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Conferences, seminars abound for Texas producers

Conferences offer production tips for cotton, grain, irrigation and feral hog management.

Texas farmers and ranchers have ample opportunities over the next few months to pick up the latest information on crop management, products and issues. Attendees also have opportunities to earn CEUs to keep pesticide applicator licenses current.

Below are some of the many opportunities available in coming weeks and months.

Jan. 16—The 20th Cotton and Grain Pre-Plant Conference will be held Jan. 16 at the Sam Sparks Auditorium at Rio Farms in Monte Alto.

Rio Farms is located at 25601 Farm-to-Market 88, some 10 miles north of Expressway 83 in Weslaco.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the program begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m.

“With December rains of about 4 inches for most of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, an improved subsoil moisture is providing growers with more optimism about planting cotton and/or grain sorghum this year,” said Brad Cowan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Hidalgo County.

“But there are always other issues to consider before making planting decisions, so this conference is designed to provide growers with research-based information that could help,” he said.

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Texas Department of Agriculture and Certified Crops Advisers continuing education units will be available.

Topics and speakers include:

  • Rio Grande Valley Boll Weevil Eradication Program; Progress Made, Challenges Ahead; Larry Smith, program director, Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, Abilene.
  • Beltwide Proposal to Assist the Valley with Boll Weevil Eradication; Dr. Don Parker, integrated pest management coordinator, National Cotton Council, Memphis.
  • Cotton Varieties for the Valley for 2014; Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension agronomist, College Station.
  • Chemical Treatment of Cotton; Dr. Greta Schuster, AgriLife Extension pathologist, Kingsville, and Jacob Pekar, graduate student, Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
  • Cotton Market Outlook for 2014; Dr. John Robinson, AgriLife Extension economist, College Station.
  • Grain Sorghum Market Outlook for 2014; Dr. Mark Welch, AgriLife Extension economist, College Station.
  • A New Threat? Sugarcane/Sorghum Aphid; Dr. Raul Villanueva, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Weslaco, and Danielle Sekula, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent, Weslaco.
  • RGV Soil Testing Campaign; Ashley Gregory, AgriLife Extension assistant, Weslaco.
  • New Developments from Industry; various industry representatives.

For more information contact Cowan at 956-383-1026, Dr. Enrique Perez, AgriLife Extension agent for Cameron County at 956-361-8236, or Omar Gonzalez, AgriLife Extension agent for Willacy County at 956-689-2412

Irrigation conference

Jan. 16—The annual High Plains Irrigation Conference will be held Jan. 16 in the Regency Room of the Amarillo Civic Center, 401 S. Buchanan St., Amarillo.

The program, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Agricultural Irrigation Association, will address a variety of topics of interest to the general public, as well as to agricultural producers, landowners, crop consultants and irrigation professionals, said Dr. Dana Porter, program coordinator and AgriLife Extension agricultural engineering specialist-irrigation and water management, Lubbock.

“We wanted to offer farm owners and managers information on economic risk management tools for limited irrigation conditions, as well as research updates and new recommendations for crop-specific irrigation management,” Porter said.

A concurrent trade show also will provide opportunities for attendees to see new products and technologies, and to visit with experts from industry, non-profit organizations and agencies.

Registration will be onsite only, beginning at 8 a.m., with the program starting at 8:30 a.m. The fee is $30. Irrigation Association – five certified irrigation designer – and certified crop adviser continuing education units – 4.5 in soil and water management and one in crop management – will be offered.

Topics and speakers for the program will be:

  • Regional Water Issues, Kyle Ingham, Panhandle Regional Planning Commission Regional Water Planning director, Amarillo.
  • Texas Water Development Board Programs: SWIFT Updates and Agricultural and Rural Water Conservation.
    Trends in Agricultural Irrigation, Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute associate director, College Station.
  • Crop Insurance and Irrigation Best Management Practices, Jay Yates, AgriLife Extension economist-risk management, Lubbock.
  • Risk Management Tools for Limited Irrigation, DeDe Jones, AgriLife Extension risk management program specialist, Amarillo.
  • Applied Research Panel: Irrigation Management Strategies for High Plains Crops, Dr. Qingwu Xue, Texas A&M AgriLife Research crop stress physiologist, Amarillo; Thomas Marek, AgriLife Research senior research, Amarillo; and Jim Bordovsky, AgriLife Research scientist and agricultural engineer, Halfway / Lubbock.
  • Irrigation Management Tools, Porter.

