helps regulate building temperature, reduces maintenance and replacement of roof systems, and retains storm water.

Research farm

Situated on 995 acres, near historic Arthurdale, the J.W. Ruby Research Farm is home to about 100 head of commercial beef cattle.

The farm is currently a grassland unit setup to support pasture-based research with a significant arrangement of grazing plots.

In addition, the farm unit produces and supplies winter feedstuffs to support the livestock systems located in Morgantown. The farm also houses the WVU equine center, which has been approved for a $6.7 million upgrade.

Paul Lewis, PhD., a professor in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, will lead the tour.

More info

The Appalachian Grazing Conference, held every two years in West Virginia, brings together top agricultural professionals to share their knowledge on the industry, and attracts 350 producers from 12 states.

The 2017 conference will feature about 25 breakout sessions for attendees, in addition to a livestock demonstration and vendor show at the hotel.

This year’s theme is “Growing Grass to New Heights: Does Your Grass Measure Up?”

Registration for the two-day event is $175, which covers all meals and break activities. Those who register before March 3 will save $25. Tour registrations must be made by March 7 and cost is $35.

Attendees must make their own room reservations by calling the Waterfront Hotel at 866-782-9974 or 304-296-1700. To learn more or to register online, go to


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