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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Indian Livestock School Aims to Improve Production and Profits

ALBUQUERQUE - Native American and other livestock producers can learn about animal diseases, innovative marketing, grazing alternatives and federal identification regulations during a workshop May 13-14 at the Dulce Community Center.

NMSU's Indian Livestock School May 13-14 at the Dulce Community Center will offer workshops to address issues facing producers on the reservations. (05/05/2004) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Norman Martin)

The Jicarilla Apache Nation will host the 2004 Indian Livestock School, organized by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service to help tribal producers improve production and increase profits.

"It's an opportunity for Indian producers to share experiences and ideas while learning about new strategies and techniques," said Hayley Encinias, Extension agricultural and 4-H agent for New Mexico's eight northern pueblos.

The workshop is open to everyone, but presenters will focus on issues affecting tribal producers, said Ron Parker, head of NMSU's Extension Animal Resources Department.

"Indian producers have unique concerns, such as management of community grazing lots," Parker said. "Many also manage small herds far from markets, so they face unique challenges to move cattle to auction lots or other points of sale."

To address these issues, NMSU and the University of Arizona jointly launched the annual livestock school in the early 1980s. The event alternates each year between the two states, Parker said.

At this year's workshop, veterinarian Raymond Loretto will discuss animal diseases, such as West Nile and BSE, and review vaccination programs and ways to inspect herd health, Encinias said.

Clay Mathis, NMSU beef cattle specialist, will discuss new identification regulations being finalized by the federal government. Some regulations will take effect this year as part of a national effort to track all cattle back through the food chain to originating farms and ranches if necessary, Encinias said.

A panel of NMSU specialists and private producers will talk about innovative marketing strategies, such as developing Native American product labels. Another panel will discuss community grazing issues, including ways for producers to coordinate with tribal governments and other agencies to avoid overgrazing, Encinias said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives will discuss assistance programs available through the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDA's Environmental Quality Incentive Program. Indian producers who recently enrolled in these programs will explain how it benefited them, Encinias said.

Extension specialists will talk about using the Valles Caldera National Preserve and the Valle Grande grassbank as alternative grazing sites to let tribal lands recuperate.

Vernon Casados, a horseman from Tierra Amarilla, will give a hands-on demonstration on horse handling and care. Manny Encinias, Extension natural resources specialist, will offer a hands-on workshop about selecting healthy replacement heifers.

Workshop participants will tour the Jicarilla Apache elk breeding and hunting game park and view range, forestry and water conservation projects. The workshop includes a trade show with booths from industry representatives and government agencies. The event concludes with a barbecue and fishing competition.

Registration is $30 per person, which includes three meals. Participants are encouraged to preregister.

For more information, contact Jesse LeFevre at (505) 759-3530 or by e-mail at jicarill@nmsu.edu. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, please contact LeFevre in advance.