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A time to reflect, look to the future

By Billy Ward II
ANR/4-H Extension Agent
Johnson County

Christmas behind us and 2021 ahead, this is a good time to reflect on how far we have traveled over the past year and where we want to be in the future. However, the farming calendar does not start on January 1. Plans for the 2021 crop, garden, and livestock operations began several months ago. Calves, lambs, and goat kids will be born soon, and we want to do the best we can to get them off to a good start, provide for their continued health and growth, and realize a profit at the end of the year.

Some of the tools we have in our farm tool kits are the local extension service’s continuing educational opportunities, including the Master Beef and Master Small Ruminant programs. These “Master” programs provide producers with important tools needed to make long term improvements in herd health, overall management, and long-term profitability. Topics covered in these meetings include genetic selection, nutrition, forages, industry updates, and marketing. Providing a mix of research and practical “on-the-ground” experience and tips, the 2021 Master Beef and Master Small Ruminant courses are not to be missed.

Beginning in January, the Johnson County UT/TSU Extension Office will be hosting the Master Beef and Master Small Ruminant webinars that provide the latest industry information and qualify producers wishing to participate in the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) for cost-share dollars. Completion of these courses earns producers a 3 -year certification.

If you participated in one of the “Master” programs in 2017 or 2018 and have not re-certified, please make plans to enroll. If you have any questions or would like more information, please stop by the extension office at 212 College Street or call 423-727-8161. Happy New Year!