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Stockpiled forages reduce need, cost of hay, supplemental feed

  • Writer: Adam Russell, 903-834-6191, adam.russell@ag.tamu.edu
  • Contact: Dr. Jason Banta, 903-834-6191, jpbanta@ag.tamu.edu

OVERTON – Stockpiled forages and winter annuals can reduce the need for and cost of hay and other supplemental feed for beef cattle producers in regions with adequate annual rainfall, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Dr. Jason Banta, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Overton, said producers can reduce the need for hay and supplements by providing stockpiled forage mid-November through December and winter annuals October through May.

Stockpiled winter forages can provide four to six weeks of protein and energy for cows and calves and reduce the need for and cost of supplemental feed and hay. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Adam Russell)

“If they choose these options, we want them to know how to best utilize them,” Banta said.

For stockpiled Bermudagrass and bahiagrass, producers should bale the field for hay or graze the pasture 3-6 inches tall in the first part of September each year. Then fertilize and allow growth until the first frost, which is typically by mid-November in East Texas, Banta said. After the frost, the forage can be utilized until the first part of January.

“Utilizing stockpiled forage helps us avoid feeding hay for 4-6 weeks potentially,” he said.

Banta said producers should “strip graze” the pasture by using electric fencing to restrict cows’ access to the forage if possible.

“Provide access to what they could eat in two to four days,” he said. “Then every few days move the fence to allow more access. Restricting access will help prevent the cattle from wasting the available forage.”

The forages should be utilized by the first of January to mid-January in high rainfall areas because rain will begin to reduce quality and palatability for cattle, Banta said.

“If we fertilize and have good growing conditions, the stockpiled forage should meet all nutrient requirements for dry cows,” Banta said. “Additionally, it will meet the requirements for most lactating cows. However, in some situations small amounts of supplements may be needed depending on the forage quality, milk production and body condition score of the lactating cows.”

In those cases, Banta said lactating cows should generally receive 1-2 pounds of a high-protein supplement per cow per day.

Legumes and winter annual grasses such as ryegrass, small grain rye and wheat, can also be used to reduce the need and cost of hay.

“Those forages will be extremely high in both protein and energy,” he said.

However, utilizing winter annuals and legumes differs for replacement heifers, pregnant females in late gestation, and cow/calf pairs, Banta said.

“If abundant winter annual forage is available, pairs and replacement heifers can be grazed full time in lieu of feeding hay,” he said. “In contrast, pregnant females in late gestation should be limit grazed on winter annuals to avoid potential increases in calf birth weights and calving problems.”

Banta said late-gestation cows should be limited to two-hour grazing sessions daily.

“After a couple days, the cows should be used to the routine and become easier to remove from the winter annual pastures,” he said.

Grazing dry cows or pairs on winter annuals or legumes should also negate any need for protein or energy supplements, Banta said. Producers should, however, provide minerals with moderate-to-high, 5-13 percent, magnesium to reduce the chances of grass tetany in lactating cows.

“If utilized effectively, grazing stockpiled forages and winter annual forages can tremendously reduce winter feeding costs for producers,” he said. “Whatever is spent on seed and fertilizer can be more than made up in quality forage.”

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3-D crop imaging helps agriculture estimate plant height

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Lonesome Malambo, mmoonga@tamu.edu
Dr. Sorin Popescu, 979-862-2614, s-popescu@tamu.edu
Dr. Seth Murray, 979-845-3041, sethmurray@tamu.edu
Dr. Bill Rooney, 979-845-2151, wlr@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – Building three-dimensional point clouds from high-resolution photos taken from unmanned aerial vehicles or drones may soon help plant breeders and agronomists save time and money compared with measuring crops manually.

Dr. Lonesome Malambo flies a quad copter over a corn and sorghum research field. (Texas A&M AgriLife drone photo by Dr. Lonesome Malambo )

Dr. Lonesome Malambo, postdoctoral research associate in the Texas A&M University ecosystem science and management department in College Station, recently published on this subject in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. The article can be found at http://bit.ly/2yzKa8q.

