BORGER, Texas - Whether you eat steak or raise cattle, you are sure to find discussions slated during the "Great Plains Future of Agriculture Symposium" on April 22 to be of interest. Sponsors include Texas Cooperative Extension offices in Hutchinson, Hansford, Hemphill, Lipscomb and Ochiltree counties, as well as Frank Phillips College, Borger Chamber of Commerce and Borger Economic Development Corp.

The symposium will be held in the Service Drilling Center for Innovation and Technology on the college campus at 1301 W. Roosevelt. Registration will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. with time for refreshments and viewing the exhibits.

Tickets at the door cost $10. Seating will be limited to the first 200 participants.

Herbert Swender, FPC president, will open the program. Lewis T. Britt, district office representative for Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, Amarillo will give opening remarks on behalf of the congressman.

Tom Benton, Extension agricultural and natural resources agent in Hutchinson County, will provide an overview of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, issues.

Ted McCollum, Extension beef cattle specialist for the Panhandle and South Plains, will address animal identification and country-of-origin labeling concerns. He is headquartered at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Amarillo.

After lunch, keynote addresses will be presented by speakers from Washington, D.C. Each presentation will be delivered using videoconferencing technology.

From USDA, James G. Butler, deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, will discuss BSE and animal identification topics.

Also from the Washington headquarters of the National Cattleman's Board and Association, Bryan Dierlam, director of legislative affairs, will review the industry perspective on BSE.

A steak luncheon at noon will be held in the Borger Dome at 118 Bulldog Ave. The nationally recognized J3 Chuck Wagon caterers will be cooking from an historic 1890s-built wagon. The wagon was the first ever to be inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City.

The event will adjourn by 3 p.m. For more details, contact the Extension agent in these counties: Hutchinson, (806) 878-4026; Hansford, (806) 659-4132; Hemphill, (806) 323-9114; Lipscomb, (806) 862-4601; and Ochiltree, (806) 435-4501.

Pam Dillard is a writer for Texas A&M University.

e-mail: p-dillard@tamu.edu