The Research Team
Nicola L. Ritter, M.Ed., Ph.D. (PI)
is an Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Director of the Center for Educational Technologies (CET) with expertise in the area of curriculum development, assessment, and program evaluation. She has over 17 years of experience in curriculum development, educational publishing, and educational research and managed over $2.5 million in USDA sponsored, extramurally-funded education projects. Dr. Ritter will provide overall leadership for the project and the area of curriculum design, ensuring all 3 lessons are developed based on researching findings. She will also work closely with the project team in developing instructional materials for all 3 lessons and workshop materials, implementing these lessons in agriculture extension offices and veterinary programs across the United States.
Milton Daley, PhD (PI at PVAMU)
is an Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences/Pre-Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Human Ecology at PVAMU and has over 10 years of research and teaching experience. Dr. Daley will provide leadership to the Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) team. He will conduct the needs assessments for small and medium-sized ranchers, veterinary students, and veterinarians and program evaluation. He will provide needs assessment results to the education team to customize the instructional design of the curriculum based on audience needs. Dr. Daley will serve as a peer reviewer, and pilot test these lessons with small and medium-sized ranchers through Waller County Extension Office and in northeast Texas through 100 Ranchers, LLC.
Glennon Mays, DVM (Co-PI)
is a Clinical Associate Professor at TAMU and the Director of Recruitment and Student Services at TAMU. He has over 42 years of clinical and teaching experience focusing on mixed animal and food animal medicine. He will provide leadership to the content experts and peer reviewers to ensure integrity of the content developed, serve as a peer reviewer, and pilot testing of the curriculum at Texas AgriLife Extension Services.
Molly Gonzales, M.Ed., Ed.D. (Co-PI)
is an Instructional Assistant Professor at TAMU with expertise in the area of in teaching, curriculum development, and instructional design. Dr. Gonzales saw her start in education as a 5th grade science teacher before later transitioning to higher education where she assisted with professional development, instructional design and assessment. She has experience in distributing courses online, hosting workshops, creating decision-support aids, tools, and marketing plans for business operations, and authoring instructional materials alongside subject matter experts. Dr. Gonzales will work closely with the CET team and instructors at AgriLife and PVAMU to develop Lessons 1-3, workshops and disseminate the lessons agriculture extension offices, eXtension.org, and veterinary programs across the United States.
Kevin Washburn, DVM (Co-PI)
is a Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine at TAMU and has over 25 years of clinical and teaching experience specializing in food animal medicine including a particular interest in small ruminants. Dr. Washburn also leads Texas A&M University’s Food Animal Field Service program that provides on-farm care of large and small ruminants for Texas ranchers. The small and medium-sized ranchers who are clients of Dr. Washburn’s service team will pilot test the lessons created from this project. Dr. Washburn will provide content expertise on small ruminants for lessons 1-3 and workshops, serve as a peer reviewer, and incorporate lessons 1-3 into TAMU food animal medicine course.
Brandon Dominguez, DVM, MS (Co-PI)
is a Clinical Associate Professor at Texas A&M University and has over 13 years of clinical and teaching experience specializing in mixed animal, food animal medicine including a particular interest in poultry. Dr. Dominguez will provide content expertise on backyard poultry for lessons 1-3 and workshops, serve as a peer reviewer, and incorporate lessons 1-3 into TAMU food animal medicine course.
Dee Griffin, DVM, MS (Co-PI)
is a Professor at Texas A&M University and West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) and has over 42 years of clinical and teaching experience focusing in cattle, small operations, and feedlot management. He is noted as one of the “Top 20 Most Influential Veterinarians” by the Bovine Practitioner. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Professional Animal Auditors Certification Organization (PAACO), and a member of the FDA’s Veterinary Medical Advisory Committee and the FDA Minor Species Drug Use Committee. He is also the former president of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, which specializes in providing continuing education to bovine veterinarians. Moreover, the proposed project complements Dr. Griffin’s work through another USDA-NIFA funded project under the Veterinary Services Grant Program entitled, “Texas Panhandle and Plains Rural Veterinary Practice Revitalization”. The small and medium-sized ranchers who participate in this program will pilot test the lessons. Dr. Griffin will provide content expertise on the welfare and facilities management for cattle and FDA, USDA and EPA regulations for lessons 1 and 2, serve as a peer reviewer, and assist in disseminating these lessons to ranchers and veterinarians in WTAMU Extension Office.
Dan Posey, DVM, (Co-PI)
is a Professor at TAMU and WTAMU. He has over 35 years of clinical and teaching experience focusing in food animal medicine including a particular interest in cattle and merchandizing. He is the former president of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association which has enabled him to create key connections with veterinarians and ranchers across Texas. Moreover, the proposed project complements Dr. Posey’s work through another USDA-NIFA funded project under the Veterinary Services Grant Program entitled, “Texas Panhandle and Plains Rural Veterinary Practice Revitalization”. Dr. Posey will provide content expertise on the merchandizing of livestock for lesson 3, serve as peer reviewer, and assist in disseminating these lessons to ranchers and veterinarians in WTAMU Extension Office.
Advisory Board Members
Ms. Kimberly Ratcliff,
100 Ranchers, LLC
Dr. Dan Posey,
West Texas A&M University
Dr. Glennon Mays,
Texas A&M University (Ex-officio)
Dr. Joe Mask,
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Ms. Ashley Pellerin,
Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program
Dr. Dee Griffin,
West Texas A&M University
Dr. Milton Daley,
Prairie View A&M University (Ex-officio)
Dr. Nicola L. Ritter,
Texas A&M University (Ex-officio)
The goal of this integrated project is to enhance economic efficiency and sustainability of small and medium ranchers through partnership with local veterinarians. The project combines applied research and education to propose a new model for veterinarians and small and medium-sized ranchers to work cooperatively to ensure that the next generation of small and medium-sized ranchers have access to the information and resources they need to operate their ranching operations on a sustainable and profitable basis.
This work is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program grant no. 2021-68006-33878 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Conduct a participatory needs & project design assessment to determine the underlying reasons why, in spite of various organizations having hosted several training programs in the region over several years, there has not been more progress with regard to maintaining and sustaining small and medium sized ranches.
Develop a comprehensive set of three lessons focusing on Sustaining Small & Medium-Sized Ranching Operations for use in veterinary programs and extension programs with each lesson to include (a) a learning activity pack, (b) an assessment pack, and (c) resources to share with ranchers to create collaborative, productive partnerships between ranchers and veterinarians.
Provide experiential opportunities for veterinarians and ranchers in a 1-Day workshop titled “Partnership Pathways”.
Assist universities in the creation of a workforce pipeline with the qualifications to pursue careers in rural food animal medicine, and in the creation of partnerships with ranchers to help maintain and sustain small and medium-sized ranches beyond the life of the project.