The meeting will conclude after 4 p.m. with a wrap-up, evaluation and CEU distribution.

For more conference information, go to the Texas Agricultural Irrigation Association website, Questions about the program can be directed to Porter at Trade show questions should be directed to Kern Stutler at 806-786-5644.

Jan. 21—All things pertaining to cotton in West Texas summarizes the subject matter of this year’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Permian Basin Cotton Conference.

The multi-county annual event takes place from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Martin County Community Center in Stanton. Counties involved with conducting the event include Martin, Upton, Glasscock, Howard, Reagan, and Midland.

Individual preregistration is $20 by Jan. 17 and $30 at the door. For more information and to RSVP, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Martin County at 432-756-3316. Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be available, pending the department’s approval.

“This program will be the most comprehensive you are apt to find in terms of cotton information relative to our region,” said Rebel Royall, AgriLife Extension agent in Glasscock County. “The AgriLife Extension agents involved with this effort have made every effort to determine what information producers need for the coming crop year and that’s what will be offered.”

Topics and presenters during the morning session will include:

  • Salinity and Cotton Root Rot Control, Dr. David Drake, AgriLife Extension agronomist, San Angelo.
  • Legislative Update on Agriculture, presented by a representative of Congressman Mike Conaway.
  • Legislative Update, Agriculture and Cotton Policy, Brett Cypert, National Cotton Council.
  • Farm Bill Farm Services Agency Update, Jill Halfmann, Martin County Farm Services Agency office.
  • How to Prepare a Budget for Your Banker, Dr. Jackie Smith, AgriLife Extension economist, Lubbock.
  • Laws and Regulations, Brad Easterling, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent for Glasscock, Reagan and Upton counties.
  • New Seed Varieties and Technologies, presented by seed company representatives.
  • Weed Resistance in Cotton and Dicamba/2-4D Resistant Cotton, Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension state cotton specialist, College Station.
  • Cotton Insect Update, Dr. Mark Muegge, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Fort Stockton.

Caprock Crop Production

Jan. 23—The 19th annual Caprock Crop Production Conference conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service begins at 7:00 a.m. Jan. 23 at the Friends Unity Center in Muncy.

“Producers, landowners and those interested in production agriculture are assured a full helping of information at this year’s conference,” said Caitlin Jackson, AgriLife Extension agent in Crosby County. “This year’s conference will be all about new technologies, practices and legislative matters currently affecting agricultural production in Crosby, Floyd and surrounding counties.”

Eight Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be available.

Participants can pre-register for $35 by contacting the AgriLife Extension offices in Floyd or Crosby counties at 806-675-2347 or 806-983-4912, respectively. Onsite registration will be $45.

Jackson said the educational sessions will include presentations on herbicide resistant weeds, nematode management, High Plains Water District updates, Risk Management Association changes, managing risk, and selection of cotton varieties and other topics significant to the area.

“Added perks at this year’s conference will include a chance to win an Apple iPad Mini donated by Vista Bank and $100 donated by People’s Bank,” Jackson said.

“In addition, we’ll have refreshments courtesy of Panhandle-Plains Land Bank and a brisket lunch sponsored in part by Plains Cotton Growers. There will also be a trade show with a number of local agricultural venders.”

Jan. 23—The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a commodities marketing workshop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 23 at First United Bank, 201 N. Broadway in Dimmit.

“This program will offer a unique opportunity for producers from across our region with an interest in the futures market,” said Nancy Andersen, AgriLife Extension agent in Castro County. “We are excited to welcome Richard Brock from the Brock Report to Castro County as our keynote program speaker.”

Brock is president of Brock Associates, a commodity marketing consulting firm headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., that provides price forecasting and strategies for sales and purchasing programs to farmers, agribusiness firms and the food industry.

Individual registration, which includes lunch, is $10 due upon arrival. For more information and to RSVP, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Castro County at 806-647-4115.

