Eastern to offer a ranch management degree in stocker operations beginning this fall
WILBURTON, OK (June 14, 2016) – Eastern Oklahoma State College will offer a new ranch management degree in stocker operations beginning in August. The program will offer students hands-on training in the stocker cattle industry.
“Eastern is the only college or university in the state that offers a ranch management degree with an emphasis in stocker operations,” said Agriculture Division Dean Eddie Woods. “This is an exciting opportunity for students to learn about a growing industry with significant possibilities in Oklahoma. We’re proud to offer a relevant, unique program at an affordable cost.”
Woods said students in the ranch management program will work closely with instructors and professional ranchers to learn how to operate a small business; maintain the financial, operational, production and employment records; and train and supervise personnel.
Eastern’s Stocker Cattle Specialist Earl Shero said stocker cattle are an affordable way to get started in the ranching and cattle business.
“Stocker operators take calves that are not big enough, old enough or healthy enough and we then utilize forage and feed to turn these animals into feeder cattle that are ready for the feedlot,” Shero said. “Eastern’s program will be a student’s point of entry and opportunity for success in the cattle industry.”
Shero said Eastern has assembled a team of leading innovators and producers in the stocker industry to help students, providing access to more than 15,000 head of stocker cattle for training and study on Eastern’s 4,000 acre ranch.
“We are in the midst of a profound change in the livestock business and concerns about sustainability, antibiotic use, consolidation, profitability and animal welfare are causing us to reexamine our industry practices,” Shero said. “Eastern will be working with veterinarians, nutritionists, economists, bankers and outstanding ranchers to help our students develop new procedures to meet the challenges of raising livestock.”
Eastern created the ranch management program as a result of a $2.2 million Strengthening Institutions Program Grant through the U.S. Department of Education. The first phase of the Pathways to Success Project will enable Eastern to create two degree programs in high-demand fields in the region - ranch management and respiratory therapy. The respiratory therapy program is in the development process and will be introduced in the next three to four years.
Enrollment in the ranch management program is now open. Classes start Aug. 8. For more information, visit eosc.edu or call 918-465-2361.