Supplementation Strategies for Cattle Producers

AUBURN, Ala. — Supplementation is an important management strategy for cattle producers to implement as cooler weather approaches.

Supplementation is adding or including ingredients into a beef herd’s diet to increase the energy or protein values or both over the base diet to a desired level, said Rickey Hudson, Alabama Extension Animal Science and Forages Regional Extension Agent.

The Goal

Supplementation is imperative for cattle producers because it allows for proper maintenance, growth and performance of cattle.

The primary goal is to complement the deficient base ingredients in the herd’s diet with the necessary nutrients to allow cattle to function without limitations said Hudson.

When Should Supplementation Begin

Producers might consider supplemental feeding in the fall when the nutritional value of warm-season forages begins to decrease, especially in fall-calving systems.

Supplementation should not occur year-round.

“Supplementation might become a necessity at any point during the year, resulting from environmental conditions,” said Hudson. “However, any extended period of supplementation begs for a review of the base diet, along with an audit of the planned beef production system.”

Strategies

Because each operation has different goals and each herd has different dietary needs based on their age and stage of production, there is no single best supplementation strategy to follow.

According to Hudson there are, however, different ways to increase the energy and protein levels in your herd’s feed.

  • Corn is a feedstuff high in energy.
  • Oat and soybean hulls are moderate sources of energy and protein.
  • Corn gluten, cottonseed, dried brewer’s grain, dried distiller’s grain and wheat midds are high in energy and protein.
  • Soybean meal and cottonseed meal are high in protein.

The best supplementation strategy is one that complements the base diet by providing the herd with the needed nutrients while being cost effective for the producer said Hudson.

For more information on feed supplementation, contact your Alabama Cooperative Extension Animal Science and Forages Regional Extension Agent.

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Forage Testing

AUBURN, Ala. — Just as soil tests are an important part of on-farm management, forage testing is an important part of beef management systems.

“Forage testing involves testing fresh forage, hay or silage in a laboratory to

provide information needed to formulate animal rations,” said Josh Elmore, Alabama Cooperative Extension Animal Science and Forages Regional Agent.

“If You Never Check, It’s Just a Guess”

Forage testing is important because producers need to know that the nutrient value of the hay to ensure it meets the nutrient requirement for their livestock said Gerry Thompson, Alabama Cooperative Extension Animal Science and

Forages Regional Agent.

Every animal has different nutrient needs based on what it is doing at that specific time in its life. For example, a dry cow will have less nutrient needs than a cow with a calf.

Forage testing is important because it shows how much protein and energy is in a batch of hay. The test can also reveal if there are any toxic properties, such as nitrates, said Thompson.

It also helps determine how much supplemental feed is needed.

Hay harvested at different times of the year and from different fields will also have different nutrient values. Knowing this helps producers determine if the hay from a particular field or cutting has a higher nutritional value, then it can be fed to livestock with a higher nutrient requirement.

How to Test Forages

Testing forages is simple and something any producer can do by themselves.

Using a hay probe, drill a hole in 12 to 15 random bales of hay and drill to

capture the hay. Every county extension office has a hay probe that producers can borrow.

Once the hay sample has been collected, send it to the Forage Testing Lab at Auburn University for analysis.

Hay stored outside should be tested right before it is fed because exposure to the high humidity and rainfall experienced in the Southeast has diminished the nutrient quality said Thompson. If hay does not reach the proper nutrient requirement for the livestock, supplemental feed will be necessary.

Hay stored inside should be tested once as well, but the nutrient quality will be

about the same as it was when it was cut because it has not been exposed to the elements.

Forage testing is a simple and less labor-intensive management practice that should be utilized to ensure livestock are receiving the proper amount of nutrients.

For more information about forage testing contact your Alabama Cooperative Extension Regional Animal Science and Forages Agent or read the Alabama

Cooperative Extension publication on forage testing here.

Information on collecting a forage sample for laboratory analysis can be found at: www.aces.edu/go/523.

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Fall Calving

The fall is a busy time for many cattle producers in the state as preparation begins for fall calving season. The following provides some considerations when choosing a fall-calving season:

Advantages

  • “October is typically the driest month of the year making for a good time to calve,” said Landon Marks, Alabama Extension Animal Science and Forage Regional Extension Agent.
  • Cooler temperatures in the fall also typically make calving and rebreeding easier.
  • Fall calves typically are marketed the first week of the following August. This is beneficial to cattlemen because the South can provide feedlots with calves at a time when most of the country cannot and they typically will receive a higher price.
  • Fall-born calves in the Southeast tend to have higher weaning weights than spring and summer-born calves said Marks.

