COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Ted McCollum, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist in Amarillo, has been honored with the 2012 Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence, specialist category.
The honor was presented Jan. 8 during the Texas A&M AgriLife Conference in College Station. The Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence were established in 1980 to recognize the commitment and outstanding contributions of faculty and staff across Texas A&M AgriLife and provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those honored.
McCollum is assigned to the Panhandle and South Plains districts, where he provides educational programming, agent training and support in beef cattle management.
“But his expertise is sought statewide in the areas of beef cattle nutrition and stocker cattle programs,” wrote Danny Nusser, AgriLife Extension district administrator in Amarillo, in the nomination. “He is called for one-on-one assistance by producers throughout the High Plains region, statewide and even nationwide.”
McCollum is often a keynote speaker at workshops and programs, where he shares his knowledge on production management of all phases of commercial cattle and beef production – from rangeland and forage-based production systems to cattle feeding systems, the nomination stated.
He also collaborates on research projects with Texas A&M AgriLife Research faculty, most recently serving as the interim supervisor of the beef cattle research program at Bushland. He is a member of the animal nutrition and beef cattle sections in the department of animal science and the graduate faculty of Texas A&M University, and adjunct faculty at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, where he serves as a guest lecturer.
McCollum serves on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association National Beef Quality Advisory
Committee, and as such, has helped spread the Beef Quality Assurance message through AgriLife Extension sponsored programs with industry partners, the nomination states. He conducted Beef Quality Assurance meetings throughout the Panhandle, South Plains and South Texas for the past two years hosted by the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.
Along with the feedlot-associated program, McCollum is a co-developer of the Texas Beef Quality Producer program, which is a cooperative effort of AgriLife Extension, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Texas Beef Council. This program was developed in 2000 for cow-calf and stocker producers in Texas and taught throughout the state by McCollum and his associates.
In 2008, AgriLife Extension began working with major industry groups such as the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Association of Dairymen and the Texas Pork Producers Association to deliver programs addressing labor issues and needs of these industries through the Agricultural Workforce and Community Development Program. McCollum helped develop a five-part program for animal industry employees to understand how the work they do is important to beef safety and quality assurance.
When the wildfires of 2006 and 2011 ripped across thousands of acres of ranchland, trapping cattle and causing injury and death among them, AgriLife Extension agents and producers alike relied on McCollum’s expertise. Accompanying these fires was one of the worst years of drought in history that left pastures and rangeland in some of the poorest conditions ever. McCollum was constantly on the road and on the phone answering key questions and advising ranchers on what the next course of action might be, according to the nomination.
“Dr. McCollum has been a tremendous asset and resource for the cattle feeding industry in the Texas High Plains for more than 15 years,” said Ross Wilson, president and CEO of Texas Cattle Feeders. “He has an excellent understanding of the issues our members face every day and provides valuable science-based recommendations.”
The nomination states he also has been a key player in the “Managing for Drought on Texas Rangelands” education across the state. McCollum’s knowledge in forage management is in demand during producers’ meetings and at the grain-grading workshops hosted by AgriLife Extension. The information he shared with them helped producers make key decisions, as moisture-stressed com plants can have elevated nitrate concentrations, which require a producer to use it for silage rather than for green chop or grazing.
“Ted communicates well with our members and is well-respected for his knowledge and dedication,” Wilson said. “While it is unfortunate that the current drought continues to persist across much of Texas, we are fortunate to have Ted’s expertise available to our members as they are forced to explore new feeding strategies and feed ration formulations.”
McCollum helps coordinate the Southwest Beef Symposium and the Plains Nutrition Council Spring Conferences. The Southwest Beef Symposium is jointly hosted by the AgriLife Extension and New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service. The Plains Nutrition Council is independent of AgriLife Extension, but McCollum has served as the organization’s secretary-treasurer since 1998.
McCollum has been recognized with the Society for Range Management Outstanding Achievement Award; the Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence-Agency/Industry Team, Texas Beef Quality Producer team, and the Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence-Extension Team, Forage Sorghum team; the American Society of Animal Science Southern Section Extension Award; and most recently, the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association – State Specialist of the Year.