Tarleton’s Dairy Center Receives Grant to Help Texas Producers


Friday, August 6, 2021

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Tarleton State University’s Southwest Regional Dairy Center has received an almost $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The grant will help initiate high-tech communications solutions to share research-based information gathered at Tarleton with producers and extension educators.

“I am very excited about this grant and to partner with Dr. (Shuyu) Liu from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension,” said Dairy Center Director Dr. Barbara Jones. “Texas is so large that many extension specialists have trouble connecting with producers, making the dairy center a hub for extension training using a virtual reality platform.”

The NIFA grant, part of more than $7 million in research funds for the nation’s non-land grant colleges of agriculture, will be used to help meet service and outreach demands of Texas dairy communities.

The SWRDC is at the forefront of gathering and processing information for Texas dairy farmers. Greater capacity for engaging producers and extension educators is needed across geographically distant groups.

To address the issue, researchers will employ 360 Virtual Reality Outreaching Outlet and record VR videos in various areas of farm and manure management. The videos will be used to engage and VR train more producers throughout Texas.

Additionally, researchers hope to develop an extension training network through the SWRDC to share best practices with producers.

NIFA grants aim to increase research, education and outreach capacity at non-land grant institutions to support the innovations and workforce needed to sustain agriculture in the future.

A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.