For Andy Holloway, the founder of the Texas A&M AgriLife Hemphill Beef Cattle Conference, it is more than just a two-day learning experience.
“It’s an event to help ranchers and beef cattle producers learn more about technology, about research, about things that will help them have more profitable business, maybe help them survive so that they can sustain from one generation to the next generation,” Holloway said.
Holloway serves as the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent for Hemphill County. He said 26% of the nation’s beef supply is produced right here on the High Plains.
“We’ve got record numbers of beef cattle but we’ve also got great demand for our beef product,” Holloway added. “We’ve got the most robust export that’s produced right here in the Texas panhandle.”
Another point of pride for Holloway is finding great speakers, like John O’leary, bestselling author of the book “ON FIRE.”
At age nine,O’Leary was burned on 100% of his body and given a 1% chance to live. Now, he is talking about truly living.
“The community that works together, worships together, plays together– I really respect being part of this,” O’Leary said. “Then, you get these folks coming in from 12 different states as competitors, but coming together as one. So, the unification that is taking place in your community today is electrifying.”
There is a common chord, helping ranchers not only in their cattle raising but also in their daily lives.
“It’s a God thing and I’ve been very blessed to be the servant to help allow this to happen,” Holloway said.
Holloway said what started 15 years ago as a small conference meant for the ranchers who live near Hemphill County, now has attendees from 42 Texas counties. He expects upward of 500 people to show up.
Also speaking at this year’s conference is Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science who has designed equipment used to handle about half of all cattle in meat plants in the U.S. and Canada.