UF/IFAS news release re: NIFA Partnership Award
By: Tom Nordlie
November, 21st, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A multistate beef cattle Extension team that includes the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has garnered a national award for its efforts to help ranchers boost calving rates and strengthen U.S. beef production.
This week, the Beef Reproduction Task Force was named one of five programs chosen to receive a 2013 NIFA Partnership Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The award was formally presented at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities annual meeting Nov. 10-12 in Washington, D.C.
Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, called the award a “well-deserved milestone” for the task force, which was launched in 1999 to help Extension personnel educate ranchers about the latest reproductive technologies and explain how those technologies might benefit their operations.
“Beef cattle production is a key agricultural industry for Florida and high calving rates are key to ranchers’ success,” Payne said. “We could not be more pleased that Dr. Lamb and his colleagues are being honored for their efforts to help ranchers succeed with one of the pivotal economic issues they face.”
Nick Place, UF/IFAS dean for Extension, noted that the task force is considered the nation’s leading source of beef cattle reproduction management strategy.
“Most Florida ranchers aim to produce one healthy calf from each cow, each year,” Place said. “By informing ranchers about options such as pregnancy detection and artificial insemination, the task force helps more ranchers move closer to that goal.”
Cliff Lamb, a UF animal sciences professor and member of the team, said U.S. ranchers can improve their herds via these new technologies, which are already pursued aggressively by other large beef-producing countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Experts believe U.S. ranchers may lose their competitive advantage in high-quality beef production unless they take similar steps.
“We’ve had a great deal of support from the beef industry, as well as professionals in veterinary medicine, the pharmaceutical industry, and the cattle genetics industry,” said Lamb, based at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna. “I hope our work shows that this kind of program can be established for other commodities.”
The task force has seven primary members, who collaborate to produce educational documents, live presentations, computer applications and other materials geared toward educating working ranchers.
Besides Lamb, the task force includes Garland Dahlke of Iowa State University; Rick Funston of the University of Nebraska; John Hall of the University of Idaho; Sandy Johnson of Kansas State University; Dave Patterson of the University of Missouri and George Perry of South Dakota State University.