This past weekend 24 4-H Pasture to Packer participants and parents traveled to Kansas to learn more about the beef cattle industry. This tour provides participants an opportunity to hear from top livestock producers and ag businesses in the nation. The group started Friday morning traveling to the Bradley 3 Ranch in Childress.

Participants and parents gained information on predictable genetics that wean the most quality pounds of beef. The Bradley Ranch has identified DNA markers on all their bulls and take responsibility for all calves sired by their bulls. They have a unique program in that they have no debt and operate off of no borrowed money. The tour ended with Minnie Lou Bradley addressing the group about the importance of agriculture and telling their story.

The group then traveled through Amarillo and ate at “The Big Texan,” home of the 72 ounce steak. We didn’t have any takers on trying to eat the large meal. Saturday morning started with a tour of Cattle Empire, one of the largest family owned feedlots in the world.

This feedlot has 238,000 head of cattle when at full capacity. It provides a strong relationship with producers in an economical and sustainable way keeping producers at their highest priority. After lunch we traveled to Fort Dodge, Kansas to visit Cargill, a beef processing, fabrication and maintenance facility. We learned the process when cattle arrive at the facility.

Following the Cargill presentation, the group then toured the Boothill Museum to learn more about the history of Dodge City, KS and the rich livestock industry in the area. The day ended up with traveling to the Black Diamond Angus Ranch.

This ranch has been in business for 134 years. This is agriculture sustainability. The ranch strives to raise cattle that meet the markets demands in the pasture and on the plate. Sunday the group traveled back to Stephenville. Participants gained some very valuable knowledge about the beef industry and some memories that will be shared for years to come. Our many sponsors make this educational tour a success with their sponsorship.

Lone Star Healthy Streams Workshop

A Lone Star Healthy Streams workshop is set for Nov. 16 at the Texas AgriLife Research Center, 1229 N US Hwy 281 in Stephenville. The workshop will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. A catered lunch will be provided at no cost, but an RSVP is requested by Nov. 12.

Workshop presentations will focus on basic watershed function, water quality and specific best management practices that can be implemented to help minimize bacterial contamination originating from beef cattle, horses and feral hogs, said Matt Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist in College Station.  Three general continuing education credits will be provided for certified pesticide applicators through the Texas Department of Agriculture.

To RSVP contact the Erath County Extension Office at 254-965-1460.

Lonnie Jenschke is an Erath County extension agent. His column appears weekly and online at