Linda F. Benedict, Elzer, Philip H.
I am honored to introduce this special issue of Louisiana Agriculture, which focuses on foragefed beef management and production. AgCenter scientists, extension specialists and professors work on many aspects of the cattle industry to bring our clientele the most up-to-date knowledge and operating procedures to support their needs. Regional differences affect both small and large producers, and our goal is to anticipate industry trends to supply scientifically-based research and best practices to our producers. With the Louisiana climate, forage is available year-round and can result in a leaner, market-desired end product. This issue highlights the changes involved in a sustainable forage-based production system, which is economically beneficial to our state, the producer and the consumer.
One of the priorities of the LSU AgCenter has been updating, expanding and strengthening the Master Cattle Producer program. We have revised the curriculum and changed the name to Louisiana Master Cattleman program. The program will be delivered within each of our five regions, and it will be facilitated by the regional beef coordinators in each of these regions. These individuals are Kenny Sharpe, Southeast; Guillermo Scaglia, Southwest; Vince Deshotel, Central; Jason Holmes, Northeast; and Ryon Walker, Northwest.
The coordinators reworked and standardized the curriculum so all the producers across the state get the necessary knowledge about raising cattle. The uniqueness of the program is the flexibility to tailor to regional issues. The coordinators are working with county agents to disseminate the Louisiana Master Cattleman program at the parish level. In addition to offering the new curriculum, we will host field days in the regions to allow producers to have advanced handson experience, applying what they have learned in the classroom.
Along with the forage theme of this issue, it is time to announce the relocation of the LSU AgCenter Forage Quality Analysis Laboratory. The laboratory is being moved to the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge from the Southeast Research Station in Franklinton. The shipping address is SPESS-STPAL, 125 M.B. Sturgis Hall, 110 LSU Union Square, Baton Rouge LA 70803. A new, state-of-the-art near-infrared reflectance spectrometer (NIRS) instrument has recently been purchased, which will be used for accurate and precise forage sample analysis. A wet chemistry lab will also be housed in SPESS to provide validation analysis for the NIRS.
As program leader and associate vice chancellor for animal sciences and renewable natural resources, I am very proud to work with our researchers, educators and county agents. I am committed to facilitating the best programs to meet your needs. Please let me know if you have concerns or questions. The LSU AgCenter is here to serve Louisiana.
Philip H. Elzer is program leader and associate vice chancellor for animal sciences and natural resources.
This article was published in the fall 2014 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.