Three Texas entities receive 2016 Extension Partnership Awards

Writer: Robert Burns, 903-834-6191, rd-burns@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas Sorghum Producers, Texas Beef Council and the Extraco Events Center in Waco have received 2016 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Partnership Awards.

The awards were announced at the AgriLife Extension Conference Jan. 13 in College Station.

Established in 1999, the Extension Partnership Awards recognize vital alliances with agencies, organizations and others beyond The Texas A&M University System.

“We honor those partners whose dedicated collaboration and support have significantly enhanced the outreach and impact of AgriLife Extension programs for the people of Texas,” said Dr. Doug Steele, AgriLife Extension director.

Extraco Events Center, a 6,000-seat arena and the home of the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo, has given more than $665,000 to Texas youth for livestock and college scholarships, according to the award documentation.

The center was cited for being the “the go-to place for meetings of agriculture science teachers, county AgriLife Extension agents and major show officials,.”according to the award documentation.

Each year, the nomination stated, the center’s staff “bends over backwards to house the long-running Blackland Income Growth Conference and Trade Show.”

Also, the center staff coordinated the 4-H Youth Livestock Project Conference in 2014; does fair tours and supports ongoing programs such as Ag Safety Day and Kids, Kows and More.

“The Center staff is renowned for its professionalism and helpfulness. Simply put, the Extraco Events Center is at the heart of many AgriLife Extension programs and is an indispensable partner,” the award documentation states.

The Texas Beef Council was first recognized as an AgriLife Extension partner in 1986, years before the official Partnership Awards program was formed.

The partnership was then based on the council’s support of “innovative programming, such as Beef 706 and Beef 101, which provide producer and workforce training throughout the beef production chain,” according to the award documentation. “Since then, our joint efforts have grown to include more than 25 distinct programs and activities, such as Beef Quality Assurance training for Texas farmers, ranchers and veterinarians; Beef Boot Camps for retail meat market managers and meat cutters; and outreach to dieticians, nurses, chefs, food writers and international trade teams.”

The council also hosts the Beef Boot Camp for AgriLife Extension family consumer sciences agents and contributes to the AgriLife Extension Dinner Tonight! program. In addition, the organization provides AgriLife Extension with special project funding of more than $50,000 annually.

The Texas Sorghum Producers stated mission is to support sorghum production, promotion and marketing, and the commodity group has a long history of working with AgriLife Extension to do so, according to the award documentation.

“Since 2010, the commodity group has funded more than 30 applied research projects, including $127,000 for seven projects dealing with the emergent sugarcane aphid,” the award citation notes. “TSP played a critical role in obtaining regulatory approval of an emergency insecticide and collaborated in AgriLife Extension’s outreach, thereby helping to avert an estimated $265 million in aphid damages in the last two years.”

The Texas Sorghum Producers also sponsors and promotes many educational events, as well as professional development for AgriLife Extension agents.

“TSP also urges its members to serve on AgriLife Extension planning committees — a win-win for the relevancy of both organizations,” according to the documentation.

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