Drought, mad cow disease, market volatility and higher input costs have increased risk levels for cattle and forage producers during the last decade, in spite of relatively good market prices, said a Texas Cooperative Extension economist.

"We will host a livestock risk management workshop at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Vernon on Oct. 22," said Stan Bevers, Extension economist at Vernon. "The workshop is designed to help producers improve their risk management skills."

The event is co-sponsored by Extension, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Speakers will provide an overview of risk management tools approved by the Risk Management Agency, available through local crop insurance agents. Risk management programs provided by Extension will also be covered, Bevers said.

"We'll take a look at pasture, rangeland and forage insurance, risk protection for feeder and fed cattle, livestock gross margin, and the current market situation and outlook," he said.

The program will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The workshop is free, but those who plan to attend should call ahead to reserve a space, Bevers said.

The number to call is 940-552-9941, extension 231 (Bevers) or 238 (Janet Case). Bevers and Case can also be contacted by email at s-bevers@tamu.edu or jcase@ag.tamu.edu. Reservations can also be madeonline at http://agrisk.tamu.edu.