Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TSC & 4-H paper clover campaign runs Oct. 7-18

On Oct. 7 – 18, Tractor Supply Company and Del's Feed and Farm Supply customers have the opportunity to purchase paper clovers for $1 or more during checkout. At the end of the campaign, 70 percent of the funds raised will benefit state and local 4-H youth development program activities, such as local camps and after-school programs, and grant scholarships for 4-H youth in the communities where Tractor Supply and Del’s stores are located. The remaining thirty percent of the total funds are donated to National 4-H Council to help connect more young people across America to high-quality 4-H youth development programs.

            “The Paper Clover fundraiser is a significant part of Tractor Supply Company’s support of 4-H programs throughout the 1,300-plus communities we serve,” said Christi Korzekwa, Senior Vice president, Marketing, Tractor Supply Company. “We are proud to be able to provide essential funding to more than 1,000 county 4-H programs. These programs make a positive impact on young people that last a lifetime. The continued success of the Tractor Supply Paper Clover fundraisers demonstrates the importance of our 4-H partnership with our customers, team members and communities.”

            “For many years, the fundraising event has allowed us to provide thousands of 4-H youth across the country greater access to 4-H programs,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “We are thrilled about our continued partnership with Tractor Supply Company as it drives the excitement of local community participation and support for 4-H programs, and therefore the success of the 4-H Paper Clover campaign.”

Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States, raised $913,553 during the 12-day spring Paper Clover campaign. The amount broke the record for most monetary donations during the four-year collaboration. Tractor Supply has raised $7,029,426 for 4-H programs across the country through Paper Clover campaigns in just five years.
            Tractor Supply Company, listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange as TSCO, operates more than 1,400 stores in 49 states. Tractor Supply Company stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers. The company also serves the maintenance needs of those who enjoy the rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses. Tractor Supply Company stores are located in the outlying towns in major metropolitan markets and in rural communities. The company offers a comprehensive selection of merchandise for the health, care, growth and containment of horses, livestock and pets including select Purina and Nutrena brand feeds; a broad selection of agricultural products; and tools and hardware selected for our customers’ needs. In addition, the company sells light truck equipment, work clothing for the entire family, and an extensive line of seasonal products including lawn and garden power equipment products. For more information on Tractor Supply, access the website at www.TractorSupply.com
4-H is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the United States, 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension through more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, 4-H programs operate through independent, country-led organizations in more than 50 countries. Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org

Monday, September 28, 2015

Savannas, Spanish, others to be featured in Goat Rancher

The meat goat industry is one of the fastest growing segments of livestock production in the United States. The rise in popularity and demand for goat meat is the primary reason for the industry’s rapid growth. Goat producers around the country are utilizing a variety of meat goat breeds to develop their herds and meet this growing demand. Many of us are familiar with some of the most popular breeds like Boer goats from South Africa and Kiko goats from New Zealand, but what about many of the lesser known breeds?

The November issue of Goat Rancher will look at some of these breeds, the contributions they are making to the meat goat industry, and the people who produce them. If you are a breeder of Savannas, Spanish, Myotonics, Pygmies, Genemasters, TexMasters or any other unique purebred or crossbred meat goats, this special issue is just for you.

To reserve your advertising space, contact us at 662-562-9529 or e-mail goatrancher@hughes.net. Advertising rates and sizes available at http://goatrancher.com/advertise.php. Deadline to reserve space is October 10, 2015.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sheep and Goat workshop to be held in Appleton City, Mo. on October 19th; preregister by October 15th

Stockton, Mo. – St. Clair County MU Extension Center will be providing a Sheep and Goat Workshop on October 19th at the Appleton City R – 2 High School (408 West 4th Street, Appleton City, Mo. 64724) beginning at 6:30 p. m.  Speakers for the workshop are Nate Cahill Johnson County MU Extension Regional Ag Business Specialist and Patrick Davis Cedar County MU Extension Regional Livestock Specialist.

