Texas livestock and pasture management school accepting students
by ROBERT BURNS
Feb 21, 2014 | 896 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

 

Three-day school designed for novices and experts alike

The Overton Pasture and Livestock Management school is divided between the classroom and instruction in the field. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)

The Overton Pasture and Livestock Management school is divided between the classroom and instruction in the field. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)

Writer: Robert Burns, 903-834-6191, rd-burns@tamu.edu


 

Writer: Robert Burns, 903-834-6191, rd-burns@tamu.edu

Contacts: Dr. Monte Rouquette, 903-834-6191, m-rouquette@tamu.edu

Jennifer Lloyd, 903-834-6191, jllloyd@ag.tamu.edu

OVERTON – The longest continuously running livestock and pasture management school for novices is now accepting students, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

Set March 25-27 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton, the three-day Pasture and Livestock Management Workshop registration is $350, a price that most students consider well spent, said Dr. Gerald Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant breeder and one of the program instructors.

“Many times, we’ve heard students say that what they’ve learned in the first morning more than paid for the cost of the course,” Smith said.

Participants may also reserve an opening by phone or email by contacting Jennifer Lloyd, senior secretary, at 903-834-6191 or jllloyd@ag.tamu.edu. Lloyd will have information on class openings, local accommodations and driving directions to the center.

One measure of the workshop’s value can be found in repeat attendance, said Dr. Monte Rouquette, AgriLife Research scientist who specializes in forage quality and pasture utilization, and another course instructor.

Though the grazing school was originally designed for local novices in 2001, attendance soon expanded beyond Texas, attracting students with varying levels of expertise nationwide and out-of-country, Rouquette said. Some graduates have found the intensive course so valuable, they have returned a second year to take it again. Some have returned a third year.

 

Steak is one of the end products of a cattle operation and also what’s for dinner at the Pasture and Livestock Management school March 25-27 at Overton. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)

Steak is one of the end products of a cattle operation and also what’s for dinner at the Pasture and Livestock Management school March 25-27 at Overton. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)

Registration includes meals, including lunches, barbecue, a steak dinner, continental style breakfasts, break refreshments and educational materials.

 

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service faculty at Overton conducted the first course in 2001 in response to a growing ranching and farming demographic. Urban residents, many of whom couldn’t wait to get off the farm when they were young, were inheriting family farms and moving back to live on them, Rouquette said.

What happened next seems almost inevitable in retrospect, Rouquette said.

“Though they may know little if anything about farming, they decide they want to raise cattle as they have the land,” he said.

It was to help such people that Rouquette and his associates developed the school. In the 13 previous years, more than 860 students have attended the school. They have hailed from New Mexico, Maryland, Oklahoma, Louisiana, California, Washington, Kansas, Mississippi, Arizona, Connecticut, Puerto Rico and internationally.

Most of the instructors hold doctorates in their fields and are either with AgriLife Extension or AgriLife Research, Rouquette said. They have expertise in forage breeding and production, soil fertility, wildlife management, beef cattle nutrition and marketing.

The school is divided between the classroom and instruction in the field. Outdoor demonstrations cover all aspects of running a beef operation, from establishing and maintaining high-quality forages, calibrating sprayers, taking soil samples, castrating and vaccinating cattle, and de-horning calves, said Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, AgriLife Extension forage specialist and workshop instructor, Overton.

Also included will be training on writing a business plan for a ranch, keeping proper records, choosing the appropriate forage species for different soils, understanding soil fertility, establishing forage systems that minimize winter feeding costs, setting correct stocking rates, choosing the right cattle breeds, promoting good animal health, marketing cattle, stocking strategies, animal health and controlling feral hogs, Rouquette said.

A full program agenda can be found at http://bit.ly/1aOborj. There is a registration form at the same URL that can be printed out and mailed with a check to the center. There is also a secure link to a printable form to pay by credit card, Lloyd said.

Driving directions may be found at http://overton.tamu.edu/info-maps-history/ .

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