He was joined on the study by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists Dr. Sorin Popescu, Dr. Seth Murray and Dr. Bill Rooney, their graduate students and others within the Texas A&M University System. Funding was provided by AgriLife Research, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Texas Corn Producers Board and United Sorghum Checkoff Program.

“What this multidisciplinary partnership has developed is transformative to corn and sorghum research, not just to replace our standard labor intensive height measurements, but to find new ways to measure how different varieties respond to stress at different times through the growing season,” Murray said. “This will help plant breeders identify higher yielding, more stress-resistant plants faster than ever possible before.”

Crop researchers and breeders need two types of data when determining what crop improvement selections to make: genetic and phenotypic, which are the physical characteristics of the plant, Malambo said.

Great strides have been made in genetics, he said, but there’s still much work to be done in measuring the physical traits of any crop in a timely and efficient manner. Currently, most measurements are taken from the ground by walking through fields and measuring.

Over the past few years, UAV photos have been tested to see what role they can play in helping determine characteristics such as plant height, which, measured over time, can help assess the influence of environmental conditions on plant performance.

Malambo said this study could be the first to use the concept of generating 3-D point clouds using “structure from motion,” or SfM, techniques over corn and sorghum throughout a growing season. These two crops were selected because they have a large variation in height and canopy over the season.

One of the 3-D SfM-generated point cloud images. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

While SfM is not new, the technology has been historically under-evaluated for repeated plant height estimation in studies limited to a single date or short UAV campaigns, he said.

In agricultural environments where conditions change due to crop maturity, Malambo said the next logical step was to determine if the methods were consistent, repeatable and accurate over the growth cycle of crops.

He said the SfM technology uses overlapping images to reconstruct the 3-D view of a scene, going beyond the typical flat photos by enabling automated interior and exterior orientation calibration. Small reference targets were placed in fields before each flight.

When a photo is taken from the UAV, it is basically transferring a 3-D scene into 2-D, Malambo explained. SfM is trying to reverse this process utilizing properties such as geometry, properties of light and modeling.

“Once we recreate the scene, it looks the way it did when we captured it, multidimensional,” he said.

“In this study, we were interested in observing the whole growing cycle of these crops. We flew over the crops on 12 different dates and at the same time had people measure the growth on the ground on six of the dates.”

Popescu said on two of the dates, for the field measurements, a terrestrial laser scanning sensor, also known as lidar, was used to collect reference data for the plant canopy height.

“This is another unique aspect of our study,” he said. “To my knowledge, no other published study compared SfM point cloud measurements to lidar scanning, but only to manual field measurements of plant heights.

“The terrestrial lidar provides the most accurate measurements of the canopy, resulting in a point cloud of direct 3-D measurements,” Popescu said.

Dr. Sorin Popescu, maroon shirt, oversees the installation of a terrestrial lidar scanner on top of a sprayer to get above the crop canopy. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Dr. Lonesome Malambo)

He said SfM provides reconstructed 3-D point clouds through photogrammetric methods, whereas lidar provides direct measurements using laser scanning. The terrestrial lidar sensor, or TLS, has a limited coverage and must be placed on tall vehicles to view the canopy from above.

“It is really not practical to use the TLS for plant height measurements, mostly only for validation studies like ours,” Popescu said. “Lidar can be placed on a UAV, but those sensors are very expensive. We are currently assembling one UAV lidar sensor and will have it operational by the end of this year.”

Malambo said physical measurements were taken from May through July, while flight photos were taken from April through August.

“We got a very good correlation from the measurements in the field and the images we were able to produce,” he said. “There is great potential to reduce the time and cost of collecting data with affordable technology that can be used by farmers and researchers.”

This improvement in image analyses has opened an avenue for more affordable non-metric cameras to be used on UAV platforms for reliable mapping and 3-D modeling than through expensive airborne and terrestrial laser scanning, Malambo said. SfM software is easy to learn, automated and readily available.

The system isn’t without challenges, though, he said. In the effort to see if it is accurate over time, Malambo said the technology depends on the quality of the images. With sorghum, which is mainly foliage, it did well. Corn, which dries up and loses contrast as it matures, tends to blend in with the ground.

