Livestock show animal health focus of recent Texas A&M AgriLife workshop

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259,

COLLEGE STATION – A recent workshop held at Texas A&M University and also made available to online participants taught attendees preventive care and treatment tips with livestock show projects.

Workshop organizers were Dr. Tom Hairgrove, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service livestock and food systems coordinator, Dr. Jason Cleere, AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, and Dr. Billy Zanolini, AgriLife Extension 4-H Youth Development specialist. The program featured perspectives from livestock show officials, veterinarians and an AgriLife Extension meat specialist.


The workshop, Treating Show Animal Illness: Considering the Animal and Exhibitor, was held recently at Texas A&M University and online. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

The workshop attracted participants from all across Texas and was a joint effort by the Texas A&M department of animal science, AgriLife Extension and Texas 4-H.

“Last year we had a similar program where veterinarians came from all across the state and heard similar presentations,” Hairgrove said. “We had lots of parents, Agrilife Extension agents and ag science teachers express interest in this type of training, and we are glad that this came together.”

In all, Hairgrove said the program reached 200 individuals on campus and online. He said all of the program discussion and information was well received by participants.

Allyson Tjoelker, executive director of agricultural exhibits with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, opened the program, providing an overview of carcass residues in livestock projects.

Dr. Jason Cleere, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, provided a parent’s perspective on exhibiting livestock. Cleere said the youth livestock project’s primary goals are to develop a better understanding of livestock production and help them build character.

“It teaches us work ethic, responsibility and understanding,” Cleere said. “Work is what life is all about. These show projects also teach kids that they will win some and lose some as well. It’s also a financial commitment to take on these projects, and it takes big parent involvement. Overall, it’s an investment in the kids.”

Cleere said in addition to a time investment, there’s also considerable financial investment.

“You will pay $1,500 for a calf right now out of the pasture,” Cleere said.

There’s also an emotional aspect to the project as kids get attached to the animals, Cleere said, as well as potential for disappointment.

“Your child works hard to maintain the animal, and it gets down to the last two months, and the calf gets sick,” Cleere said.

“We are not going to give you all the answers or tools to diagnose and make treatment decisions,” he said. “The key is to have a valid relationship with a working veterinarian.”

Dr. Davey Griffin, AgriLife Extension Service meat specialist, discussed the different aspects of a show animal becoming a meat product.

“There are all kinds of different issues we face,” he said. “There are a lot of different processes in making that show animal into a meat product.”

Griffin provided an overview of issues, such as injectionsite tissue damage, that affect the quality of the show animal once harvested. He also discussed the impacts of withdrawal times and random sampling tests done at the livestock show.

Additionally, Griffin gave attendees insight from a packer’s perspective and some of the things they look for when processing carcasses.

Dr. Billy Zanolini, AgriLife Extension 4-H Youth Development specialist, provided an overview of, awebsite where livestock show participants can get valuable information on show projects and related information.

Other featured speakers during the workshop were Dr. William Edmiston, Eldorado Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Steve Kennedy, Muleshoe Animal Clinic, Dr. Gary Warner, Elgin Veterinary Hospital, and Dr. Virginia Fajt, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M.

The veterinarians discussed preventive health practices that youth should implement after they purchase their calvesand provided an overview of common ailmentsanimals may face.


Via AgriLife TODAY | Livestock show animal health focus of recent Texas A&M AgriLife workshop

For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at or (979) 845-1542.

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