Drought, threats of foreign animal diseases, changes in regulations, general economic conditions, consumer concerns, and market price fluctuations contribute to ongoing needs for educational programs in production, market and price risk, and business financial management for beef producers. As more than 980,000 of the country’s 2.1 million farms have cattle, the potential audience is large in most states. OSU’s Master Cattleman program has afforded an opportunity for agricultural economists to collaborate in developing and delivering interdisciplinary, in-depth educational programs targeted to beef producers. Funding support has been provided through agency partnerships, fees, and scholarships. The program has proven popular both with producers and Extension educators, sometimes creating unanticipated burdens.
The presentation provides a brief overview of the Master Cattleman educational program, addressing the motivation, planning process, resources developed (manual, lesson plans, website) and multi-disciplinary approach. Program components and delivery options are highlighted along with lessons learned. Enrollment statistics are presented. Ideas on how to successfully conduct an interdisciplinary educational program that is in-depth in nature and requires a significant commitment of time from producers are shared. Finally, other similar programs in the South are briefly compared and contrasted.