“Our general conclusion is structure from motion offers great potential to work for measuring plant height, but we need to make it more robust through the growing season,” he said. “Changes in wind speed can affect the drone cameras in capturing images. And that, in turn, affects the results of the 3-D capabilities.”

Malambo said he is searching for ways to improve the overall program, including reducing the processing time. Data captured this past growing season is massive and takes several days to process.

One idea he discussed is working with other departments on campus to be able to have online real-time analysis of the field. The drone-captured image would be sent directly to a laptop computer where advanced data analysis methods like machine learning or deep learning could be used to help allow the height data to be available immediately.
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AgriLife Extension announces two county agent hires in Far West Texas

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu
Contact: Rebel Royall, 432-336-7541, Rebel.Royall@ag.tamu.edu

FORT STOCKTON – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has announced two agriculture and natural resources personnel additions to its 23-county Far West Texas district.

Kloey Cargill is transferring from Throckmorton County to the Brewster/Jeff Davis counties post effective Nov. 20, said Rebel Royall, AgriLife Extension district administrator at Fort Stockton.

Kloey Cargill. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Also, Cody Trimble will become the agency’s new Glasscock County AgriLife Extension agent on Nov. 1, but will complete the agency’s First Step orientation training in Sterling and Reagan counties prior to assuming his permanent post Dec. 1, Royall said.  

“We are very pleased with these appointments,” Royall said. “Kloey already has developed a stellar track record within AgriLife Extension in the year she’s been with us. She’s an Amarillo native who grew up participating in AgriLife Extension’s 4-H youth program.

“Cody has a lifelong association with AgriLife Extension as his dad, Tim Trimble, was a longtime county agent. Cody grew up not only in the 4-H program but exposed to other facets of AgriLife Extension as well, so he has the makings, plus the family background, to become a top agent.

“I have every confidence these two young people will have much to contribute to the strong youth and adult components already in place within these three key counties.”

Cargill earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University at Lubbock.

Prior to joining AgriLife Extension, she worked as the coordinator of events for the National Reining Horse Association in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She has also worked as a Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo horse show department assistant and as ranch manager for the Ramp Ranch at Canadian.

Trimble earned an associate degree from Blinn Community College at Brenham, a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University at College Station and is currently completing studies toward a master’s degree from Texas Tech University at Lubbock.

His work experience includes stints as studio coordinator at Savant Photography, Lubbock; communications intern at the South Plains Food Bank; Texas Tech graduate teaching assistant; and director of marketing and promotions for Davis Mountain Properties, Fort Davis.

For more information, contact Royall at 432-336-7541.

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Value of bull to commercial herd exceeds ‘relative’ value

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Joe Paschal, 361-265-9203, joe.paschal@ag.tamu.edu

CORPUS CHRISTI – The value of bulls in commercial herds goes beyond the “relative” value typically ascribed to them in market pricing, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Dr. Joe Paschal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, said a good bull is likely the “best investment” a cattle producer can make. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo) 

“In publications referencing cattle values for commercial producers as well as reports from beef breed associations, the value of a bull is often given as equivalent to the average value of five weaned calves,” said Dr. Joe Paschal, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, Corpus Christi. “This has been a long-held comparison for determining the value of a bull, but it really doesn’t take into account all aspects of what bulls provide to the herd.”

Paschal said the value of one bull to five weaned calves resulted from a relative equivalency identified as market prices fluctuated over the past several years.

“At least up until around 2010, producers paid less than 50 percent of the value of those five calves on a bull,” Paschal explained. “Then from 2011 until 2015 producers began to pay more, including up to 100 percent of the value of five calves in 2013. Then in 2015, producers paid up to 150 percent of the value of five calves for one bull. And when calf prices dropped in 2016, the ratio dropped back to about 115 percent – between $5,000 and $5,250 – closer to the average value of the five calves.”

But this ratio doesn’t fully reflect the additional value bulls supply to the herd, Paschal said.

“Bulls supply the genetics for the next generation of replacement females in most commercial herds except those strictly using terminal crossing,” he said. “It should be remembered that bulls are more than just ‘cow fresheners’ as my former colleague, Dr. Rick Machen, retired AgriLife Extension livestock specialist in Uvalde, was fond of saying. As such, their value goes beyond the market price for five head of calves.”

