Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Superior Service Awards
On January 8, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension presented Superior Service Awards at the annual AgriLife Conference in College Station. The Superior Service Awards recognize Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service faculty and staff members who provide outstanding performance in extension education or other outstanding service to the organization and to Texans—we are so proud to have Dr. Jim Cathey, a 2019 team recipient for his work with Ranch Management University (RMU), here to mentor NRI folks.
Alongside Dr. Cathey, the celebrated 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 and Matt Brown, program specialist.
As many know, Dr. Cathey brings a level of service, enthusiasm and creative thinking to our institute. He will be the first to lead a team by their bootstraps where innovative thinking becomes the driving force to make a positive impact for Texans and beyond. Our institute is built by people who don't see obstacles but rather opportunities to think differently, to tinker, to reimagine, to educate and reverse engineer the ways we connect hands-on research to Texas landowners and decision-makers.
Since 1994, urban-absentee landowners have dominated rural land ownership in Texas. This land ownership change created potential environmental problems because few new landowners have formal training regarding natural resource management. Dr. Cathey and the RMU 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 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.
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.