SAN ANGELO — Sheep and goats have always been a part of Reid Redden’s life. As a result of growing up on his family’s livestock operation and focusing on sheep and goat production in college, Reid chose to turn his childhood passion into a career.
The Department of Animal Science welcomed Reid to the faculty in March as the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist and Associate Professor. Reid works in the heart of sheep and goat country at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in San Angelo. He is responsible for leading the agency’s state presence in the sheep and goat industry in both the youth and adult levels.
Reid grew up in Utopia, Texas, where his family owned and operated a diversified livestock operation. “As a teenager, sheep were the part of the operation that I enjoyed most; particularly raising and showing finewool market lambs.”
With his background, it seems fitting that most of Reid’s undergraduate and graduate programs focused on sheep and goat production. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M, his master’s degree in reproductive physiology from New Mexico State University, and his doctorate in ruminant nutrition from Montana State University.
Prior to joining Texas A&M, Reid worked as an Extension sheep specialist and assistant professor at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
Learn more about Reid with this short Q&A:
What projects and programs are you working on?
The youth program in Texas is largely responsible for developing my interest in these industries; therefore, I am excited to give back to the program that shaped who I am. In addition, I also see a bright future for the commercial sheep and goat industry.
However, the future of the industry is likely to be quite different from how the industry has traditionally functioned. I am looking forward to working with the industry and helping to turn the page on the Extension sheep and goat efforts in Texas.
Sheep and goat producers are a diverse group of producers with drastically different goals and objectives. This year, we are hosting the first Texas Sheep and Goat Expo on Aug. 28 and 29, 2015 to bring all segments of the industry together to gain and share information.
Specifically, my educational efforts are designed to help sheep and goat ranchers improve profitability via increased productivity and reduction of predation and parasitism. An underutilized tool to prevent predation is livestock guardian dogs. We are planning research at the research center to learn more about how coyotes and guard dogs interact.
Parasites have a major impact on sheep and goat production and this year the problem is worse than most, given the above average rainfall. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension has been a leader in parasite management and I look forward to carrying on the efforts to improve how sheep and goat ranchers plan for parasites.
Last but not least, I am making a concerted effort to improve the sheep and goat industries understanding of quantitative genetic selection via the National Sheep Improvement Program. The use of breeding values has substantially improved productivity and herd health in the cattle industry and this technology has been available to the sheep and goat industries but has not been widely accepted.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?
The saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” couldn’t be more true for me. I truly love working with small ruminants and the people who raise them. I also crave information and thoroughly enjoy sharing this information with others. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to attain the highest level of education within the field I find most interesting. Plus, I have had the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and the world to speak and learn about sheep and goats. This continues to excite me and I hope I never lose the child-like curiosity of always wanting more information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.