Paschal said if a bull is used for three years and the producer does not introduce any outside female replacements into the herd, that bull will then be responsible for up to 87 percent of the cowherd’s genes.

“A lot of products and equipment are touted as being the best investment a cattle producer can make, but a good bull is the only thing that can really match that description,” he said. “If you maintain a closed herd, the genes entering the cow herd will come completely from the bulls you select, and that’s a huge contribution – for better or worse – to the herd’s overall genetic makeup. When you look at it from that perspective, you see just how valuable a good bull is to a commercial cow herd.”

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Riparian, stream ecosystem workshop set Nov. 8 in Brenham

Contacts: Clare Entwistle, 210-277-0292 ext.110, Clare.Entwistle@ag.tamu.edu

Jennifer Cary, 979-862-8070, jcary@tamu.edu

Kara Matheney, 979-277-6212, kjmatheney@ag.tamu.edu

BRENHAM – The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a free workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 8 in Brenham for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Mill Creek watershed.

The morning session will be at the Washington County Fairgrounds Sales Facility, 1305 E. Blue Bell Road. The afternoon session will include a walk and presentations along Mill Creek.

Clare Entwistle, research associate at the institute’s San Antonio office, said the workshop is co-hosted locally by the Mill Creek Watershed Partnership and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Washington County.

Attendees must RSVP by Oct. 26 to Entwistle at 210-277-0292, ext.110, or clare.entwistle@ag.tamu.edu. She may also be contacted at http://bit.ly/2gvDgqH.

A riparian workshop related to Mill Creek will be held Nov. 8 in Brenham. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Cary)

The program will include a lunchtime presentation. A free catered lunch will be available or participants may bring their own lunch.

Mill Creek is a 14-mile stream in southeastern Texas that flows into the Brazos River and is the focus of watershed planning efforts by stakeholders. Riparian areas, or the green vegetated land area adjacent to the bank of a stream, creek, bayou, river or lake, are unique and important ecosystems that provide many benefits including habitat and forage.

“Proper management, protection and restoration of these vital areas directly influences water quality and quantity, plus stabilizes stream banks and improves fish and aquatic habitats and communities,” Entwistle said. “The goal of the workshop is for participants to better understand riparian and watershed processes, the benefits of healthy riparian areas and what resources are available to prevent degradation while improving water quality.”

“Stakeholders recognize successful implementation of a watershed protection plan requires implementing a variety of management strategies,” said Jennifer Cary, AgriLife Extension specialist and Mill Creek watershed coordinator, College Station. “The riparian and stream workshop is an educational event supporting this effort.”

Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Mill Creek Watershed Partnership, Texas Wildlife Services Program and AgriLife Extension.

Entwistle said the workshop is offered at no cost to participants thanks to program funding provided through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Kara Matheney, AgriLife Extension agent, Washington County, said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates when training concludes.

The workshop offers three continuing education units — two general and one integrated pest management — for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders. Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Texas Forestry Association and six hours from the Society of American Foresters. It offers one unit from the Texas Water Resources Institute, seven credits from the Texas Floodplain Management Association, seven hours for Certified Crop Advisors, seven hours from the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers.

The riparian education program is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

For more information, contact Entwistle or visit http://texasriparian.org, or go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRiparianAssociation.

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Victoria cotton, grain risk management and marketing workshop Dec. 5

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, b-fannin@tamu.edu

Contacts: Mac Young, 361-265-9203, amyoung@ag.tamu.edu  

Matt Bochat, 361-575-4581, mtbochat@ag.tamu.edu

VICTORIA –  A cotton and grain risk management and marketing workshop will be held from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion, 333 Bachelor Drive in Victoria.

Cost is $20 at the door and includes lunch.

A cotton and grain risk management and marketing workshop will be held from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Victoria Educational Gardens Pavilion, 333 Bachelor Drive in Victoria. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“This is an excellent opportunity to be briefed on the need for budgeting, crop insurance choices, outlook and making marketing plans for the next crop year,” said Mac Young, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist, Corpus Christi.

Topics and speakers will be:

– Budgeting Decision Tools: Determining Break-Even and Costs of Production, Young.

