COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service presented its Superior Service Award – Team to the Ranch Management University, or RMU, team.
The Superior Service awards are the highest award presented by the agency. The recipients were honored Jan. 8 with a noon luncheon on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.
The RMU team consists of AgriLife Extension’s Dr. Larry Redmon, specialist and associate department head-soil and crop sciences; Dr. David Anderson, economist-livestock marketing; Dr. Jason Cleere, beef cattle specialist; Linda Francis, administrative coordinator, soil and crop sciences; Matt Brown, program specialist; and Dr. Jim Cathey, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute associate director, all in College Station.
Since 1994, urban-absentee landowners have dominated rural land ownership in Texas, the nomination stated. This land ownership change created potential environmental problems because few new landowners have formal training regarding natural resource management.
The team developed an educational program aimed at this new and growing demographic, providing basic information regarding managing their piece of Texas. The five-day Ranch Management University was initiated in 2010.
The main goals for the program were to provide basic information regarding economically and environmentally sound management of soil, plant, animal and water resources and to introduce participants to the educational resources available to them through AgriLife Extension, the nomination stated.
The first workshop was held in October 2010, with subsequent workshops each April and October thereafter.
The combination of a non-threatening and open-learning environment that facilitates questions and discussion and a mix of classroom lecture and field laboratory exercises has made the Ranch Management University a popular and effective program ensuring sustainable management of valuable Texas natural resources, the nomination stated.
Faculty members, who deliver the classroom presentations, represent Texas A&M University’s soil and crop sciences, wildlife and fisheries sciences, animal science and agricultural economics departments. A 3-inch binder with all presentations is presented to attendees with a flash drive with hundreds of publications for further review.
Participants spend significant time in the field discovering management techniques such as soil sampling, hay sampling, sprayer calibration, aquatic weed identification and management, hog trap construction, and proper beef cattle management strategies.
To date, attendees have come to College Station from all over Texas and from California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Costa Rica for the workshop.