County extension agent?

Coolbreeze89

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I see references to this, but I have no idea what this means. I live in central Texas (45 minutes west of Tx A&M). I have a pasture that has been unattended for 8+ years that I would like to “improve” for my goats and Kunekune pigs (and remove potentially toxic plants). Other similar posts suggest contacting an extension agent but I don’t understand this process. Would someone please clarify/advise?

Thanks!
 

Mike CHS

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At least here in Tennessee we have County Extension Agents that are affiliated with the University of Tennessee and I'm guessing that yours is the same with Texas A&M. They usually have an office at the county seat that should be able to help
 

Coolbreeze89

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Look up the county you live in and County extension office. Hello neighbor! I’m in Smith County just north of Tyler.
Hello, Baymule! I so enjoy following your posts, and have learned so much about LGDs, pastures, and general ag/herd/farm management (I don’t have horses, but I enjoy those posts, too). Thank you!

I’m in Milam county. Their ag extension website doesn’t list anything regarding pasture/land evaluation. I can call the office, but I guess I’m uncertain what I’m asking for. “Pasture assessment”? Help with knowing what the heck I’m doing? I hate sounding like an ignorant city person, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time by not knowing what I’m asking for. I’ve googled local toxic plants. I diligently pulled all the bitter weed I’ve seen growing, but there are so many different plants and I have zero experience/knowledge outside of googling! I don’t want my animals hurt by my ignorance, so I read all that I can here and other forums. I do make sure they have tummies full of alfalfa hay before they graze.

Thanks for the input!
 

farmerjan

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Don't worry if the ag extension site says anything about pasture/land management. They are supposed to be able to give some advice on anything that is ag related, be it cows, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, crops, pasture, grazing, laws concerning them.. some in the different offices will be better versed in different things and they should refer you to the one who is most knowledgeable in it.
Understand this, your tax dollars pay for them to have that position. You have the right to ask all and any questions you want. They were originally put into place working with the land grant colleges as people to go to for help and questions. You are not WASTING their time.... that is their job. Call them up, say you just moved there or whatever your situation is. Tell them what you want to achieve. They are supposed to be available to come out and give you help and ideas. Some extension offices are better than others.
It seems to me if you are somewhat close to @Baymule, the thing to do is maybe send her a PM and maybe she can give you advice that is better suited to your area than I can from Va.

Most animals will not normally touch plants that are toxic to them, unless they have been kept in a way that they are "hungry" or malnuourished, or sometimes during drought situations where the only thing green is that toxic weed, or in the early spring when the first thing to green up is a toxic weed. So I would doubt that your animals would go out and want to eat stuff that is bad for them.
I haven't read your "journal or other posts, so don't know what you have for animals, but please be careful about feeding too much alfalfa to any breed. It is very high in protein, and yes is good for them in small amounts; but you can founder an animal on alfalfa very easily or even cause bloat, because it is so rich. I feed some to my dairy cows in the barn when they are raising several calves as nurse cows, and when I milk for the house, but they get a good orchard grass and mixed grass hay for their main diet, besides the pasture. We feed a little to the sheep before they lamb and for a little bit when the lambs are small, IN ADDITION to their normal hay, as an extra source of protein.
 

farmerjan

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Sorry, I just reread the post and see you have goats and pigs. I wasn't paying attention. I doubt they would be looking for toxic plants with so much available to them.
 

Mini Horses

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Most animals will not normally touch plants that are toxic to them, unless they have been kept in a way that they are "hungry" or malnuourished, or sometimes during drought situations where the only thing green is that toxic weed, or in the early spring when the first thing to green up is a toxic weed. So I would doubt that your animals would go out and want to eat stuff that is bad for them.

Agree with this. Goats browse and like to take a bite and move on. MOST toxics have a bad taste. MOST often they taste and leave it.

Also, yes, the Ag reps job is to help you!
 

farmer mike

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Another place to try would be your county Soil and Water office if you have one or your nearest USDA NRCS office (I'd only try them last).

the land grant universities in each state have a mission of supporting local counties. "Extension" refers to the offices as being an extension from the university. Their job is to make technical resources
and expertise from the university available to the county. In our area (Missouri) they do soil tests, hay tests, small business incubation work, set-up classes, have Ag equipment for rent, support 4H, have a livestock specialist to help with herd problems, etc.
 

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