Cherokee County Farm Bureau recognized for innovative program
(SAN ANTONIO, Texas)—An innovative program that gives first responders and law enforcement emergency livestock handling training is being recognized by Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).
Cherokee County Farm Bureau (CFB) was one of three county Farm Bureaus to be recognized by Texas Farm Bureau. They’re one of 24 CFBs nationwide to receive a County Activities of Excellence award from AFBF.
The program showcases county Farm Bureaus that focus on education and agricultural programs, member services, public relations and information, leadership development and policy implementation.
In recent years, the sheriff’s department in Cherokee County lost a deputy on a livestock call when an injured cow charged the man after being struck by a car. Recent rain, hail, floods and tornadoes have caused livestock to escape.
It was evident in the recovery effort that many of the first responders and law enforcement officers who were assisting had very little knowledge of animal handling techniques. This prompted the CFB leaders and the local Extension service to conduct a training event.
“2016 has been a challenging year for farmers and ranchers in our area with tornadoes and flooding events causing miles of downed fences and destroyed corrals,” Cherokee CFB President John Griffith said. “We wanted to work with local law enforcement and first responders to talk about these dangers and how to properly handle livestock in the event of an emergency.”
Organizers used Extension material for the program and presentations were given by the Extension livestock specialist and the local livestock officer with the sheriff’s department.
The presentations included examples of situations they might encounter and research on animals and how each species processes threats and their reactions. The local livestock officer also gave some insight on temperaments of different breeds of cattle.
Attendance was strong and many departments across the county were represented.
Representatives from six volunteer fire departments and two law enforcement agencies, along with the county Emergency Management Coordinator, were able to attend.
“This training and the tools are a benefit to farmers and ranchers, but also for the safety of those trying to assist on livestock calls,” Griffith said.
Attendees were presented tools to assist them in handling livestock in emergency situations.
“Our local organizations like Cherokee County Farm Bureau work to strengthen agriculture’s role in the community,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “This group targeted a specific need in their community and worked diligently to address that issue.”
The CFB and its volunteers were recognized during TFB’s Annual Meeting Dec. 3-5 in San Antonio.
They will again be highlighted during AFBF’s 98th annual meeting Jan. 6-11, 2017 in Phoenix, Ariz.