SERA036: Beef Cattle Production Utilizing Forages in the Southeast to Integrate Research and Extension Programs across State Boundaries
Statement of Issues and JustificationSoutheastern beef cattle production is critical to the beef cattle industry in the United States. The southeastern states graze over 8 million cows that produce offspring supplying a major portion of the 22 million fed cattle finished in the United States annually. Approximately 1/3 of the nations fed cattle originate on Southeastern farms utilizing forages as the base feed supply. In addition, a large number of Southeastern cull cows are harvested annually from forage production systems. The environment in this region of the country is conducive to growing forages in support of cow/calf, stocker and forage finished beef production systems making this region ideal for grazing livestock.
Recently, Extension Specialists from three Southeastern states (AL, MS, LA) initiated and are successfully conducting Extension programming across state boundaries to educate livestock producers in a Master Cattleman course. Currently, approximately 400 individuals are enrolled in this course. This programming came about from Specialists interaction and communication across state boundaries. This type of relationship must be fostered and encouraged. In order to expand these relationships within Extension and carry them over into our research endeavors a mechanism must be in place to foster communication between Extension Specialists and Scientists across the region. An organizational structure generating interaction between Specialists and Scientists across state boundaries can be a powerful tool in solving common problems for the region associated with grazing beef cattle. In the face of limited funding for beef cattle production utilizing forages, combining forces with sister states is a necessity in order to continue delivering sound production practices for our producers. We must also work to address priority issues affecting the industry.
The Southeastern States can become a strong force in delivering quality programs, attracting research and extension funding, and conducting high priority research if we become organized to do so. Our clientele groups, the Southeastern States Beef Cattle Associations, have already been proactive in organizing to solve common Southeastern beef cattle issues by forming a LLC, the Southeastern Livestock Network (SLN) to address animal identification issues. The National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) is composed of Regional Representatives elected from each State Beef Council that meet annually to discuss issues facing the beef cattle industry within their region. Additionally, the Farm Bureau and Farm Federations within each state host producer group committees in beef (and other commodities) to address industry related issues. Linking Scientists and Specialists to these industry groups will be extremely valuable as programming and research are initiated to address problems facing Southeast beef cattle production in grazing environments. However, at present, there is no mechanism in place to provide cohesive communication and planning for Extension and Research programs/projects amongst the Southeast Land Grant Universities. Development of a Southern Extension Research Activity in Beef Cattle Production Utilizing Forages in the Southeast to Integrate Research and Extension Programs across State Boundaries will provide a cohesive effort between Extension Specialists and Beef Cattle Scientists within the region that can provide linkages to our clientele groups.
Previously, a Southern Regional Information Exchange Group (SRIEG) existed for the Southern States in beef/forage production systems. This discussion group met annually for the last few years at the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientist (SAAS) meetings. At the 2006 meeting held in February at Orlando, FL it was identified that the project was due to be renewed. There was no move to renew this project and the group agreed to participate in this proposed SERA if it is approved.
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