Topics discussed at this workshop are:
      * Sheep and goat nutrition and management
      * Historical and current perspective of sheep and goat markets
      * Marketing sheep and goats; including factors that influence markets and ways to improve profitability of the sheep and / or goat operation 

The cost of the workshop is $20 and needs to be paid along with registration to the St. Clair County MU Extension Center (Courthouse, P.O. Box 523, Osceola, MO 64776) by October 15th.  Let us know a week in advance if you need special accommodations.  To register or if you have questions please contact the St. Clair County MU Extension Center at 417 – 646 – 2419 or by email at stclairco@missouri.edu. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Webinar today to discuss Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs)

To Register, go to

Dr. Dave Notter, Department of Animal Science, Virginia Tech University, will discuss “Using EBVs to Achieve Your Breeding Goals” in a webinar today at 7:00 p.m. CDT. Estimated Breeding Values are a progeny performance prediction based on individual pedigree data compared to breed average. A 2.2 EBV for weaning weight, for instance, indicates an animal’s offspring will likely weigh 2.2 pounds more at weaning than breed average.

It will be a very good program on how to utilize performance data to improve your herds. It will focus on sheep but all the concepts are applicable to goats. The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) also offers its service to goat producers and will calculate EBVs for goats. More information on the National Sheep Improvement Program can be found at www.nsip.org.

“We started using this last year along with the Goat Herd Improvement Program (GHIP) that I do here,” said Dr. Kenneth Andries, assistant professor at Kentucky State University. “The use of data in goat production becomes more and more critical as we look ahead at ways to improve. It’s the best way to realize value.” 

Today’s webinar will address strategies to use EBVs to achieve breeding goals and manage genetic change in your flock. Topics to be covered include: 1) using direct and maternal EBVs to manage changes in body weights from birth through adulthood; 2) optimizing litter size to maximize ewe productivity; 3) using EBVs to optimize fleece value and the rate of improvement in fleece traits; 4) using scanning information to enhance carcass value; 5) using worm egg counts to enhance parasite resistance; and 6) using EBVs to improve reproductive performance. 

Selection indexes provides a convenient mechanism to combine EBVs for different traits into a single measure and are currently available for each of the main NSIP breed types. The presentation will discuss the value of indexes as tools for genetic improvement and consider how to address limitations of available indexes in specific production situations. 

This webinar is made possible with funding support from the Let's Grow Committee of the American Sheep Industry Association.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Feral hog workshop Sept. 4 in Bryan, Texas

A Feral Hog Management Workshop will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Brazos County Expo complex, 5827 Leonard Road in Bryan, Texas. The program is free, but $15 for a catered lunch. RSVP for the meal by Aug. 28 by calling 979-823-0129. Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered: one integrated pest management, one laws and regulations and three general.

“Feral hogs continue to be a primary issue in terms of damage to pasture and rangeland for landowners across Texas and certainly in the Brazos Valley,” said Dusty Tittle, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Brazos County. “This workshop will help landowners gain a better understanding of feral hog biology, methods that we can incorporate to better control and manage feral hogs on rangeland, plus laws and regulations of hunting the feral hog.”

Other topics to be discussed include population dynamics and research update; water quality in the Brazos Valley, agricultural regulations regarding feral hogs; feral hog control and trapping; feral hog transportation regulations and disease concerns.

Scheduled speakers are:
– Mark Tyson, AgriLife Extension associate, wildlife and fisheries science, College Station.
– Brad Tullis, Texas Department of Agriculture inspector, Austin.
– Nikki Dictson, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Texas Water Resources Institute, College Station.
– Linda Tschirhart-Hejl, Texas Wildlife Damage Management Service biologist, College Station.
– Danny Williamson, Texas Animal Health Commission, Austin.
– Dornell Crist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden, Brazos County.

The program is sponsored by AgriLife Extension and a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, call 979-823-0129.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ruminant conference Aug. 20-21 in Grapevine, Texas

DALLAS – The Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference will be held Aug. 20-21 at the Embassy Suites, 2401 Bass Pro Drive in Grapevine. The conference is sponsored by the Texas Animal Nutrition Council and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Presenters include experts from the American Feed Industry Association, Perdue AgriBusiness Animal Nutrition, Cornell University, Cumberland Valley Analytical Services, Texas Tech University and the University of Georgia.
Six continuing education credits by American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists have been approved and five continuing education units by the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners are pending for conference attendees.

The Aug. 20 agenda will begin with lunch from noon-1 p.m., followed by presentations on the implementation of the Food Safety Act, landscape of formulation platforms, high-resolution forage testing and using the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System in formulations. Presentations will be followed by a formulation round table and demonstrations.

Agenda items on Aug, 21 include breakfast for those staying at the hotel, followed by a Texas Animal Nutrition Conference meeting at 7:30 a.m. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. with the topic of how early life nutrition impacts health of cattle that may persist later into life. Additional topics include a comparison of sorghum silage versus corn silage and an update on regional Extension research. The conference will adjourn at noon.