Disadvantages

  • Calving in the fall will typically create a higher cost of production because of the lack of available forages.
    • Fall calves will have higher feed costs for hay and supplemental feeds said Johnny Gladney Alabama Extension animal scientist.
  • “Nutrient demands of beef females are generally highest in the first few months after calving,” said Marks. “Cows calving in the fall normally need more winter supplementation than spring-calving females.”
  • “Although spring-born heifers are often lighter at weaning than fall-born heifers, post-weaning gains and body condition scores at breeding are higher for spring-born calves than fall-born calves,” said Marks.

Preparing for Fall Calving

Fall calving takes year-long preparation.

Attending educational meetings hosted by cattlemen’s associations, farmers federations and Extension and keeping the cows’ body condition as close to 5 as possible are two of the best ways to prepare for fall calving said Gladney.

It is also important to remember to review gestation tables and to make sure the bull is with the cows at the right time.

“December, January and February will be the breeding months for a fall calving season lasting from September to November,” said Marks.

If using an artificial insemination, AI, program, it is best to use a timed AI program. This makes sure cows and heifers are synched together so they can all be breed in one day. It is also important to use a proven bull.

Remember to have a good forage program as the backbone of any cow-calf operation because grazing management is crucial to success said Marks.

“Be prepared for calving season,” said Gladney. “Have a vet/client relation because there is going to be a situation that you can’t handle and know when you need to call the vet.”

Other Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • It is important to make sure cows are in the proper body condition during the calving season (5 or above).
  • Producers need to stay educated on Expected Progeny Differences, EPDs. “Look at EPDs and make sure you’re not breeding high birth weights,” said Gladney. High birth weights can cause calving difficulty.
  • During calving, make sure cows are being check twice daily for signs of any calving difficulty and be able to move them into a working facility so they can be treated properly said Marks.
  • “A mistake made by cattleman calving in any time of the year is record keeping,” said Marks. “You cannot improve what has not been measured.”

Whether you calve in the fall or the spring, it is more important to have a specific calving season.

“Calving is the busiest time of the year in most cases on a cow-calf operation, so make sure you are choosing a calving season that fits your personal life schedule as well,” said Marks.

For More Information

For any questions regarding fall calving contact your local Alabama Extension Animal Science and Forage Regional Agent.

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Cool-Season Forages

As fall and cooler weather approaches, cool season forages can be an important forage option for producers seeking to extend their grazing periods.

Types

Cool-season perennial grasses, such as fescue and orchardgrass, are good options to consider because they grow back each year.

“Perennial grasses should be the basis of what you grow,” said Gerry Thompson, Alabama Extension animal scientist.

Ryegrass, rye, wheat, oats and triticale are annual grasses that have to be replanted each year.

Producers need to begin preparing to plant both cool-season perennial and annual grasses in mid-September. Perennials can be planted using either “no till” or by using “conventional tillage” for establishment. Annuals that are being interseeded into existed warm season grasses need to be planted after the warm season grasses have stopped growing.

To get a meaningful amount of fall growth, planting rye in a prepared seedbed will likely provide the earliest cool-season growth. Any warm or cool season annual would benefit from being planted in a prepared seedbed, but it is more expensive than overseeding warm-season perennial grasses.

Benefits

Cool season forages allow the grazing period to be extended further into the year, they minimize the feeding of hay and it is typically a more economical way of feeding livestock.

“A general rule of thumb is that cool season grasses will be more nutritious than warm season grasses” said Thompson.

There also tend to be fewer insects or diseases to manage with cool season forages.

When to Graze

There is no specific day to begin cool season grazing. Producers will typically want to maximize the use of summer grasses for as long as possible before moving to cool season grasses.

Thompson says there will be a gap that is typically hard to fill, when warm season grasses become less productive and before cool season grasses are ready for grazing.

To some degree this can be addressed with improved forage management practices that might include stockpiling of perennial grasses.

