; Empowering Women Using Livestock Boot Camps | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Empowering Women Using Livestock Boot Camps

JJ Jones and Kennedy McCall


According to the 2017 Census of Ag in Oklahoma, there are 46,267 beef cattle operations. Of those operations, 26,523 (57.3%) have female operators and 17,539 (37.9%) are principally operated by females. Yet attendance at previous OSU Cow/Calf Boot Camps and other Extension programs have averaged less than 10% female. At the same time, other Extension programs such as Annie's Project and Women in Agriculture conferences have had tremendous success empowering women agricultural producers to become better business operators.

The OSU Cattlewomen's Boot Camp is a project that combines elements of two successful programs, Annie's Project and the Oklahoma Livestock Boot Camps. Using previous agendas from the boot camps and the teaching model of Annie's Project, the program creates an informative and engaging learning experience for female producers covering various methods on how to manage the production, financial, and market risks when operating a beef cow/calf operation.

The first Cattlewomen's Boot Camp was held in June 2022. Fifty-one female producers registered for the camp with 46 from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas attending. Topics covered at the camp include cattle handling, general herd management practices such as ID, ear tagging, and castration, cow body condition scoring, heifer and bull selection, calving season management, reproduction, parasite control, farm business planning, budgeting, farm financial statements, record keeping, record keeping systems, nutrition, forage systems, forage analysis and testing, cattle health and vaccinations, marketing, beef quality assurance certification and estate planning or succession planning. Whenever possible, the instructors for the individual sessions were taught by a female instructor. Participants of the boot camp were given a pre and post-test, and self-evaluation. Pre and post-test scores showed an increase in knowledge gained of 24.4% with the largest increase coming in the areas of risk management and parasite management. On the self-evaluation, participants indicated an increase of knowledge of 74.3% with the largest increase coming in forage production and herd nutrition. When asked about perceived adoption of practices taught during the camp, the average adoption rate was 73.5%. When asked about the perceived value of the camp to their operation, the value ranged from $100 to $3,000 with a total value of $23,635. Overall, this initial camp was seen as a success. A second camp has been planned for June 2023 and that camp has a waiting list of over 30 producers.