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Latigo Associates Retained by Texas A&M University

College Station, Texas - Texas A&M University, one of the foremost universities in the development of research, science and information for the agriculture industry, has retained Latigo Associates to assist in the development of a center designed to help the horse industry make better decisions and build business.

"Latigo Associates is honored to have been selected by the University to assist in this effort," said Julie Bryant, president. "Throughout my 20 years serving this industry, I have often been frustrated by the lack of data available in the horse industry that is so abundant in other livestock or commodity categories, such as cattle and sheep. With this Center, the U.S. horse industry can gain solid ground in claiming true economic impact both in the United States and globally."

Approved by The Texas A&M University System's Board of Regents in September, the Center for Equine Business Studies at Texas A&M is slated to become a valuable and consistently available resource for all aspects of the equine industry as it works to provide economic and market information to the industry said the Center's Executive Director, Dr. Ernie Davis.

"Texas A&M takes very seriously its reputation as one of the nation's leading universities, particularly in the areas of agriculture and veterinary medicine," Davis said. "The university recognizes that the horse livestock industry has a need for information that will identify emerging markets and provide a consistent source of economic and industry data to affect sound decision making by companies and groups serving the industry."

Davis said the ability to consistently provide information to government, media and the public regarding the impact of the horse industry, environmental and tax issues is critical and points to the topic of equine slaughter as an example.

"There are two clear sides to this issue but, unfortunately, there has been little done to determine the true economic impact of caring for fifty to sixty thousand horses annually for the remainder of their lifespan,  and equally as important, the impact of closing the plants that process those animals," he said. "This is just one example of our Center could help answer those questions."

David noted that since the horse industry is dominated by small business, among them being professional horse trainers, breeders, tack and equipment suppliers, training in entrepreneurship would serve the industry well in assuring the success of companies and future investors.

Furthermore, such a Center would also provide economic analysis of the potential impacts of programs and proposed legislation on the U.S. and international horse industries.

Slated to be operational by June 2006, the Center will receive valuable input from a Strategic Development Council that will meet at Texas A&M in February comprised of key industry thought leaders who will provide insight into the programs and services to be offered. A second Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel will be formed once the Center is operational to continue providing feedback, as well as be involved in the development of industry summits and programs.

Funding for the Center will come from the horse industry through membership fees established at varying fee and service levels. Among the benefits of membership are the development of annual reports, access to economic data generated by the Center, a monthly EquiNomics newsletter and registration to an annual EquiNomics Summit.

"Members of the Center will be able to call upon our internationally recognized staff at any time to perform studies on their behalf," Davis said. "Our staff knows and understands agriculture and the horse livestock industry, so the ability to produce solid data is one assurance we can make to our members."

To receive an information packet about the Center and membership, contact Dr. Davis at , by calling (979) 845-1705 or at 2124 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2124. Bryant can be contacted at or (817) 443-0686.

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