Stockpiling Forages

Stockpiling forages is more than simply deferring grazing until later. It is fertilizing them at the right time and having a grazing management system in place that allows animals to “harvest” the grass in a controlled and timely manner said Thompson. The goal of stockpiling is to allow it to grow and make “standing hay” out of it.

Stockpiling is an economical and easy forage management technique. It allows cows to graze the fescue directly instead of cutting and baling it to be fed later.

Management

There are several ways for producers to manage their cool season forages more effectively:

  • Have some type of grazing management plan in place.
  • Make sure soil fertility is where it needs to be to ensure grasses will perform well.
  • Do not allow cool season perennial grasses to be overgrazed in the summer months because they will have diminished carbohydrate reserves available for fall growth.
  • Remember to fertilize cool season grasses in the fall to increase productivity.
  • When possible, stockpile fescue and other grasses for later use in the cooler months.

For More Information

For establishment recommendation with cool-season forages refer to the Alabama Planting Guide for Forage Grasses and the Alabama Planting Guide for Forage Legumes.

Find more information on extending grazing and reducing stored feed needs in the Timely Information- Extending Grazing and Reducing Stored Feed Needs sheet.

Contact your County Extension office for assistance reaching an Extension professional, or for more information.

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Ag Week 2017 Press Release

Media Contacts:

Megan Ross, Student Services Coordinator, College of Agriculture, mhr0001@auburn.edu, 334-844-3201

Mary Kendall Dixon, Agricultural Communications Practicum Student, College of Agriculture, mkd0025@auburn.edu, 334-703-3067

College of Agriculture is “Breaking New Ground” for the 12th annual Ag Weekag-week

AUBURN, Ala.— “Breaking New Ground” is the theme of the 12th annual Ag Week, March 27-31, hosted by the College of Agriculture. Ag Week is held every year to give College of Agriculture students the opportunity to share the impact and importance of agriculture with the rest of Auburn University.

The week will begin with a petting zoo on the Green Space hosted by Block and Bridle and Auburn University Young Farmers from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Other College of Agriculture clubs will be on the Green Space answering questions about agriculture.

“As a land grant university, I think it is important that Auburn University students know the impact our college and the industry have not only in this state but also throughout the world,” said Megan Ross, College of Agriculture student services coordinator.

The college will also be hosting the Ag Week Ag Carnival on Tuesday at Ag Heritage Park from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

“Personally, my favorite part is the Carnival at Ag Heritage Park,” said Will Howard Wendland, Ag Council president. “It’s an event that allows people of all ages to get together and have a good time.”

This year there will be carnival games, a bounce house, an inflatable slide and a mechanical bull. The Ag Ambassadors will also be hosting karaoke night in the Alfa Pavilion following the carnival until 9 p.m.

The carnival is open to all Auburn University students and the Auburn community.

Ag Council will be hosting the Ag Week Picnic on Wednesday on the Comer Lawn from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. Fried catfish and chicken finger plates will be sole for $8 and Ag Week shirts will be sold for $20 on a first come, first serve basis. Plates come with chips, hushpuppies, a cookie and drink.

The bloodmobile will also be on Comer Lawn from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for Block and Bridle’s annual Blood Drive and Bone Marrow Screening. Bone marrow screening will take place in Comer Hall from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Jeff Helms, director of communications with the Alabama Farmers Federation, will be speaking on Thursday to College of Agriculture students on how to engage and lead conversations with the community about current issues in agriculture.

College of Agriculture students will also be giving back to the Auburn community by volunteering at New Water Farms, Storybook Farms and Campus Kitchens on Friday.

For more information about Ag Week contact Megan Ross, College of Agriculture student services coordinator, at mhr0001@auburn.edu.

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Ag Week began in 2005 by Ag Council as a way to celebrate agriculture and to give College of Agriculture students the opportunity to share what they know about the agricultural industry. The week gives the college the opportunity to show the rest of the university agriculture is more than just farmers and ranchers.

Breaking New Ground for Ag Week 2017

The College of Agriculture is “Breaking New Ground” next week as they kick off the 12th annual Ag Week on March 27.

Ellie Isbell enjoys the Ag Week Petting Zoo during Ag Week 2017. Photo Credit: Auburn University Ag Council
Ellie Isbell enjoys the Ag Week Petting Zoo during Ag Week 2017. Photo Credit: Auburn University Ag Council

Ag Week is held every year to give College of Agriculture students the opportunity to share the impact and importance of agriculture with the rest of Auburn University.

