AMARILLO – Improvements in collaboration are being made in the Texas Panhandle livestock industry through a unique outreach group known as the Panhandle Livestock Professionals, or PLP.
This group was established to provide a forum for livestock professionals to meet and discuss problems, ideas and experiences that can help improve the regional industry, said Dr. Sarah Capik, Texas A&M AgriLife Research assistant professor of ruminant animal health in Amarillo.
Capik serves as assistant head of the PLP leadership, while Dr. Jessie Monday, the bovine veterinary diagnostician at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, TVMDL, in Amarillo, is the head of the PLP leadership.
The PLP group meets once a month to discuss various topics of interest.
“We’ve had some very good discussions on current industry issues such as electronic logging devices, disaster response, environmental issues and regulatory policy changes,” Capik said.
“Utilizing and interpreting research in an evidence-based manner has also been a focus of our group,” she said. “We routinely hear current research updates from local researchers at WTAMU and AgriLife in order to keep local industry stakeholders as up to date as possible.”
Monday said they’ve also broadened the range of topics to include a wide variety of relevant issues, so all can learn from respected subject matter experts. Some other topics have included pain management, disease testing trends, anaplasmosis and minerals in the diet.
Although the goal of the meetings is to share knowledge via presentations, Capik said they allow about 30 minutes before getting started where members can mingle, network and discuss relevant issues. Each meeting also ends with an open forum for discussion of other issues not directly related to the night’s presentation.
“Recently, our group has expanded our community reach and the resources we offer by creating a website and a Facebook group in addition to routine emails and sharing of presentation resources,” Monday said.
“Our meetings are usually not sponsored and are never filtered to allow for an open discussion from various viewpoints, with the ultimate goal of benefiting the industry,” she said. “We invite anyone interested to join us.”
Some of the meetings qualify for Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners continuing education credits and the group is working to obtain continuing education credit for animal scientists in the future.
“We wanted to promote friendship, understanding, comradery and goodwill among the stakeholders in this region to ensure we are developing research and programs to address the current needs of the regional livestock industry,” Capik said.
Started in 2016, the group began with people at TVMDL, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center-Amarillo and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center in Canyon. An Advisory Council made up of industry representatives and other stakeholders was later added.
“From the original group of seven, we now have grown to over 120 members including students, ag engineers, veterinarians, nutritionists, animal scientists, industry professionals and researchers,” Capik said.
Other program leaders include Dr. Dan Posey, clinical professor of veterinary science and academic coordinator, and Dr. Dee Griffin, clinical professor and director, both at the Texas A&M Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach (VERO) Center at West Texas A&M University in Canyon; Dr. Gayman Helman, TVMDL resident director in Amarillo; and Dr. Brent Auvermann, AgriLife Research resident director in Amarillo.