members of the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents

Members of the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents toured the Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research Center during the board’s January meeting. Construction will begin soon to replace the center’s beef barn, which was destroyed by fire in November 2018. Pictured are, from left, SFA President Dr. Scott Gordon;  Regents Brigettee Carnes Henderson of Lufkin,  M. Thomas Mason of Dallas, Karen Gantt of McKinney; Zoé Smiley of Corrigan, student regent; and Regents Dr. Scott Coleman of Houston, Judy Olson of The Woodlands, Alton Frailey of Katy, and Jennifer Wade Winston of Lufkin. Regent David Alders of Nacogdoches is not pictured.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University Beef Farm at the Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research Center is a home base for students studying the agricultural industry. It supports research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students, and approximately 5,300 guests visit the center each year for community events, tours and high-school agricultural competitions.

Unfortunately, a barn at the Beef Farm was destroyed by a November 2018 fire.

“The fire at the Beef Farm did not injure any individuals or animals, and we plan to begin construction soon on a replacement facility to meet the needs of SFA students majoring in animal science,” said Dr. Hans Williams, dean of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.

The SFA Board of Regents recently approved the construction of a replacement barn at a projected cost of $900,000, and the university is seeking contributions to assist in outfitting the new facility with state-of-the-art equipment for students to utilize as they learn proper care of livestock, marketing of cattle, and the sale and fabrication of retail products.

Since the fire, students have conducted laboratory work in a make-shift facility with temporary pens for the cattle, making record-keeping and animal care more difficult.
“Our animal science faculty members have done a remarkable job adapting to the loss of the Beef Farm facility to fire last year,” Williams said. “Replacing this facility is a critical factor in fulfilling our mission of supplying highly trained graduates to an industry vital to the Texas economy.”

The Beef Farm includes more than 500 acres of grazing pasture for a herd of approximately 120 registered and commercial cattle.

 “Our students are fortunate to have an opportunity to learn and conduct research in this real-world, hands-on environment,” said Dr. Scott Gordon, SFA president. “The transformational experiences and various public outreach events at the farm are an important part of the outstanding SFA education.”

Dr. Joey Bray, chair of the Department of Agriculture, said the new facility will increase the department’s ability to provide instruction in areas such as food science and food safety. It also will provide a home for the SFA Purple Premium Cattle Sale that brings more than 300 buyers to campus each fall, as well as the Lumberjack Invitational Steer and Heifer show.

“We will host the SFA Invitational Career Development events, which bring more than 4,000 high school students to campus each spring,” Bray said. “Our students, alumni and community members will be proud of the new facility and the numerous learning opportunities we provide.”

Friends and alumni who wish to donate funds to assist in the recovery of the facility and replacement of its contents may contribute in a variety of ways. To donate online, visit Select "other," specify "Beef Farm" and follow the designated steps to complete the donation.

Checks made payable to the SFASU Foundation may be mailed to the SFA Office of Development, P.O. Box 6092-SFA Station, Nacogdoches, Texas, 75962. Please include a note stating the contribution is for the SFA Beef Farm. Donors also may call (936) 468-5406 to designate a donation to the SFA Beef Farm.

For information regarding SFA’s animal science programs, contact Bray or Dr. Erin Brown, professor of animal science, at (936) 468-3705.