The theme is “Breaking New Ground” because the agriculture industry is changing and making big advances in technology said Will Howard Wendland, Ag Council president.

The week will begin with a petting zoo on the Green Space hosted by Block and Bridle and Auburn University Young Farmers from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Other College of Agriculture clubs will be on the Green Space answering questions about agriculture.

“As a land grant university, I think it’s important that Auburn University students know the impact our college and the industry have not only in this state but also throughout the world,” said Megan Ross, College of Agriculture student services coordinator.

Will Howard Wendland, Ag Council president, rides the mechanical bull during the Ag Week Carnival. Photo Credit: Auburn University Ag Council
Will Howard Wendland, Ag Council president, rides the mechanical bull during the Ag Week Carnival. Photo Credit: Auburn University Ag Council

The college will also be hosting the Ag Week Ag Carnival on Tuesday at Ag Heritage Park from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

“Personally, my favorite part is the Carnival at Ag Heritage Park,” Wendland. “It’s an event that allows people of all ages to get together and have a good time.”

This year there will be carnival games, a bounce house, an inflatable slide and a mechanical bull.

Ag Council will be hosting the Ag Week Picnic on Wednesday on the Comer Lawn. Fried catfish and chicken finger plates will be sold for $8 and Ag Week shirts will be sold for $20 on a first come, first serve basis.

The bloodmobile will also be on Comer Lawn from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for Block and Bridle’s annual Blood Drive and Bone Marrow Screening. Bone marrow screenings will take place in Comer Hall from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

There will be blood and bone marrow drives during the Ag Week Picnic. Photo Credit: Auburn University Ag Council
There will be blood and bone marrow drives during the Ag Week Picnic. Photo Credit: Auburn University Ag Council

Alabama Farmers Federation Communications Director Jeff Helms will be speaking on Thursday to College of Agriculture students on how to engage and lead conversations with the community about current issues in agriculture.

Ag Week is a tradition for the college, but there are some new events this year.

The Ag Ambassadors will be hosting karaoke night in the Alfa Pavilion following the carnival until 9 p.m., and all students are invited to participate.

Wednesday night beginning at 5:30, Collegiate Cattlemen and Cattlewomen will be hosting their annual Burger Brawl on Comer Lawn. Grills, meat and buns are provided by the club. There is a $20 entrance fee for each team, and they need to bring their own seasonings and be prepared to grill their own unique burger. The winning team will win $100 cash prize, donated by the Alabama Cattlewomen Association.

The Sigma Alpha Stud Auction has been added to Ag Week this year. Auburn men are auctioned off as part of a date night package from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. in the Alfa Pavilion. The money raised during the auction will go to Ag in the Classroom, an agriculture literacy program for Auburn schools. Tickets are $2 in advance and $3 at the door.

College of Agriculture students will also be giving back to the Auburn community by volunteering at New Water Farms, Storybook Farms and Campus Kitchens on Friday.

“The College of Agriculture may not have the largest presence on campus, but we must rise to the challenge of helping to feed a growing world,” said Wendland. “The events of the week will allow us to show others how valuable our work is and how important it is to adequately prepare the next generation of scientists, educators, consultants, business men and women, and last but not least, farmers.”

Farm Diversity Spreads Risk

Lazenby diversified his operation by adding an event barn. Photo Credit: Lazenby Farms
Lazenby diversified his operation by adding an event barn. Photo Credit: Lazenby Farms

AUBURN, Ala.— Producers make farm diversification an important part of their farm business plans because diversification helps spread the risks that come from production agriculture.

Diversification helps to increase the producer’s profits and reduce their risks.

What is Diversification?

Ken Kelley, a regional farm and agribusiness management agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System said that diversification is  “the attempt to capture market gains and reduce risk by having multiple enterprise opportunities as part of my business plan.”

Farm diversity is important because it spreads the risk of crop failures and market fluctuations over multiple enterprises said Kelley.

Ben Ingram row crop producer in Lee County, Ala, said that raising one crop is not a good idea because it puts the producer at the mercy of that one particular.

Ingram began diversifying his operation when the peanut quota program dissolved. This allowed him to expand his cotton production to peanuts.

