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2014 Hopkins County Dairy Environmental Stewardship

Relevance:

Dairy production is one of the most important industries in Hopkins County. The most common milk producer in the region is a dairyman with more than 200 head of cattle (45 producers). The Hopkins County Leadership advisory board along with county-based Program Area Committees firmly established the need for educational programs targeted for dairy producers enabling them to increase knowledge as well as adopt best management practices and new technologies improving product quality and producer sustainability. Most of the dairy producers are currently adapting to market variations and several changes on the management system are expected. The goal of the plan was to provide environmental science principles to 45 dairy producers (permitted dairies) and to 150 smaller dairy producers. Hopkins County is part of the North east Texas Dairy Outreach Area (DOPA). Permitted dairies in the region (Wood, Rains and Hopkins) having more than 200 head of cattle are required to have nutrient management educational credit hours. This plan provided educational opportunities for dairy operators to attain those educational credit hours. Regulatory environmental educational components were not evaluated for economic impact in this plan.

Response:

 4 Dairy producer letters and announcements (reaching 60 participants each mailing).

 Dairy Producers Update (May) (45 participants) (2 DOPA credits). The topics of current update of Lake Fork (Sabine River Authority) and genetic testing of dairy cattle (Zoetis Animal Health) were discussed during this program. 2 DOPA Credits.

 Fall Dairy Conference (October 21, 2014) (40 participants) (6 DOPA credits). The topics offered were new TCEQ CAFO rules update, changes in NRCS Plans, new electronic tools to process environmental data animal agriculture and vulnerability of climate variability, how to handle public relationships during environmental events.

Results:

Anticipated Changes & Economic Impact:

100% of respondents plan to take actions or make changes based on the information from this Extension activity. 64% of respondents anticipate benefiting economically as a direct result of what they learned from this Extension

activity.

Value of Activity:

64% of respondents would recommend this activity to others. 88% of respondents would attend another subject offered by Extension if it addressed a specific need or interest of theirs. 62% of respondents said that the information and programs provided by Extension were quite or extremely

valuable to them.

Future implications:

This program will continue to offer at least 6 DOPA credit hours for as long as the nutrient management permits are required. Educational opportunities in cattle nutrition, reproduction, herd management and preventive medicine will be added to the mandatory required information to enhance the quality of the programs offered in this plan.

Acknowledgements:

The Hopkins County Extension Office will like to recognize the support of the Southwest Dairy

Museum and Zoetis Animal Health (Brad Fain) during the implementation of this plan.

Other news: In a recent NETLA board meeting, the Larry Spradlin Memorial NETLA scholarship was created. This scholarship will benefit former NETLA exhibitors to support educational expenses. Members of our community interested in supporting this memorial scholarship are encourage to contact Kevin Gibson current NETLA president or any NETLA member

Author: KSST Webmaster

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