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Blewett Family donation brings Santa Gertrudis to TSU

published: February 3rd 2023
by: Jesse Top Becker, Santa Gertrudis USA
source: Southern Livestock Standard

KINGSVILLE, Texas (Jan. 26, 2023) Adding Santa Gertrudis to Texas State University’s (TSU) cow herd has been a goal for Kevin and Heather Blewett of Buena Vida Cattle Company for the last four years.  This year, that goal becomes a reality, thanks to the Blewetts’ recent donation to TSU. Their gift of more than $500,000 will fund Santa Gertrudis research at TSU’s renowned Freeman Center, located in San Marcos, Texas.

The project’s primary goals are to utilize Santa Gertrudis genetics and cash donations to improve the quality and employability of students graduating from the TSU Department of Agricultural Sciences and to establish the department as a primary destination for top agricultural students and faculty. The addition of Santa Gertrudis to the university’s herd will provide more hands-on experience for students and expand research opportunities for students and faculty.

“The ultimate goal of this project is to improve the quality of agriculture education at TSU through hands-on research and development,” Heather Blewett explains.

Beyond benefiting the university, this project will benefit Santa Gertrudis breeders as well.

“The project will provide data to improve the production and value of Santa Gertrudis and STAR 5 cattle,” Blewett says.

As the birthplace of Santa Gertrudis, Texas is home to a large number of Santa Gertrudis breeders, making the Freeman Center’s location ideal for conducting valuable research that will impact numerous operations using Santa Gertrudis. Located in the Texas Hill Country of central Texas, the Freeman Center’s location is characterized by extraordinary climate variability, making it well situated to conduct research that further demonstrates Santa Gertrudis’ ability to adapt and thrive in a variety of environments.

The university’s size was another factor in the Blewetts’ decision. As Texas’ third largest university, TSU has a goal of becoming a leading research facility, making this a very strategic partnership. The proverbial stars aligned, paving the way toward a beneficial project for everyone involved.

“We, as a breed, have the chance to partner with a major university whose stated goal is to produce research that improves the sustainability, production and value of the Santa Gertrudis breed,” Blewett says. “Ultimately, TSU’s goal is to become an R1 research facility, and the Santa Gertrudis breed will be a cornerstone for that quest.”

A three-year commitment with the Blewetts, TSU and other Santa Gertrudis breeders, this endeavor begins Jan. 1, 2023, when the first Santa Gertrudis bull will be added to the university’s commercial herd. They will also start acquiring the first 20 head of Santa Gertrudis cattle shortly after the new year.

While the Blewetts have gotten this project off the ground, the hope is that other Santa Gertrudis breeders and TSU alumni will recognize the project’s value and make additional donations.

“This is only the beginning,” Blewett says. “We have the opportunity to grow within the breed. We will be approaching other Santa Gertrudis breeders to acquire some of the best genetics and monetary donations to help the breed put its best foot forward.”


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