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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU turns to cattle producers to help support judging teams

New Mexico State University?s Animal and Range Sciences Department is turning to cattle producers to help support the judging teams with a four-legged donation.

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has created the Steer-A-Year program to provide livestock for animal science course work, and funds to support the judging team program.

?We are asking cattle producers throughout the state to donate a steer calf each fall to our program,? said Tim Ross, retired animal and range sciences department head. ?We will raise it, use it in many of our classes, including our judging teams training, and when it reaches slaughter weight, we will sell it. The proceeds will go toward supporting the judging teams.?

Throughout the judging team program?s 65-year history, many students have had the chance to be a part of the livestock, wool and horse judging teams, as well as the range club team competitions.

?Involvement on the judging teams teaches essential life skills,? said John Campbell, NMSU instructor and advisor for the judging teams. ?In particular, decision-making, oral communications, teamwork and dedication are some of the traits team members gain.?

?We hope, with the creation of the Steer-A-Year program, the judging teams can continue for generations to come,? Ross said. ?Supporting these teams is very costly. It runs between $30,000 and $40,000 to have these teams travel to competition.?

The Steer-A-Year concept will include picking up the animal from the producers each fall at weaning and bringing them to the Las Cruces campus. The animals will become property of the college.

The cattle producers will receive in-kind donation paperwork for the donation to the program.

?Sometimes our cattle growers can?t write a check and support in that form or fashion, but donating an in-kind animal could be something they could do very easily,? said Terra V. Winter, director of development for the college.

?We would like to start this program with a minimum of eight to 10 steers,? Ross said. ?We would like to build up to 20 to 25 steers each year.?

As the steers grow from weaning to slaughter weight, they will be used in various animal science classes as the students study the stages of the animals? development. They will also be used for 4-H and FFA judging contests.

?The following spring, students in the exhibiting livestock class will groom and prepare the steers for show,? Campbell said. ?The steers will then be evaluated and a Steer-A-Year Champion will be chosen.?

The producer of the champion steer will be recognized and advertised in the New Mexico Stockman for NMSU Judging Team bragging rights, along with other awards.

The steers will be sold at the end of the spring semester and proceeds will be placed in the judging team travel funds to offset travel expenses for all the teams.

?With cattle prices what they are, this will be a great commitment from the producers with a greater opportunity to build a legacy for the NMSU livestock judging teams,? Ross said.

For more information on the Steer-A-Year program or on how to donate, contact Terra V. Winter at 575-646-5787.