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Texas A&M Agrilife Extends Beef Cattle Expertise Internationally

By Gabe Saldana

Texas A&M AgriLife has expanded the reach of its beef cattle expertise with two international initiatives led by a professor in the Department of Animal Science in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Reinaldo Cooke, Ph.D., the Burkhart Endowed Professor for Beef Cattle Research, leads the 44 Farms-Texas A&M International Beef Cattle Academy, which has expanded beyond online courses to offer live training events in participating host countries.

Cooke has also taken a leadership role in organizing a major international beef cattle conference in Brazil. The conference’s Portuguese title translates to New Focuses on Cattle Production and Reproduction. It draws more than 2,000 participants annually from among the world’s major cattle producers, scientists and technology leaders.

Meeting international demands for live beef cattle instruction

The first international live course of the academy, now in its sixth year of operation, was a one-day training event that took place in Campeche, Mexico, in June. More than 500 participants attended.

The next event is slated for October in Guatemala.

“There was a massive response to our online international offerings,” Cooke said. “After six years, people from all over the world are aware of these courses as well as the annual short course in College Station, and they are eager to partner with us to offer these events in their countries.”

The single-day international courses are adapted from the three-day Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, which drew more than 1,900 participants to College Station this year. Texas A&M University faculty experts in beef cattle production, led by Cooke, speak at the international live courses.

The course schedule covers about a dozen new and fundamental beef cattle production concepts. They span forage and grazing, nutrition, health, reproduction, genetics, beef quality and new advances in each area. A review of the Mexico event by The Brahman Journal called it exemplary, well organized and professionally executed.

“Taking this event international also advances our mandate as a U.S. land-grant institution to extend agricultural expertise far and wide,” Cooke said. 

Taking the reins of an international beef cattle conference

Cooke is now preparing to further extend the academy across international industry and academia in March in Brazil with his leadership role in organizing the 26th edition of New Focuses on Cattle Production and Reproduction.

He aims to grow the conference as the world’s premier forum for beef cattle and dairy idea exchange. It includes real-time translation in two 1,000-attendee halls, topically split between beef and dairy presentations. An industry trade show also takes place.

“This is one of the world’s largest and most influential cattle conferences, and it takes place in Brazil, the largest cattle industry in the world,” Cooke said. “Leading this conference and expanding our on-site live courses through the 44 Farms-Texas A&M International Beef Cattle Academy represents a major step by Texas A&M AgriLife to share our vast beef cattle expertise benefiting production, lives and livelihoods across the globe.”

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