CATTLE & CALVES
Black, red, white and shades in between—cows and calves dot pastures around the state. In Texas, 152,882 farms and ranches account for 12.57 million head of cattle and calves. Cattle is the top agricultural enterprise in Texas, and we lead the nation in cattle production.
POULTRY & EGGS
Americans love their chicken and eggs. Texas farmers provide a large nugget of that, too! We rank sixth in broiler production in the U.S., with most of that in East and Central Texas. Egg production in the state includes table eggs, broiler-type and other egg-type hatching eggs. Poultry and egg production earn more than $2.9 billion in sales annually. Texas farmers raise about 619 million meat-type broilers and 28,000 laying hens.
COTTON & COTTONSEED
Some call it Texas snow. Miles and miles of fluffy cotton stretch over the state in late summer and early fall. Texas grows more cotton than any other state. Texas farmers grow about 25 percent of the entire U.S. crop. Cotton and cottonseed bring in $2.6 billion annually. Nearly 9 million bales are produced from 6,212 Texas farms.
Texas has more than 531,000 dairy cows that keep our milk fresh and bodies strong. The majority are milked in the Texas Panhandle, but there are dairy farms in all regions of the state. The average Texas dairy farm has 1,188 cows, and the Texas dairy industry contributes $2.1 billion in milk sales each year. There are 467 dairy farms in Texas.
There are more than 10,000 farms in Texas that grow corn, wheat, sorghum, barley and rice. Those grains are used in livestock feed, human food and other byproducts. Corn, sorghum and wheat are the top three grain crops in Texas.
NURSERY GREENHOUSE AND FLORICULTURE
Texas’ booming population has set the stage for growth of the state’s greenhouse, nursery and floriculture business. Flowers, trees, shrubs, bedding and other unique plants, along with tools and advice, are abundant, keeping Texas bright and beautiful. More than 1,400 farms contribute $838 million in sales each year
OTHER CROPS & HAY
This includes crops such as grass seed, hay and grass silage, haylage, greenchop, hops, maple syrup, mint for oil, peanuts, sugarcane and sugar beets. This diverse group of crops brings in $688 million in annual sales. Texas farmers depend on the crops to be used as livestock feed or human food.
VEGETABLES, MELONS & POTATOES
If you like local, then you’re going to love Texas-grown vegetables. From cucumbers to potatoes and onions to melons, Texas vegetables and families go together like, well, peas and carrots—also grown in the Lone Star State. The sales of vegetables, melons and potatoes bring in $352 million annually.
FRUITS, TREE NUTS & BERRIES
Farms, orchards and groves all over the state bring in more than $213 million dollars annually. From peaches to pecans and melons to strawberries, there’s sure to be a tasty treat ripe for the picking somewhere nearby, because they come from more than 5,700 farms in Texas!
HOGS & PIGS
There are more than 1 million pigs on over 4,000 farms across the Lone Star State. The pork industry sells more than $163 million of pigs each year. Talk about bringing home the bacon!
Texas A&M student creates video game for working cattle
One Texas A&M University student developed an interactive game to introduce concepts of working with cattle.
Nicholas Free, an animal science senior at Texas A&M, created a simulation game that may help others build and expand their cattle-working skills.
Although Free didn’t grow up handling cattle, he used the information he learned in his animal sciences courses and from hearing Dr. Ron Gill, Texas A&M professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service livestock specialist, discuss proper cattle handling methods and techniques.
“I didn’t have much experience with livestock, but I understood the concepts immediately,” Free said. “I began thinking about how I could help people visualize the concepts without having hands-on experience.”
Free researched how to create video games in augmented reality.
His research and brainstorming with Dr. Luis Tedschi, associate professor for animal nutrition and Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow, led to developing CowSim.
The game simulation is separated into three parts.
The first section teaches the player how to behave in an open environment with cattle, and players learn the proper techniques for driving cattle in a production facility in the second section.
The final section of CowSim has players leading cattle through a facility with additional obstacles. This allows players to apply their knowledge learned from the previous sections.
“Overall, I feel very comfortable saying that if a person—who has never had any interaction with livestock—were to play this game, they would have sufficient knowledge on how to handle them by the end of the game,” Free said. “I hope we can start the process of interactive learning through simulation and games as a model to be used in the education system.”
Free created the interactive simulation game to focus on the best techniques to use when handling cattle. He said it benefits the students to learn how to remain calm when working with cattle. And, in turn, that benefits the cattle.
You can play the game online at https://freenicholas.wixsite.com/cowsim.
For more information about CowSim, email Free at firstname.lastname@example.org.