– U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency Update, Francie Tolle, regional office director, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

– 2018 Crop Insurance Choices, Jeff Nunley, executive director, Texas Cotton and Grain Association, Victoria.

– Crop Insurance Decision Tool, Dr. Steven Klose, AgriLife Extension  economist, College Station.

–  Developing a Management Plan: Incorporating Insurance into Production and Farm Plan, Dr. Mark Welch, AgriLife Extension grain marketing economist, College Station

– Cotton Outlook: Marketing Tools and Strategies, Dr. John Robinson, AgriLife Extension cotton economist, College Station.

– Grain Outlook: Marketing Tools and Strategies, Welch.

– Mid-and-Long-Term Weather Forecasts, John Metz, warning coordination meteorologist, National Weather Service, Corpus Christi.

For more information, call 361-265-9203.

 

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Food safety training for producers Nov. 13 in Jasper


JASPER – A produce safety course is set for Nov. 13 in the Jasper County Annex Building, 271 E. Lamar St. in Jasper.

The course will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $40 for individuals. Entry covers lunch, refreshments, educational materials and one certificate of completion.

Register online at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/ProduceSafety or by phone at 979-845-2604.

Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, Overton, will be the speaker for course subjects. Dr. Matt Taylor, Texas A&M AgriLife Research animal science associate professor in College Station, is also scheduled to speak.

Masabni said the course is designed in response to the new Food Safety Modernization Act produce safety rules and increasing demand from producers to learn about proper food-handling methods.

“This event will teach growers about good agricultural practices and the new FSMA produce safety rules that are important to ensure produce is safely brought to market for consumers,” he said. “Many retailers require certification from producers, but it is also important knowledge for producers who intend to market their farm and produce to the public directly.”

Topics include:

– Introduction to Produce Safety.

– Worker Health, Hygiene and Training.

– Soil Amendments.

– Wildlife, Domesticated Animals and Land Use.

– Agricultural Water – Part 1: Production Water.

– Agricultural Water – Part 2: Postharvest Water.

– Postharvest Handling and Sanitation.

– How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan.

 

Masabni and Taylor will participate in a question and answer session following the course topics.

If residents around the state wish to host similar events in their area, Masabni said he is willing to travel for groups of 10 or more.

“There are three of us who teach this course in all of Texas,” he said. “We understand not everyone can travel to attend them in certain areas, and we want to meet the needs of our producers.”

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Institute to hold second meeting on improving Carancahua Bay water quality

Contacts: Allen Berthold, 979-845-2028, taberthold@ag.tamu.edu

Michael Schramm, 979-458-5962, michael.schramm@ag.tamu.edu

LOLITA – The Texas Water Resources Institute is hosting a Nov. 2 meeting in Lolita for those interested in improving water quality in Carancahua Bay.

The free meeting will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Lolita United Methodist Church, 94 College St.

Carancahua Bay. (Texas Water Resources Institute photo)

Michael Schramm, an institute research associate in College Station, said the meeting is the second in a series with local residents and other stakeholders to develop strategies that address water quality in the bay.

“A portion of Carancahua Bay is currently designated as impaired by the state due to elevated bacteria that exceed state water quality standards,” he said.

Dr. Allen Berthold, an institute research scientist, College Station, said the institute manages a project that works with local landowners, agricultural producers, residents and other stakeholders to develop a plan and strategies to reduce bacteria in local waterways.

Berthold said the meeting will provide an overview of current water quality and voluntary practices landowners can use to improve and protect water quality.

“We will explain the watershed-based planning process to address water quality concerns and discuss the best management practices most likely to succeed,” he said.

Schramm said interested individuals have multiple avenues to become involved in the planning process.

“We’re encouraging citizens of the region to attend this meeting as their input is essential for identifying locally important issues and feasible plans of action to improve water quality,” he said.

For more information, visit the project website at http://matagordabasin.tamu.edu/carancahua-bay/ or contact Schramm at michael.schramm@ag.tamu.edu.

