Bruce Schultz, Merrill, Thomas A., Rowntree, Jason E. | 4/21/2005 11:05:49 PM
LAFAYETTE – More than 50 graduates of the Master Cattle Producer program received diplomas at a ceremony held Saturday (Jan. 15) during the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association convention here.
It was the first commencement for the program that started last year and has seen 111 people go through the intensive educational series.
Edward Harris of St. Landry Parish was among the graduates receiving diplomas and a Master Cattle Producer’s sign. He said the coursework opened a wide spectrum of material to help him improve his herd.
"The information we received is the bible for the cattle industry," Harris said.
Jason Rowntree, LSU AgCenter specialist for the program, said 111 students completed the intensive program – although some of them were not present for the commencement ceremonies.
The Master Cattle Producer training resulted from a partnership between the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It is designed to help cattle producers learn how to increase their profitability while producing animals in the most environmentally friendly methods. It is a spinoff from the LSU AgCenter’s Master Farmer program, which focuses on teaching farmers to minimize environmental effects while maximizing productivity.
Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor, credited cattle owners for starting the Master Cattle Producer program, while Rowntree said cooperation among LSU AgCenter agents, specialists and others really makes the program a success.
"The curriculum they developed is outstanding and will help cattle producers across the state," Coreil said.
Graduates of the Master Cattle Producer program are more in tune with consumer demand, according to Don Ghomert of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
"The background you have as Master Cattle Producers has put you far ahead," Ghomert said.
Charles Litteral, president of the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association, said the designation also means that graduates are certified under the Beef Quality Assurance standards, which educates producers on proper vaccination administration and other issues that influence the beef that consumers buy at the grocery store.
The 10 weekly three-hour classes provide information on a wide range of subjects, including pasture management, breeding, reproduction, animal health, animal handling, nutrition, end product and financial management.
Individuals who want to enroll in the program should contact their parish’s LSU AgCenter Extension Office. The total cost is $100, and a meal is included at each session.
Another graduate, Joubert Harris of Zachary, uncle of Edward Harris, said the program made him aware of new regulations that are in place or will be instituted.
"I’m so glad to be on the front end of that," Harris said, adding that he also appreciated the big picture view that the program provided. "What I’ve learned is connecting the dots between the producer and consumer."
J.P. Hebert of St. Mary Parish said he’s been in the cattle business for 20 years and that the program refreshed him on many subjects and introduced him to new ideas.
"It brings up new thinking in the cattle business," Hebert said. "A young cattleman today should go through the program."
Carol Reed of Lafayette Parish recently got into the cattle business, although she’s continuing her accounting career. She said the program gave her a jump start at raising a herd.
"We were exposed to a tremendous amount of information," Reed said. "It couldn’t have come at a more opportune time."
The complete list of graduates, by parish, includes:
Acadia – Carol Reed, Darrell Richard, Janice Prejean, Jeffrey Bouillion, John Richard and Louis Dooley.
Ascension – Jerry Sadden.
Bossier – John Cunningham.
DeSoto – Wayne Medlin.
East Baton Rouge – Clifton Pearson, James Womack, Joubert Harris, R.M. Black and Victor Womack.
East Feliciana – Chris Martin and Jack Jones.
Evangeline – Anthony Rozas and Burley Landry.
Iberia – David Fremin, Harvey Gonsoulin, Jerome Fitch, Mark Broussard, Randy Melancon, Rayward Fremin Sr., Ronald Broussard and Ryan Dore.
Iberville – Jeff Hymel and Jeigh Hymel.
Jefferson – Leslie Boudreaux Jr.
Lafayette – Brian Kibbe, Carol Clause, Charles Roche, Clayton McDonald, Cory Richard, Craig Girouard, Darla Lanie, Dwayne Martin, Frank Bacque, Harry Bowles, Jamen Sellers, Karl Girouard, Kirk Martin, Lercey Breaux, Mark Simon, Shelly McDonald, Sidney Bowles Jr., Vernal Comeaux and Weston Kilchrist.
Livingston – Bobbie Womack, Bryan McMorris, Carol Higginbotham Jr., Dale Cambre, Dennis Howze, Gary McMorris, Geneva Adair, John Paul Swetledge, Joseph Adair, Ruth Cambre, Shane Collins and Sue Swetledge.
Red River – Jack Wimberly, Jim Windham and Roger Wilson.
St. Landry – Dale Bertrand, Dwane Link, Edward Harris III, Emile Bourgoyne, Harold Landreneau, Harvey LeBlanc, J.Lane Campbell, Joey Hebert, Joseph Hidalgo, Kyle Link, Lawrence Miller, Mike Diehl, Randy Miller, Ronnie Link and Stuart Gardner.
St. Martin – Mitch Deville and Richard M. Cain.
St. Mary – J.P. Hebert.
St. Tammany – Danny Tonagel, Dennis Glass, Kenny Baham and Kim Tonagel.
Tangipahoa – Carolyn Falgout, Charles Ponder, Danny Bardwell, David Lacour, David Watson, Dawn Wales, Joel Dicharry, Law Ponder, Lennie Wales, Louis Wittie, Samuel Magee, Shane Bardwell, Sheila Wittie, Shirley Lacour and Troy Gulotta.
Vermilion – Clay Marceaux, James LeLeux Sr., Jimmy Vice, Kyle Soileau, Mary Faulk, Raymond Fontenot, Raywood Faulk and Scott Esthay.
Washington – Craig Peterson, Jesse Gibson and Miquel Martinez.