By UA Division of Agriculture


Cattle buyers looking for the best Arkansas livestock may need to look no further than the green ear tag awarded as part of the Natural State Preconditioned Calf Program. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture program is meant to produce calves that are better prepared — or preconditioned — to deal with the stress that goes with leaving their birth ranch.


“Preconditioning involves vaccination, castration, and calves who are weaned and understand how to find food and water in troughs,” said Shane Gadberry, professor-ruminant nutrition or the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. High-quality calves are important in Arkansas, which is ranked eleventh in the nation for the number of beef cows.


Most of the calves raised in Arkansas are not farm-to-plate, which means they will likely be spending part of their lives in another barn by the time they are six or seven months old.


“When preconditioning is done right, everybody wins,” he said. “Buyers spend less time and money treating sick cattle, sale barns provide healthier cattle and attract new business, and sellers often receive market incentives that cover vaccine costs and short-term retained ownership may advance market weights and total sale dollars.” The program’s nickname “GoGREEN,” refers to the green ear tags placed on cattle meeting the program requirements, which include delaying marketing for at least 45 days after weaning.


How to enroll


To participate, the rancher must first be Beef Quality Assurance certified. Beef Quality Assurance certification is available through local county Cooperative Extension Service office. The Cleburne, Stone, and Van Buren County Extension offices will be conducting a BQA Training for producers on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018 at Prim.


We will start with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and the program will start at 6 p.m. This is a classroom program with a chute side program that will be conducted at Beechfork Ranch.


There is a cost to this program, you need to pre-register and pay to participate in the program by Wednesday Aug. 1. Once enrolled in the GoGREEN program, ranchers should look at the criteria listed on the qualifying form and must have documentation of health products purchased and dates administered.


After all the best management practices have been documented, tags can be picked up from the county Extension office. The GoGREEN program is not free. There is a ranch enrollment fee and a cost per calf qualifying fee. The fees are used to cover the cost of tags and program administration and promotion. If you’re ready to GoGREEN, visit your local county Extension office to get started and visit the GoGREEN website at www.uaex.edu/gogreen for additional program details.


Origins


A committee of extension agents helped develop the program with an eye to helping their clients who raise, sell and buy cattle. Unlike other Arkansas programs, the GoGREEN program is an any-barn, anytime program.


“We hope this will be a welcome marketing plus for sale barns that featured the green-tagged program calves,” Gadberry said. “We are launching this program now, hoping to see GoGREEN tags showing up in sale barns this fall.”


To learn more, call the Van Buren County Extension office at (501)745-7117 and visit the GoGREEN website at www.uaex.edu/gogreen for additional program details.