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2013 Stonewall County Ag Day

story by Quenna Terry and Jacob Shaffer

Mullen and Son's presented information on solar pumps.Local agricultural programs recently got the attention from area farmers and ranchers at the 2nd Annual Stonewall County Ag Day in Aspermont where conservation partners provided information and updates to benefit land and resources.

A few of the program topics included conservation and Farm Bill updates, Dow AgroScience chemical presentation, wheat varieties, cattle market, pesticide licensing, and rainwater harvesting.

With drought conditions continuing into 2013, producers were interested in the presentations for solar pumps by Mullen and Sons, local well drillers, and harvesting rainwater presented by producers Carl and Marianne Marugg, who catch rainwater for household use as their only source of water.

Marianne Marugg discusses the value of harvesting rainwater.Both presentations stressed the need for water conservation to ensure future supplies. The Maruggs have lived solely on rainwater for 13 years and made it through the 2011 drought with only eight inches of rainfall in a historic drought year.

The program was hosted by the Stonewall Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and local conservation partners including the Farm Service Agency (FSA). AgriLife Extension Service also offered producers the opportunity to earn up to three continuing education units (CEUs).

NRCS representatives were available following the presentations to provide additional details about drought impacts related to planning and management, and technical assistance and programs available to address producers’ resource needs.

James Lewis with the NRCS explains the value of different plants for livestock and wildlife.NRCS District Conservationist Jacob Shaffer said, "Ag Day is an opportunity for us to inform and educate local and absentee landowners.”

The SWCD and NRCS collaborated with their partners to continue the Ag Day outreach program for the second year in the community.

Shaffer said, “I’ve been here just two years and the producers seem to welcome programs such as the local Ag Day event to help inform them of new agriculture technology and program changes. They want to be informed and I’m glad to help them.”

NRCS and the Stonewall SWCD personnel planned and organized the event.

Raford Hargrove of Hargrove Insurance presents an iPad to a lucky raffle winner.“The benefits of AG Day lets landowners know we are here for technical assistance as well as financial assistance,” said Tina Meador, NRCS Range Management Specialist in Aspermont.

An estimated 50 people were in attendance for the event. A noon meal was sponsored by The First National Bank of Aspermont, Dow AgroSciences, Ellison Dozer Service, and the Stonewall SWCD.

For more information about NRCS and SWCD activities in Aspermont contact the USDA Service Center, NRCS field office at 940-989-2627 ext. 3 or visit the office located on 635 S. Broadway, Aspermont, Texas.