Mitch Lazenby, producer in Auburn, Ala., currently has an extensive row crop program, a cow-calf operation, a bull development program and hosts different agritourism events.

Lazenby makes farm diversifity a priority.

He said that diversification helps him to stay ahead of the curve and be relevant in agriculture.

The Cotton Pickin' Pumpkin Patch is held every fall at Lazenby Farms. Photo Credit: Mary Kendall Dixon
The Cotton Pickin’ Pumpkin Patch is held every fall at Lazenby Farms. Photo Credit: Mary Kendall Dixon

Lazenby said that most producers have a primary enterprise, such as row crops. Diversifying is smart because it will supplement the income generated from the primary enterprise.

If the row crop production brings in 75 percent of the producer’s annual income, adding agritourism should add an additional 25 percent.

Best Ways to Diversify

Continue reading Farm Diversity Spreads Risk

4-H: Still Important Today

4-H Logo. Photo Credit: Alabama Cooperative Extension System
4-H Logo. Photo Credit: Alabama Cooperative Extension System

When Mindy Reynolds of Randolph County, Alabama, was growing up every July or August she would get a new steer calf to raise.

Every day through the fall and winter she would go out to the barn and work with her steer and keep her log books.

The log books showed how much money

she spent on her steer and how much time she spent working with the steer.

“We had paperwork on top of paperwork,” said Reynolds. “We had to keep logs every day; when you fed them, when you exercised them, how much food, how much it cost to start the project, how much the food was every month.”

All of her hard work paid off each March when she took her steer to the county 4-H livestock show.

Reynolds was judged on how well she kept her log books and on the performance of her steer in the show ring.

Since its inception in the early 1900s, 4-H programs have had a reputation of being only for farm children who showed livestock.

Even though this is the current stigma of 4-H and its programs, most do not recognize the many different opportunities from participating in 4-H.

The Smith Lever Act of 1914 established the Cooperative Extension System to educate people on new and developing methods in agriculture and home economics.

It also brought all after-school agriculture and youth programs under the umbrella of Extension and by 1924 4-H was a nationalized program.

For Reynolds, 4-H was more than just showing steers and horses in local 4-H shows.

She participated in bread and dairy demonstrations, livestock shows and public speaking contests each year.

“I learned organizational skills, good work ethic, having to work with other people, diversity, setting goals, the reward of achieving goals, overcoming my fears of public speaking, leadership skills and life experiences,” said Reynolds.

4-H agents would come to her school when she was in 5th grade each month and taught students about exercise, nutrition and citizenship.

Her time in 4-H gave Reynolds the opportunity to gain valuable cultural capital through the different life experiences she was exposed to.

She had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for a leadership conference with other students from across Alabama when she was a junior in high school.

While in D.C. she went to the Lincoln Center to an opera, the Capitol building and went to formal dinners.

Even though Reynolds is no longer in 4-H she still believes in the importance of 4-H for children today.

“It’s a good organization for children today for teaching those same values,” said Reynolds. “Teaching respecting authority, taking care of your community, developing a work ethic and developing cultural capital.”

Reynolds also learned money management from 4-H.

After showing her steer in March she would sell it at auction and different businesses in the community would usually come and buy the steer.

“You would take that money and subtract what you invested in it and you’d have something to take to the bank,” said Reynolds. “That’s how I started a savings account.”

Today, 4-H still has a focus on farm children and livestock showing but that is no longer their main focus.

“The focus is on all kids, not just farm kids,” said Katelyn Johnson, extension agent in Appanoose County, Iowa.

4-H now has programs and activities involving fashion and robotics.

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Appanoose County 4-H held a 4-H fun day to get children interested in 4-H during National 4-H Week. Photo Credit: Katelyn Johnson

“4-H gives kids a chance to dive into different projects and areas,” said Johnson. “It gives them an opportunity to find what they are good at.”

Deborah Stewart, 4-H foundations regional extension agent in Lee and Tallapoosa Counties in Alabama, said that 4-H continues to highlight public speaking and has moved into highlighting technical based skills, such as sewing.

Stewart said the goal is to make children and youth ready for college or a career.

Even though the focus of 4-H has shifted over the years, the values Reynolds learned in the 1970s is still relevant today.

“4-H helps get children ready for real life and responsibilities, and gives them opportunities to become leaders,” said Johnson. “Clover Buds, for kindergarten through 3rd grade, helps make children more confident.”

