Thursday, July 24, 2008
Cattlemen focus on animal nutrition
By SUE WATSON
Members of the Marshall County Cattleman’s Association met last Thursday for a steak dinner and business meeting, which focused on increasing scholarship applications.
Tim Mays, sales representative with Nutrena Feeds (Cargill Animal Nutrition), talked about cattle supplements and nutrition, along with Pat Woods, with Woods Farm Supply, the sponsor of the meeting.
The first scholarship awarded by the association was presented to Adel Summers, a sophomore at Ole Miss majoring in business and marketing. She is the daughter of Paul and Tammy Summers of the Byhalia area.
The Cattleman’s Association will present a scholarship yearly hereafter, according to Paul Summers. School counselors are encouraged to help the association in recruiting students to apply for the scholarship.
Paul Summers said the Cattleman’s Association is seeking to increase the number of scholarship applications. He encourages all high school seniors and current college students to apply. The only qualification is that either they are a member or a relative of a member of the association.
Summers said she wrote a four-page essay after her dad, and Buck Hobbs encouraged her to apply for the scholarship. Her essay topic covered the benefits of growing up in a rural area on a farm, she said. Her parents have a cattle and forestry farming operation with about equal acreage set aside for each use.
They raise a cross of Texas Longhorn with Brangus bulls and have about 120 head of stock.
Summers said she wants to work as a pharmaceutical sales representative after graduation, get established as a businessperson, then come home to Byhalia to raise a family.
Summers is vice president of the Cattleman’s Association and W. D. “Bill” Fitts is president this year.
Adel said she is a daddy’s girl and has helped out in little ways around the farm. This year she bottle-fed a calf dubbed Lucky, after the mother died while giving birth.
She has helped hold the calves while they get their shots and bandings and she acted as a pickup escort to her father when he’s on the road with a tractor. That job involves getting out and opening and closing the gates.
Adel accompanies her dad when he goes to count heads and babies in the pastures. And a cowgirl at heart, she owns a Tennessee walking horse and two Quarter horses.
Woods, whose family goes back four generations in the cattle business in the county, now operates Woods Farm Supply. The business opened originally as a gin to sell fertilizer.
He expressed concerns about the economy, saying “up until last year there was always someone who could answer my questions.”
“But, no one in the last 12 months can tell me anything about what’s happening now,” he said.
But he remains optimistic.
“We will learn how to deal with $4 gas and $5 diesel. We’ve been doing this the last 200 years and we will survive,” he said.
He said producers continue to learn how to spread risks out.
“With cattle and grain, we must market it right,” he said.
He encouraged members to be careful in purchasing feed that contains the essential nutrients and minerals for the area before introducing Mays.
“In the last 10 years, I’ve found the cheapest feed is sometimes the most expensive,” he said, in reference to the temptation to buy cheaper supplements but not get the right nutrition the herd needs to grow and remain healthy.
Mays said the parent company, Cargill Animal Nutrition, prepares cattle feeds and nutrient mixes that match the dietary needs for cattle raised in Mississippi and Tennessee.
Cargill operates 72 mills in the United States with the Byhalia facility the most modern plant in operation, Mays said.
One of the largest privately held corporations in the world, Cargill has 52 business units with emphasis in processing feed for animals and foods for human consumption. It supplies steak and beef products for Outback Steakhouse, shrimp, cooking oils for McDonald’s and Burger King, and eggs and sausage for McDonald’s. Cargill also owns biodiesel plants, Mays said.
Some upcoming events available to members this summer and fall include:
• Beef Quality Association Program in Grenada, July 24.
• Mississippi State short course on forage crops in August.
• Cattle Exchange Program in October.
• Cattlemans’ Association Field Day at the fairgrounds, September 27 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Paul Summers said the Cattleman’s Association is also seeking to increase membership. Dues are only $10 a year. A person does not have to own cattle or stock but just be interested in cattle to join.
To inquire further about membership or activities put on by the association contact any one of the following: Randy Curtis, Steve Elgin, W.D. “Bill” Fitts, Buck Hobbs, Richard Jordan, William McFerrin, Davie Seldon, Jack Shaffer, Paul Summers, Edgar Wilkinson or Janet Jolley (county extension director - 662-252-3541). Area agent is Lance Newman.
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