Southwest Regional Dairy Center receives grant to help state's dairy producers

E-T staff report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced this week an investment of more than $7 million in research grants to U.S. Non-Land-grant Colleges of Agriculture.

Tarleton State University received a grant for $299,768 for the Southwest Regional Dairy Center, according to information from NIFA.

Tarleton State University received a grant for $299,768 for the Southwest Regional Dairy Center from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Located at the heart of Texas Milkshed, the SWRDC at Tarleton is at the forefront of gathering and processing research-based information for Texas dairy farmers.

To meet the service/outreach demand of dairy communities of Texas and the Southwest, it became apparent that the SWRDC needs greater capacity for engaging more geographically distant groups, including dairy producers in Texas Panhandles Milkshed, agricultural researchers in College Station, and extension educators spread throughout all Texas Counties, according to the grant application presented to NIFA.

"To address this issue, we propose to employ 360° Virtual Reality (VR) Outreaching Outlet. The PI's on the project will record VR videos in different areas of farm and manure management," reads the grant application. "We will use these VR videos to engage more producers through the state of TX and reach more personnel through VR training. Lastly, we will develop an extension training network through the SWRDC to train more producers on best practices."

These grants aim to increase research, education and outreach capacity at Non-Land-grant Institutions to support development of the innovations and workforce needed to sustain the agriculture industry in the future.