The first quarter of 2022 has moved rapidly, and we have several updates for you. Since our last newsletter, we have welcomed new leadership at Texas A&M AgriLife and we are moving quickly to align our work with new visions. You, as a member of the Livestock and Ranching Steering Committee, continue to play an integral role and we will be utilizing your thought guidance moving forward in several key areas.
New Leadership at Texas A&M AgriLife
Interim vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences. Having previously served in this role from 2008 to 2018, Dr. Mark Hussey returned in December to serve as interim vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences. The formation of this Livestock and Ranching Steering Committee originated from Dr. Hussey during his initial tenure as vice chancellor, and we welcome his leadership as the search for a new vice chancellor and dean progresses. The next steps for the committee and continued way forward will benefit from Dr. Hussey’s leadership during this transition. You can learn more about the ongoing search at tx.ag/VCandDeanSearch2022.
Director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Dr. Cliff Lamb was recently appointed as director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. As you are aware, Dr. Lamb provided key leadership for this committee upon its inception. Currently, he is establishing a new strategic plan for the agency, and our work on the committee will closely align with this new vision. We are excited about Dr. Lamb’s new role and look forward to his input and direction for both the committee and associated centers.
Director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Dr. Rick Avery was recently appointed director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Dr. Avery brings an extensive background in government relations and in government. Most recently, he served as deputy director of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. At Texas A&M AgriLife, Dr. Avery previously served as the V.G. Young Institute director and AgriLife Extension specialist to provide continuing education to approximately 1,500 county officials annually through Institute schools. To learn more about these new leadership appointments, visit AgriLife Today at tx.ag/NewDirectors22.
An added focus to the Livestock and Ranching Steering Committee
As we continue aligning our priorities with those of AgriLife Research, members of the Livestock and Ranching Steering Committee will play an important role as we evaluate the Center for Grazing Lands and Ranch Management (CGRM) and the Center for Natural Resource Ranching and Information Technology (CNRIT). I would like to provide updates for both of these efforts. Within CNRIT, the Grazing Animal Nutrition Lab (GANLab) continues to provide diagnostic services for ranchers and land managers regarding livestock nutrition management. Plans are underway to relocate the GANLab from Temple to College Station to better utilize the resources here on campus and agency headquarters. Models and predictive tools will be reviewed and updated as part of this transition. CNRIT also provides a suite of modeling technologies beyond those used to support the GANLab. These primarily web-based rancher tools will be updated and enhanced to aid the management of rangelands.Finally, we are in the process of revitalizing the CGRM with a vision and plan to once again serve as a hub for ranchers and natural resource managers to field questions, search databases and other resources. Overall, we are formulating how these moves fit into an overall strategic plan for the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management and agency alike. These potential changes are where you will play an important role. We want to engage with members of the committee to help shape a new strategic plan for both centers and lab to ensure they meet the research, industry and service needs. As previously stated, the new alignment of these centers will be part of our strategic vision and roadmap focusing on applied research, practical education and training opportunities, and the assessment and promotion of policies improving livestock and ranching systems. We look forward to your input in ensuring meeting the needs of ranchers and our overall success as part of a shared vision.
Animal Identification Systems Conference
Work continues for Texas A&M to host a national conference on the current state of animal identification. Dr. Jason Cleere is leading this effort with potential plans to host concurrently during the Beef Cattle Short Course in August here in College Station. Stay tuned for more details on this program, and we certainly look forward to your participation.In closing, we thank you for your continued support and investment in our programs at Texas A&M AgriLife. Please feel free to contact myself, Bob McCann or Jim McAdams should you have any questions or discussion.
Department head of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, and director of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute