Dr. Ted McCollum, who came to Texas A&M in 1995 and built what many describe as a “dynamic” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service outreach program to benefit the state’s beef cattle industry and nationwide, is bidding the agency – but not the industry, goodbye.
McCollum, who will retire Aug. 31, said he has had a lot of interesting challenges over the years, challenges that presented questions and highlighted producers’ needs.
“Those challenges helped me grow and expand as a professional, and I’m appreciative of those opportunities and people who I worked with,” he said.
But now it is time to step away from the office job and dedicate more time to his family’s cattle operations in Texas and New Mexico, McCollum said.
“Ted is one of the leading beef cattle specialists in the U.S. and has been recognized numerous times, individually and with his colleagues, for his efforts and dedication to his profession,” said Dr. Ron Gill, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist and associate department head for animal science at Texas A&M University in College Station. “We hate to see him go. Replacing him in such a vital beef cattle region will be tough, but important.”
As a professor of animal science and AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist assigned to the Panhandle and South Plains districts, McCollum provided educational programming, including agent training and support, in beef cattle management.
“Ted didn’t just serve that region, though,” Gill said. “He was called on by beef producers statewide, and even nationwide, for one-on-one assistance. His expertise was sought often in the areas of beef cattle nutrition and stocker cattle programs.”
McCollum provided statewide support in areas of beef cattle nutrition, stocker/ backgrounding systems, finishing systems and Beef Quality Assurance. He was often asked to speak at workshops and programs to discuss production management of all phases of commercial cattle and beef production, from rangeland and forage-based production systems to cattle feeding systems. He has spoken in Argentina, Brazil, China, Kenya, Mexico and Uruguay.
“Over the years, Ted made significant collaborations between the cattle industry and AgriLife Extension through his assistance to industry associations and allied industries – including programs on personnel training, development and delivery of customer and member educational programs, focus groups and task forces on industry issues,” Gill said.
He said McCollum has also been instrumental in the partnership between AgriLife Extension, West Texas A&M University and the Texas Cattle Feeders Association in implementing the Feedyard Technician Certification, which trains the workforce for the fed beef industry.
McCollum worked at the Oklahoma State University/Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station from 1983 to 1995 teaching and coordinating research in the areas of nutrition and management of beef cattle grazing rangeland and pasture before coming to Texas A&M.
He is a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, where he was named a Diplomate of the American College of Animal Nutrition; Plains Nutrition Council, where he is a past president and served as the secretary-treasurer from 1998 to the present. He serves the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association on its Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Committee and Producer Education Committee and has assisted the Texas Cattle Feeders Association on various subcommittees and member activities.
McCollum has been recognized as an award-winning specialist, receiving as recently as Aug. 28 the Randall County Outstanding Result Demonstrator award. He has also been the recipient of the Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence-Specialist; the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence-Agency/Industry Team, Texas Beef Quality Producer team; and the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence-Extension Team, Forage Sorghum team.
Other awards include the Society for Range Management Outstanding Achievement Award; the American Society of Animal Science Southern Section Extension Award; and the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association – State Specialist of the Year.