4-H’s motto is: “to make the best, better.”

Stewart believes that 4-H helps children and youth learn to network and fine-tune life skills.

Though the focus has shifted, 4-H still continues to be an important part of Extension.

“Kids are our future,” said Stewart. “4-H shows the importance of agriculture and outdoor resources to children.”

Even though the main focus is no longer livestock judging, 4-H still offers activities to bring a focus back to agriculture and its importance.

Stewart said that 4-H is a way to expose inner city kids to the importance of agriculture.

Though 4-H has shifted its focus throughout the years, it still offers children an opportunity to learn about agriculture and valuable life skills.

Dr. Duffy: Finding a Passion in Africa

Growing up in the late ‘60s in a small, blue collar, rural farm community in Massachusetts, Dr. Patricia Duffy would wake up early on the weekends and during school breaks to watch the farm shows on TV in the mornings.

As she was learning about garden mulching and corn prices, commercials for the Peace Corps, advertising “the toughest job you’ll ever love,” sparked her interest in one day joining this new program called the Peace Corps.

Peace Corps logo. Photo Credit: Peace Corps
Peace Corps logo. Photo Credit: Peace Corps

After graduating from high school, Duffy attended Boston College and graduated with degrees in English and French literature and then joined the Peace Corps.

She became a member of a new Peace Corps program that took people with foreign language skills to Michigan State University for intensive training in agriculture.

“They were having a hard time getting people in agriculture that wanted to join the Peace Corps and who could speak foreign languages,” said Duffy.

At Michigan State, she studied entomology, soil science and animal science for a summer before she was given her Peace Corps assignment.

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Map of Zaire. Photo Credit:

 

After her training, Duffy was sent to Zaire, the area that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.

When she arrived in Zaire, she was taught tropical agriculture practices and later began teaching at a vocational agricultural high school.

While living in Zaire, Duffy was introduced to agricultural economics and discovered that she liked teaching.

“Not everyone could go to high school in Zaire and to get that far they had to be really, really smart and they were disadvantaged in terms of background and what they had for books and money, but they were very intelligent,” said Duffy. “Everyone’s IQ was probably 140 or more and that was my first teaching job.”

When she came back to the United States Duffy knew that she was going to go to graduate school.

She began writing to graduate schools, trying to convince them to accept her into their agricultural economics graduate programs even though she had never had an economics or business course in her life.

“I wrote these letters to these graduate program officers at all these major universities, trying to convince them that not only did they needed me as a graduate student, but that they also needed to pay my way,” said Duffy.

The letters worked. Michigan State University, University of Hawaii and Texas A & M accepted her into their graduate programs.

She decided on Texas A & M, not only because of the quality of the program but also because of the weather.

“I had spent two years in the tropics and I liked it,” said Duffy. “I liked not being cold.”

She fell in love with economics in Texas and after finishing her master’s degree, she went right on into the PhD program in agricultural economics.

James Richardson, her major professor at Texas A &M, gave her the best advice while she was getting her PhD.

“If you want to have a conflict with anybody when you’re at work make sure it’s not the staff. You always be nice to the staff.”

After graduating from Texas A & M in 1985 she knew she wanted to teach but academic jobs in agricultural economics was scarce, especially for married couples in the same field.

Duffy and her husband, Dr. Jim Novak, another agriculture economist, both began searching for academic jobs in the same town.

In 1985, Duffy and her husband both accepted jobs at Auburn University in the College of Agriculture’s department of agricultural economics and rural sociology.

“We were lucky,” said Duffy. “The year I finished up was one of the best hiring years, ever, for agriculture economists. So it was possible, barely, to get two jobs in the same city, so we came here.”

Her time at Auburn has not been uneventful.

Since she began teaching at Auburn she got another master’s degree in arts and English literature and is currently getting a master’s degree in statistics.

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Comer Hall, houses the department of agricultural economics and rural sociology at Auburn University. Photo Credit.

She was the assistant provost to undergraduate studies, where she helped develop the interdisciplinary studies major.

“I like doing interdisciplinary work,” said Duffy. “I think it can be more useful than straight disciplinary work. It’s got a broader audience.”

She also collaborated with a fellow colleague in nutrition to work on food policy 10 years after she came to Auburn.

This combined social science and nutrition to look at the impact of government food assistance.

