Farm Progress

Speakers to highlight innovations to advance a profitable agriculture future for Texas and beyond.

Ron Smith 1, Senior Content Director

November 9, 2018

2 Min Read
2017 TPPA conference presenter Dr. Peter Dotray, from left, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service, visits with TPPA members Dr. Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; past president Gary Schwarzlose; and Ron Smith, Farm Press.

When the Texas Plant Protection Association gathers Dec. 4-5 for the 30th annual conference, farmers will be considering a handful of challenges as they begin making decisions for 2019 crops.

Presenters at the two-day conference will address many of those challenges.


TPPA Board Chairman Ray Smith, left, and President Dr. Kranthi Mandadi at the 2017 annual conference.

"This year we are very excited to bring in speakers who will highlight new innovations to advance a profitable agriculture future for Texas and beyond,” says TPPA President Kranthi Mandadi, Texas A & M AgriLife Research, Weslaco, Texas.

“These innovations span topics such as digital farming solutions, remote sensing/high-throughput phenotyping, harnessing crop microbiomes, and a primer on genome editing technologies. These are all excellent topics, and we hope the TPPA attendees will appreciate this year’s agenda." 

The conference theme, “Innovations in Texas Agriculture for a Profitable Ag Future” shows how research fits into this new world or ag issues, Mandadi says. This new world will rely on new chemistries, new technology and computer science.

TPPA Chairman of the Board Ray Smith, Biological Research Services, Inc., College Station, Texas, says TPPA’s 30 years shows that the organization remains relevant to production agriculture. “We have had from 200 to 300 attendees every year for 30 years.” That’s a remarkable achievement, he says, considering changes in agriculture, especially with company mergers.

“Our triangle format has been important,” he says. “We include Industry, Extension and Research equally in leadership. Officers change one right after the other  Research to Extension, to Industry. That’s why we have been successful.

“We’ve presented timely information at each conference, as is apparent in this year’s agenda.”

See, 9 issues that affect 2019 planting decisions

Smith says his one disappointment is the low grower turnout. “Every year we try to get more growers to come, but we have failed to do that. Attendees are our disciples; they go out and present information to farmers. But I would like to have more farmers.

Mandadi adds that student participation is improving.  "We expect a greater student participation this year,” he says. “We are waiving the registration fee for students who can present a poster, and we are offering discounted rates for those who would like to participate in other portions of the conference.”

Students can compete and win one of the three cash awards for best poster presentation. “I highly encourage all students to take advantage of these opportunities and learn about the latest innovations in agricultural sciences from the leaders,” Mandadi says. 

For more information on the conference check the TPPA website,

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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