Challenges Facing Texas Livestock Producers
- Livestock producers are facing serious threats from pervasive and invasive animal diseases such as Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus, and tick-borne diseases.
- Concerns over variable prices, uncertain weather conditions, and increasing production expenses have spurred demand for sound management practices and decision making that is key to optimizing production efficiency and competitiveness.
AgriLife Extension’s Response
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service delivers wide-ranging educational programs focused on research-based livestock production and management practices, evaluation of technologies, improved decision making, water-use efficiency, and job training.
- Programs for livestock operations focus on improved reproduction strategies, animal health, feeds and nutrition, forage production, breeding-stock replacement strategies, livestock marketing, and financial risk management.
- Through 16,000 educational events, planning meetings, and workshops in 2015, AgriLife Extension achieved more than 2.1 million educational and other contacts.
- AgriLife Extension often collaborates with industry groups and with other government entities to deliver educational programs.
Selected programs are highlighted below. Impacts were measured by the increase in net returns associated with adoption of certain management practices taught in 2015.
- The increase in net returns resulting from the adoption and implementation of selected beef cattle management practices taught at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course and Ranch Management University resulted in a total economic benefit of $32.1 million.
- The economic impact of the Cow-Calf Standardized Performance Analysis program was estimated at more than $500,000.
- The increase in net returns resulting from increased milk production from the adoption of heat abatement strategies in dairy operations was estimated at $15.7 million.
- The net returns increase resulting from the implementation of selected beef cattle management practices taught at the Cattle Trails Stocker and Wheat Conference and Beef Quality Assurance trainings resulted in an economic benefit of $550,000.
- The economic benefit of the Beef Cattle Reproduction Management Schools was estimated at $544,000.
- Extension programs focusing on managing financial risk led to potential gains of $32 million.
- Job training through continuing education related to beef cattle handling supports 86 Texas jobs, with an annual wage base of $3.5 million.