The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Sandhills Beef Cattle Conference was held July 7 in Monahans at the Ward County Event Center.
The event drew over 200 participants, the conference’s largest crowd to date, and featured real-world cattle demonstrations, educational presentations and discussions, and 22 trade booths.
Lunch and breakfast were prepared for participants at an authentic chuckwagon.
“The success of this event can be attributed to the tremendous support, dedication and teamwork of all the AgriLife personnel involved,” said Robert Pritz, AgriLife Extension regional program director, San Angelo. “From the teamwork of the planning committee — which was made up of AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agents from several counties, and district specialists — to the interdisciplinary support from the family and community health agents in host counties, everyone worked hard to make this a highly visible and relevant program for beef cattle producers.”
He said the well-attended event was appreciated by the producers, vendors and guests in attendance.
Pritz said conservative estimates from the evaluations collected from participants reflected that attendees were responsible for managing about 9,616 head of beef cattle over 1,052,199 acres. Participants reported that 80% of them anticipated a potential economic benefit from what they learned at the conference, from either one or a combination of increased production, improved marketing/risk management and improved efficiency.
World-renowned educator and animal behavior expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., was the event’s featured speaker. Other featured experts included Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, J.D., AgriLife Extension agricultural law specialist, Amarillo; Ky Pohler, Ph.D., Department of Animal Science reproductive physiologist, Bryan-College Station; Ron Gill, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Bryan-College Station; and Bruce Carpenter, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, Ft. Stockton. Legislative updates pertinent to ranching were shared by State Rep. Brooks Landgraf.
Grandin’s talk was highlighted by her discussion about the point of balance and how long it takes cattle to calm down if they become fearful. Grandin graciously took photos with her many fans as well as autographing books for participants.
“Participants were excited to hear all of our experts, and being able to host someone as influential and well-known as Dr. Grandin for the event was fantastic,” said Dena Floyd, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Winkler and Loving counties. “We had so much positive feedback from our attendees on Tiffany Dowell Lashmet and our other AgriLife experts too. Our goal with this conference was to bring the latest relevant agricultural updates and news to our local beef cattle producers, and our outstanding lineup of speakers did exactly that.”
Lashmet discussed key estate-planning documents, what happens if you die without a will and the difference between a medical power of attorney, advanced directive and durable power of attorney.
Pohler and Carpenter covered options for pregnancy diagnosis in cattle, while Gill spoke on the options available to ranchers to produce cattle-targeting alternatives and direct markets, as well as production changes and document requirements to produce for different markets.