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Are You An Old Dog?

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For as long as I can recall, I have been aware of the saying: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Most people seem to believe this and, apparently, believe it also applies to humans. I have come to this conclusion because many people fail to take advantage of readily available educational opportunities. Thus, they don't learn any new tricks.

One thing that has changed dramatically during my time at the Noble Research Institute is the quantity and the availability of information. Perhaps we suffer from information overload, because it is difficult to remain current on all the recent developments that impact us. The Agricultural Division tries to assist you with this dilemma. That is why we have educational events, newsletters, Web sites, etc. We are also continually working with new partners (like extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, producer groups and others) who can assist us with information awareness and dissemination. We are currently working to expand some of our educational programs to different sites within our service area via distance learning broadcasts.

Another opportunity for many is the ability to further their formal education without "going off to school." Numerous colleges and universities offer a vast array of classes and degree programs that can be completed at community colleges, higher education centers and other locations. One can now complete a degree program or pick up a few hours of credit and never set foot on a college campus or have to leave their family and/or job to do so.

Southern Plains Beef Symposium
Switching gears a little bit - it's hard for me to believe, but it's almost time for the 17th Annual Southern Plains Beef Symposium. It will take place on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Ardmore Convention Center in Ardmore, Okla.

The 2007 symposium focuses on things that are foremost on many of our minds: weather, high energy costs, and proper cattle care and handling.

The program is scheduled to include:
Dr. Jeanne Schneider, research meteorologist with the USDA-ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory at El Reno, Okla., who will address weather trends and talk about some of her agency's research that focuses on risk-based management tools for agriculture and water resources;
James Mintert, extension state leader in agricultural economics from Kansas State University and a recognized authority in the area of cattle and grain markets, who will bring us up to date on the cattle and grain situations and provide insight into what the future holds;
Kevin Dhuyvetter, state extension farm management specialist from Kansas State University, who will discuss the influence of higher energy and grain prices on the cattle industry and the forages that grow and maintain cattle. He tracks the value of forage in grazing situations and is familiar with the impact of escalating input costs;
Tom Nofsinger, a practicing veterinarian from Benkelman, Neb., who will speak about cattle behavior and handling. His comments are always enlightening and enjoyed by those in attendance; and
Our expert panel, consisting of Phil Mannschreck, cow-calf producer, Anadarko, Okla.; Tim Haines, integrated cow-calf producer, Lexington, Okla.; Jerry White, stocker operator, Chickasha, Okla.; Walter Lasley, cattle feeder and feedlot operator, Stratford, Texas.; and Dave Hutcheson, feedlot nutritionist, Amarillo, Texas, will discuss the impact of high energy prices on cattle operations and take questions from the audience.

Combine all of this speaking talent with a trade show of more than 40 participants and you will have the opportunity to gain a whole lot of information while visiting with your friends. This year's lunch will feature our favorite - BEEF, in the form of delicious prime rib. All of this is available for the reasonable fee of $25, if you get preregistered. To register, call Annie Coble at (580) 224-6501. Don't be "an old dog" - be there and learn some new tricks!