Harrogate, Tennessee, February 20, 2018 – Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) and the Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia (CAHA) hosted the 2018 Cumberland Gap Cattle Conference at the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center (DVTC) in Ewing, Virginia on Saturday, February 3, 2018. The conference drew 110 producers, veterinarians, country extension agents, industry representatives and community stakeholders from the tri-state area to learn about cattle production, forages and other educational material.
The Cumberland Gap region has a sizeable cattle industry, but due to its location and resources, it is often hard for producers to attend conferences and other larger extension programs. With the creation of LMU-CVM and the expansion of the DVTC facilities, the area now has the capacity to hold events like the Cumberland Gap Cattle Conference.
“When we first came up with the idea to host this conference three years ago, our goal was for it to elevate the agricultural capacity of the region, and we are proud to see it grow in attendance and content every year,” said Dr. Jason Johnson, vice president and dean of LMU-CVM.
The Cumberland Gap Cattle Conference is a joint effort between LMU, Virginia Tech, The University of Tennessee and University of Kentucky. Local agriculture extension agents from surrounding counties who represent their state land-grant institutions worked together with Dr. Jerry Roberson, professor of large animal internal medicine at LMU-CVM to plan the conference and promote the event to cattle producers in the Cumberland Gap Area. The extension agents involved included Amy Fannon from Lee County, Virginia; Scott Jerrell from Scott County, Virginia; Phillip Meeks from Wise County, Virginia; Tom Rison from Claiborne County, Tennessee; Jacob Boone from Hancock County, Tennessee; Blake Ramsey from Hawkins County, Tennessee; Stacy White from Bell County, Kentucky; Jeremy Williams from Harlan County, Kentucky and Wayne Kirby from Knox County, Kentucky. The conference allows producers in the area to benefit from all the resources of these four universities and county extension offices.
The newly constructed facilities at the DVTC in Ewing allowed producers to experience hands-on sessions and conduct wet labs with help from LMU-CVM faculty and food animal veterinary students. Roberson led a session demonstrating proper methods of administering vaccines and medications to cattle utilizing pathology specimens and injection models. A second wet lab teaching castration methods utilizing models was conducted by Dr. Philippa Gibbons, assistant professor of veterinary medicine and food animal clinician for LMU-CVM. Other sessions included the topics of bull health led by Dr. Lew Strickland, associate professor at The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, bull genetics and selection led by Dr. Scott Greiner, professor at Virginia Tech’s Department of Animal and Poultry Science, and optimal stocking rate and hay economics led by Dr. Greg Halich, associate professor at University of Kentucky in the Department of Agriculture Economics.
After its third year, the Cumberland Gap Cattle Conference is showing some positive results for local producers. A survey was given to the participants with 30 percent of respondents reporting that they planned on making many changes to their management as a result of the conference, and 66 percent planning to make a few changes to their management as a result of the conference.
“I appreciate the support that LMU provides for the Cumberland Gap Cattle Conference and cattle industry as a whole for the area,” Fannon said. “As an extension agent, I strive to provide quality educational opportunities for the farmers in my county. The location of LMU allows for extension agents from all three states to come together to create programming of the highest quality. Without the support of LMU, we could never offer this level of educational opportunity in this area.”
Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7150 or visit us online at vetmed.LMUnet.edu.