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Ag Workshop offers conservation education to local producers

Ag Workshop offers conservation education to local producers

Story by Jaime Tankersley

The Eldorado-Divide Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) welcomed over 60 agriculture producers in and around Schleicher County for the first annual Agriculture Workshop on July 14, 2011.

The interactive program offered producers a chance to hear from agency officials about grazing management, drought planning, prescribed burning, safety, predator control and other hot topics in the agriculture world, and ask questions pertaining to the information.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offered insight on both prescribed burns and grazing management following a burn and drought planning.

�Fire is the last thing that most folks want to talk about right now,� said NRCS rangeland management specialist Joe Franklin.

�However when used correctly and efficiently fire can be a tool utilized to control invasive species, manage your wildfire fuel load and achieve your conservation goals.�

The morning session concluded with a pesticide law and regulation presentation by Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) representative, Cory Pence. The afternoon agenda started with a Patrolman�s Perspective-Safety and Traffic Laws pertaining to Ag producers, which was covered by two Texas Department of Public Safety officers.

Sheep and goat predators are always a lingering concern for many producers. Pete Bland, with Texas Wildlife Services, provided the workshop crowd an opportunity to learn how to effectively use M44�s (cyanide gun) and Livestock Protection Collars (LPC). The LPC is the most selective method available to manage coyote predation on sheep and goats�only the coyote that attacks a sheep or goat fitted with an LPC is killed. The collars contain two reservoirs with low concentration doses of Compound 1080, which is fatal to predators when ingested during an attack.

Texas AgriLife Extension Range Specialist, Bob Lyons, discussed individual plant treatment tips for both mesquite and prickly pear.

�No one truly knows how chemicals will react in a year like this,� Lyons said.

�We don�t have a year this extreme on record to compare any products too. No one truly knows how the plants will respond to chemical in this kind of drought.�

After completing the workshop, six TDA-Continuing Education Units (CEU) were awarded to those with a pesticide applicator license.

�We want this to become an annual event sponsored by the SWCD that covers different key concepts pertaining to Schleicher and surrounding counties,� said NRCS District Conservationist Vaden Aldridge.

�We will tailor the educational presentations to the conservation work done locally, and we hope to showcase chemically treated test plots over the years to come. It provides a broader perspective and offers producers an advantage in obtaining their operational goals.�

For more information about upcoming events or conservation education, contact the local NRCS/SWCD at 325-853-2720 or visit them at 510 South Divide Street, Eldorado, Texas.

Eldorado-Divide Soil and Water Conservation District Directors, Jim Chancellor and Mike Lux (L to R) serve lunch to participants during the 1st Annual Agriculture Workshop. Pete Bland, with Texas Wildlife Services, prepares to show workshop participants how to safely use both M44�s and Livestock Protection Collars during the 1st Annual Agriculture Workshop.

Eldorado-Divide Soil and Water Conservation District Directors, Jim Chancellor and Mike Lux (L to R) serve lunch to participants during the 1st Annual Agriculture Workshop.

Pete Bland, with Texas Wildlife Services, prepares to show workshop participants how to safely use both M44�s and Livestock Protection Collars during the 1st Annual Agriculture Workshop.

Producers from in and around Schleicher County participated in the 1st Annual Agriculture Workshop hosted by the Eldorado-Divide Soil and Water Conservation District.  

Producers from in and around Schleicher County participated in the 1st Annual Agriculture Workshop hosted by the Eldorado-Divide Soil and Water Conservation District.