Individual registration is $150 postmarked before Aug. 3 and $175 thereafter. The cost for membership in the Texas Animal Nutrition Council is $25. Make checks payable and return to Texas Animal Nutrition Council, Attn: Dr. Ellen Jordan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas, TX 75252-6599. For online registration with a credit card, go to http://www.txanc.org. For more information, call 972-952-9201.

Embassy Suites has a special conference rate of $149 per night for conference attendees. The deadline to receive this rate is July 29. For reservations call 1-800-EMBASSY or 972-724-2600 and identify yourself as a member of the Texas Animal Nutrition Council.

Each attendee will receive complimentary lunch on Aug. 20 as well as break refreshments, and one copy of the 2015 conference proceedings.

Additional copies of the 2015 conference proceedings are available for $20 each for U.S. delivery, $30 for Canada and Mexico, and $35 to other countries. To order, use the same address and contact information as for conference registration. Proceedings may also be ordered online from the Texas Animal Nutrition council website.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Red flags raised over food and ag K-12 education

Five Ideas to Better Prepare Next Generation

Washington, DC (July 16, 2015) – A paper released today by AGree describes a disjointed and ineffective system of K-12 food and ag education in the U.S. and identifies needed reform.

The paper, Food and Agricultural Education in the United States, authored by Stephanie Mercier, former Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and currently with the Farm Journal Foundation, is the most comprehensive summary to date of the current state of play in K-12 food and agriculture education, its evolution, and ideas that could help to focus and modernize instruction.

“Americans are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, yet are also more disconnected from agriculture than ever before. Agriculture literacy is critical; agriculture, food, and nutrition topics should be embedded in how we teach science and technology,” said Deborah Atwood, executive director of AGree. “Our current system is struggling to prepare the next generation for success.”

The paper outlines five recommendations to strengthen food and ag education, laying the foundation for the U.S. food and ag sector to meet the challenges facing the global food and ag system in the 21st century.  

“We need to step up our game when it comes to food and ag education in both rural and urban America, or we will be woefully unprepared to compete in the global marketplace, which is now vital to U.S. agriculture,” said Dan Glickman, AGree Co-Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Emmy Simmons, AGree Co-Chair and former Assistant Administrator for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade for the U.S. Agency for International Development, said, “Our education system must respond to the growing interest of the younger generation regarding food and agriculture and prepare them to make a difference in food and ag related fields – whether that means working to address the impacts of climate change, improve public health, or strengthen livelihoods in developing countries.”

Jim Moseley, AGree Co-Chair and former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, said, “So much is required of producers today – skills in agronomy, natural resource management, information technology, and business. I’m confident that young people are up to the challenge, but there is much more we can do to prepare the next generation of farmers and ranchers.”

Kathleen Merrigan, AGree Co-Chair and Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University, who also served previously as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, calls food and ag education critically important, “Our curricular offerings are disparate and uncoordinated. It’s time to identify the best instructional materials and facilitate their systematic adoption nationwide.”

The paper offers five ideas to improve food and ag education. First, it recommends creating a system that assesses and/or ranks the effectiveness of available curricula in food and ag education. While applauding renewed interest in attracting young people to careers in science and technology, known as STEM disciplines, the paper also suggests that U.S. competitiveness would be well-served by linking food and ag education to STEM programs. Third, the paper recommends the establishment of a “Perkins Plus” program that would offer additional funds to programs deemed to be top performers. Under the Perkins Act, state departments of education submit data on student performance, but the formula funding offers little incentive for school districts to be identified as top performers.

The remaining two suggestions relate to future efforts to monitor and evaluate  food and ag education. The paper suggests a national survey be conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to assess agricultural literacy. The final idea put forth is the establishment of a committee to review progress in the area of food and ag education. There is precedent, including a committee established in 1985 by the National Academies of Science to assess the contributions of ag education to productivity and competitiveness. Separately, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded a project in the late 1990’s to reinvent ag education.

Without question, the food and ag sector has changed significantly in recent years. AGree sees great benefit in taking steps to ensure food and ag education keep pace, which is essential to the future competitiveness of the sector. The full paper is available at www.FoodAndAgPolicy.org.
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AGree is supported by leading foundations that fund food and agriculture, international development, and health and wellbeing. To learn more about AGree visit www.foodandagpolicy.org or @AGreeAgPolicy on Twitter with hashtag #NextGenAg.