Working in the office of the provost did come with its challenges. Having to deal with parents was the biggest.

Parents would call her office to question why their child failed a class and could not understand why Duffy would not give them detailed information into their child’s academic career.

Even though she longed to correct the parent’s misinformation their child had given them, the university’s privacy policy prevented her from speaking her mind.

Her time at the office of the provost was short-lived and after three years Duffy went back to the department of agricultural economics.

“I like teaching and advising the best,” said Duffy.

Even once she retires Duffy said she wouldn’t stop working.

She would look at continuing to teach economics at other local colleges and universities.

It isn’t hard to get her to come into work every day.

“I mostly like what I’m doing,” said Duffy. “I like the mix of having teaching and research.”

Since coming to Auburn Duffy has taught principles of agribusiness management, farm management, appraisal, microeconomics, agriculture policy and trade and agribusiness marketing, just at the undergraduate level.

She has also taught econometrics, operations research and farm management at the graduate level.

She loves economics and would love to go back and teach microeconomics again, but her busy schedule hasn’t allowed her to.

Duffy continues to be a favorite teacher of students in the College of Agriculture.

Lauren Cline, academic advisor for the College of Agriculture, first meet Duffy as an agricultural economics student in 2007.

“She was an extremely intelligent woman,” said Cline. “She had a lot of confidence, she knew what she knew and she really enjoyed students.”

Kate Johnson, extension agent in Appanoose County, Iowa, and recent agricultural communications graduate, recalls her first encounter with Duffy.

“I remember thinking that she was extremely monotone and that she was going to make a difficult and boring subject even more boring but Dr. Duffy tries hard to make the material interesting.”

Duffy is a favorite with students because she is approachable. She is available to students, even at the last minute before an exam.

“She didn’t make me feel like anything was a stupid question,” said Johnson.

Johnson describes Duffy the best, “Different and definitely her own character.”

AgHill Communications

Quietly in the basement of Comer Hall there is an advertising and public relations agency. But AgHill Communications, AHC, isn’t your typical agency because it is run entirely by agricultural communications students.

What is AHC?

ahc-4
AHC is a new student run advertising and public relations agency for agricultural communications students. Photo Credit AHC.

Agricultural communications senior, Emily Thompson, first got the idea for AHC after reading an article about student-run agencies. Thompson was also noticing that her peers were applying for internships with little to no real work experience.

Wanting to help her peers, Thompson drew up a proposal for AHC and met with Dr. Paul Patterson, dean of the College of Agriculture, who approved her proposal in April 2016.

AHC, a fully operating advertising and public relations firm, staffed entirely by agricultural communications students opened in April 2016.

AHC’s clients include any College of Agriculture clubs and organizations and The Alabama National Fair.

AHC staff provide social media management, graphic design, photography, videography, event planning and web management to their clients.

The Mission of AHC

The mission of AHC is to give students practical experiences in design, public relations, social media strategy, writing and photography said Paul Hollis, agricultural communications academic advisor.

“It offers a non-judgmental environment where students can complete ‘real world’ work assignments,” said Hollis.

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AHC staff work to build their resumes and portfolios by gaining real-world experience. Photo Credit AHC.

AHC operates like any advertising and public relations agency, giving staff the opportunity to experience working in an agency atmosphere.

Projects are overseen by a senior director, assistant director and account manager.

Helping Students Gain Real World Experience

Junior, Morgan Graham joined AHC when she came to Auburn this fall to take advantage of the many    opportunities AHC offers.

“I believe working with AHC will give me the hand on experience that any employer is looking for,” said Graham.

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AHC staff work at the Alabama National Fair by taking pictures of the event. Photo Credit AHC.

Working for AHC gives staff an opportunity to network and make contacts with people in the work force and to build a portfolio.

Thompson also hopes that the staff will have jobs lined up before they graduate.

Thompson graduates in December 2016 and will be leaving AHC. She will be taking a job as director of communications for the Ohio Cattleman’s Association.

“I firmly believe that working in this firm helped me stand out against other applicants when applying for that position,” said Thompson. “And the experience I have received by being the Senior Director will only benefit me in the long run while working in Ohio.”

Agricultural communications students gain real life experiences by working for AgHill Communications, the student-run and led public relations and advertising agency.

For more information about AHC, check out their Facebook page.