2014 Optimization of Beef and Forage Production in Hopkins County
Beef production is a 2.96 billion dollar industry in the East Region per data in the 2008 production year. The predominant beef producer in the region is a cow/calf producer with less than 100 head. All beef enterprises are affected by climate status as well as market variability. County-based Program Area Committees firmly establish the need for educational programs targeted for beef producers enabling them to increase knowledge as well as adopt best management practices and new technologies improving product quality and producer sustainability. Hopkins County currently has over 150 active beef producers, with numerous more not registered. This educational plan cooperated with beef committees and subcommittees to resolve educational issues related to the success of the beef industry in Hopkins County, with special emphasis to the small producer. This program provides educational opportunities for pesticides applicator license holders (350 in Hopkins County) to gain their mandatory continuing education credit hours during the year.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Hopkins County developed the following activities to address these issues:
* Quarterly Newsletters.
* Quarterly Beef Committee Meetings.
* Grasshopper Control Program (34 Participants) (3 CEU private applicators)
* Beef Up! Cattlemen’s Conference (162 participants)
* NETBIO 706 (55 participants) (4 Sessions)
* Pesticide Applicator Training and CEU (November) (Sulphur Springs) (118 participants) (5 CEU private applicators)
Evaluation Strategy: An evaluation instrument (retrospective post approach) was utilized to measure knowledge gained and adoption of best management practices.
* The majority (41.2%) of the attendees to the grasshoppers control program were small producers (less than 50 acres) with an economic benefit of the information learned from $6 to $15 dollars (Figure 1).
* The participants to Beef Up! indicated a direct economic impact of $5,205 per attendee for a total of $843,322 economic impact of the program.
* Twenty- nine cattle producers attended Texas A&M University to participate in the 706 portion of this program. The cattle impacted during NETBIO 706 was over 200,000 annually.
* Attendees to NETBIO 706 indicated that they owned or managed 5,755 cattle annually. Of the 24 survey respondents, 90% said that they would adopt new management practices and that the training they received would either save them money or make them more money (collectively $138,000 annual economic impact).
* Attendees of NETBIO 706 indicated they had a 160% unit change in knowledge level regarding best beef quality management practices.
* 100% of the respondents said they would recommend Beef 706 to others and that this was a good expenditure of Beef Check-off funds.
Future Implications: The Hopkins County beef and forage program will continue to provide educational opportunities to beef and forage producers during 2015. At least 5 CEU (1 laws and regulations, 2 IPM) will be offered during 2015. A series of educational program will be conducted to promote bovine health and genetic improvements of NETBIO herds.
The Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Office wishes to recognize the contribution of volunteer members of the North East Texas Beef Improvement Organization (NETBIO) for their guidance, volunteering and sponsorship.
Other Topics: Pecan growers and pecan consumers interested in purchasing, shelling or selling pecans, please contact Mary Bonham at 903-348-6011.
Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D.
Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR
1200B Houston Street
Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482