Jan. 27 and later dates—To help producers understand and manage their way through volatile markets using a variety of marketing tools such as futures and options, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Risk Management Agency will offer a one-day “Intro to Futures and Options” workshop at six locations across three months.

A record corn crop, adequate-to-surplus supplies of all crops in the U.S. and world markets, and the lowest cattle inventory in 60 years are just some of the factors that will lead to volatile markets in 2014, said Dr. Steve Amosson, AgriLife Extension economist in Amarillo.

“Crop and livestock producers need to know how to use all the marketing tools available to help ensure their profitability for the upcoming year,” Amosson said.

Specific topics covered will include: an introduction to futures and options markets, margin accounts, short hedges and how these tools relate to cash marketing tools, he said. A number of examples and hands-on exercises will enhance the learning experience.

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The fee is $50 and will cover costs associated with instruction, breaks, meals and materials.

The meeting dates and locations are:

  • Jan. 27 – First State Bank, 1601 E. 16th St., Dalhart
  • Jan. 28 – O’Loughlin Center, 502 S. Brandt St., Spearman.
  • Jan. 29 – Ochiltree Expo Center, 402 Expo Dr., Perryton.
  • Feb. 11 – Roberts County Courthouse Annex, 122 Waters St., Miami.
  • March 5 – Wheeler County Ag and Family Life Center, 7939 N. U.S. Highway 83, Wheeler.
  • March 6 – AgriLife Extension office for Deaf Smith County, 903 14th St., Hereford.

To register and pay for a course, go to While this is the preferred method of registration and payment, Amosson said, payments also will be accepted at the door. Registrations, however, should be made at least three days prior to each meeting for planning purposes and may also be completed by contacting Leon Guerrero at 806-677-5626 or or the appropriate AgriLife Extension county office.

Jan.29—A Field Crop Symposium will be held at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center, 10345 Highway 44 Corpus Christi.

The planned agenda includes:

  • 2013 Outbreak of Sorghum/Sugarcane Aphid on Sorghum—Mike Brewer, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Corpus Christi
  • Topguard for CRR Control and Other Disease Management Issues for Cotton and Sorghum—Tom Isakeit, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, College Station
  • Prevention of Herbicide Tolerant Weeds—Mark Matocha, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, College Station.
  • Optimizing Fertility Management in Cotton and Sorghum—Mark McFarland, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, College Station
  • Pre-Plant Cotton Management Strategies—Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension,
  • College Station

Feral Hogs

Feb. 4—The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, will conduct a Feral Hog Management Workshop from  8 3:15 p.m. at the Luling Foundation, 523 S. Mulberry St., in Luling.

“Despite greatly increased public awareness and more effective control methods, Texas feral hog populations continue to grow,” said Jared Timmons, AgriLife Extension wildlife associate at San Marcos.

“More feral hogs mean a magnification of some already serious problems such as the polluting of creeks and rivers from the animals congregating around water sources to drink and wallow,” Timmons said. “The result is fecal matter going directly into streams, adding often dangerous levels of bacteria and nutrients to the water.

“Our goal for this program is to keep landowners in tune with the latest information available in regards to the feral hog situation in our region and to offer them ways to cope with it.”

Workshop topics will include: basic biology of feral swine and their damage to watersheds, feral hogs in the Plum Creek watershed, population dynamics, laws and regulations for hunting feral hogs, agricultural regulations, safety and disease concerns, transportation regulations, control and trap demonstration.

Individual preregistration is $15 by Feb.1 and $25 thereafter. For more information and to preregister, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Caldwell County at 512-398-3122 or

Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units – two general, two integrated pest management and one laws and regulations – will be offered pending the department’s approval.

Information on controlling feral hogs is available at or

The program is provided through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Feb. 10—The Hale/ Swisher Ag Conference will be held Feb. 10 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Ollie Liner Center. Discussions include insect, weed and disease management, fertility and other topics. CEUs will be offered. Call 806.291.5267 to make reservations. Registration fee: $20. The conference is sponsored by Panhandle-Plains Land Bank, Great Plains Ag Credit and Hale County Farm Bureau.



Also of Interest:

Rebuilding beef herd is key focus for 2014 BIG Conference

Jan. 14 Cattle Trails Cow-Calf Conference in Wichita Falls

Red River Crops Conference features multiple crops

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