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AgriLife Extension to offer QuickBooks Pro Workshop Nov. 9 in San Angelo

 

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu

Contact: Bill Thompson, 325-653-4576, w-thompson@tamu.edu

SAN ANGELO – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a QuickBooks Pro Workshop from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center north of San Angelo on U.S. Highway 87.

“This is the first QuickBooks Pro workshop our agency has scheduled in our part of the state,” said Bill Thompson, AgriLife Extension economist at San Angelo. Thompson, along with DeDe Jones of Amarillo and Will Keeling of Lubbock, both AgriLife Extension risk management program specialists, will teach the course.

“We are limiting this workshop to 15 participants, because we want each attendee to be in front of a computer,” Thompson said. “We actually want them in front of one of our computers so they are not distracted by all the other ‘stuff’ most of us have on our personal computers.

“Most of our clientele tend to be agricultural producers, but this workshop is not necessarily limited to them, so it’s open to other businesses or individuals wanting some QuickBooks Pro training.”

Thompson said preregistration is required by Nov. 6. To preregister, call 325-657-7305 or email ml-nelms@tamu.edu. A registration fee of $50 is due upon arrival.  

Thompson said couples are encouraged to attend and will only be charged a single registration fee.

For more information, call 806-677-5667.

Thompson said QuickBooks Pro is a double entry business accounting program widely used in agricultural and non-agricultural businesses. Its software offers users the ability to add features as a business grows.

“This will be a hands-on workshop,” he said. “It is designed for current QuickBooks Pro users and novices alike. Specifically, it’s for those wanting to learn to develop profit and cost centers, enter transactions and create useful reports.”

Thompson hopes this inaugural workshop will lead to others in the future.

“If the attendance and interest are there, there’s no reason we can’t do more of these in 2018,” he said. “I could see this leading to a more advanced workshop in the future after a couple of these basic workshops have been offered. It’s a very good program I feel more people would adopt if they had the guidance we feel this workshop will provide.”       

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Guy Fieri hosts 4-H cook-off, Carnival donates $20K at state fair

guy fieri coaches harper burt in cooking contest
guy fieri coaches harper burt in cooking contest

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri coaches Dallas County 4-H member and cooking contest winner Harper Burt at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, where Carnival Cruise Line donated $20,000 to Texas 4-H. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Gabe Saldana)

Writer: Gabe Saldana, 956-408-5040, gabe.saldana@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Courtney Dodd, 979-845-6533, cfdodd@ag.tamu.edu

DALLAS – Celebrity chef Guy Fieri joined Carnival Cruise Line at the State Fair of Texas to host a cooking contest among three Texas 4-H students from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

A $20,000 donation from the cruise company to Texas 4-H – part of the event proceedings – will help fund youth food and nutrition programming, said Dr. Courtney Dodd, Texas 4-H program leader in College Station.

Guy Fieri coaches charlotte murray in cooking contest 600px

Guy Fieri’s crew films as the celebrity chef coaches Denton County 4-H student Charlotte Murray in a cooking contest at the State Fair of Texas, where Carnival Cruise Line also donated $20,000 to Texas 4-H (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Gabe Saldana)

“This was a great opportunity for some of our North Texas 4-Her’s, their families and the region to come together for a great cause,” Dodd said.

4-H youth cooking competitors Sam Penn from Collin County and Charlotte Murray from Denton County took the stage alongside Dallas County’s Harper Burt, whose Nutty Flying Pig in Paradise sandwich claimed the cooking contest’s top prize.

“I was really nervous about competing because I didn’t know what it would be like working with a celebrity like Guy, but it was a really great experience,” Burt said.

First place laurels for her shredded grilled chicken and bacon sandwich with pecan waffle buns included Carnival cruise tickets for Burt, her family and a friend.

Dodd, on behalf of Texas 4-H, extended “sincere thanks to Carnival for their donations and to Guy Fieri for the opportunity to highlight how we work to spur healthy habits like cooking for our youth across the state.”

At the event, Fieri also stressed the importance of learning to cook at a young age, jokingly pointing out his own biggest childhood concerns, “worrying about how to get more time at recess or playtime outside.

“Today we have kids worrying about obesity, worrying about diabetes. That’s not the way this is supposed to be working,” he said. “One of the most important things we can do is teach our kids to cook.”

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