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360 Ag Management, LLC chosen as Tarleton's Dairy Center operator

Tarleton State University---FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2011

STEPHENVILLE, Texas-Tarleton State University officials today announced they have partnered with 360 Ag Management, LLC to provide operational services at the newly constructed Southwest Regional Dairy Center.

Alan Vander Horst, president of the Dublin, Texas-based dairy consulting and management services provider, will serve as the Center's producer-operator and oversee the day-to-day operations of the milking parlor, animal housing facilities and other structures associated with the production facility.

The public-private partnership between Tarleton and 360 Ag Management, unique among university-owned research and educational dairies in the United States, will allow for the operator to manage its own herd of cattle while research and public tours are conducted at the Center.

"This is a historic occasion at Tarleton because of a vision for the Dairy Center to bring in an outstanding private partner," said Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio, president of Tarleton. "This could not have been possible without the hard work of Dr. Don Cawthon, Dr. Barry Lambert and Dr. Todd Bilby. This new partnership will be meaningful for many years to come."

Dr. Cawthon, dean of Tarleton's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, described the project as "a major step in the nearly decade-long effort to establish a teaching and research facility that will support the dairy industry and Texas' second-largest livestock industry. Short of obtaining funding for the Center, the second most important aspect was to find a partner who shares our vision to develop the Southwest Regional Dairy Center into a facility that can be all it can be."

Dr. Lambert, dairy science specialist and associate professor in Tarleton's Animal Sciences Department, said the new Center will serve as a hub for various research projects, from studies by entomologists to reduce breeding grounds for flies and the need for pesticides, to trials by nutritionists who plan to study optimum levels of nutrients to feed to limit those linked to issues with algae blooms.

Dr. Bilby, associate professor and Texas AgriLife Extension Dairy Specialist, will assist with the Center's mission of providing tours and information for the public and continuing educational opportunities for producers.

Vander Horst said he applauds Tarleton and university officials for devising a plan to bring academia and the dairy industry together. "Our commitment as a dairy producer further shows our commitment to Texas and the local dairy industry," he said. "This is home to us and serves as another example of our commitment to education and research, and our efforts to keep the industry viable."

When fully operational, the Center will accommodate up to 300 cows and begin producing milk this fall. Boasting a high-tech 24-cow rotary milking parlor with radio frequency identification (RFID) capabilities and space for teaching, laboratories and demonstration projects, the Center will provide state-of-the-art research and educational facilities for Texas and the nation.

Since its formation in 1998, 360 Ag Management's consultants have provided management services for dairy owners and operators to maximize production and profitability. The company currently manages five dairies comprised of approximately 14,000 head of cattle in Texas, a heifer and calf-raising facility near Dublin, as well as a farming company in Erath County.

The public is invited to tour the new Southwest Dairy Center when Tarleton and Texas AgriLife Extension host a grand opening from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, May 5 in conjunction with Southwest Dairy Day.


Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System

Contact: Kurt Mogonye

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