James E. “Bud” Smith PMC Celebrates 45 Years of Successful Plant Technolog
James E. ï¿½Budï¿½ Smith PMC Celebrates 45 Years of Successful Plant Technology
Story by Randy Henry
This year our nation celebrated the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Serviceï¿½s (NRCS) 75th anniversary and other conservation achievements, including 45 years of successful plant science technology at the James E. ï¿½Budï¿½ Smith (JEBS) Plant Materials Center (PMC) in Knox City, Texas.
A public open house and NRCS field day took place on June 8th and 9th at the JEBS PMC, where the public was invited to tour the newly constructed service center and updated plant materials facility, along with NRCS personnel and its partners attending facility tours and plant materials training relative to conservation planning.
ï¿½We are very proud to dedicate the new plant materials center facilities and laboratory that highlights conservation research and technology development,ï¿½ said Don Gohmert, NRCS state conservationist in Texas. ï¿½The information developed here provides a valuable insight on the role and purpose of the plant materials program while strengthening the conservation technical assistance our employees provide to Texas landowners.ï¿½
The mission of the JEBS PMC is to collect, evaluate, select, release, and develop technology for plant materials. The plant materials program emphasizes the use of native plants as a way to address conservation issues and restore native ecosystems. Plus, the program follows a process for the release of materials with federal and state agencies, as well as other conservation partners.
ï¿½The new service center, research equipment, and laboratory enables us to provide more advanced technology and research so our customers can meet their different conservation needs,ï¿½ said Dr. Gary Rea, JEBS PMC manager in Knox City.
With the history of JEBS PMC dating back to1935, it began as the Soil Erosion Service San Antonio Nursery, and in 1965 moved to Knox City. In 1967, the facility was named after James E. ï¿½Budï¿½ Smith, who retired from the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in 1965, following 30 years as an agronomist, nursery manager, and plant materials specialist in Texas and Oklahoma.
ï¿½Many people have helped build the heritage of this plant material center to what it is today, from the start with the Soil Erosion Service years ago that focused on stopping soil erosion to developing new plant species with NRCS,ï¿½ said James Abbott, retired assistant state lead for programs with the SCS and NRCS.
Besides James Abbott, several NRCS Texas personnel delivered presentations at the two-day event, including Texas State Conservationist Don Gohmert; Ron Hilliard, NRCS state conservation in Oklahoma; Susan Baggett, NRCS state resource conservationist; Rob Ziehr, NRCS state plant materials specialist; Jeanna Childers, NRCS state forester; Russell Castro, NRCS state wildlife biologist; Alan Shadow, East Texas PMC manager in Nacogdoches; John Lloyd-Reilley, E. Kiki de la Garza PMC manager in Kingsville; Dan Keesee, NRCS state soil conservationist; Kent Ferguson, NRCS state rangeland management specialist; Brandon Carr, JEBS PMC soil conservationist; Randy Kuehler, JEBS PMC biological soil technician; Willie Durham, NRCS state conservation agronomist; and Andy Spencer, NRCS zone conservation agronomist in Weatherford.
Other guest speakers included Chip Ruthven, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Jan Hatler, Texas Department of Agriculture; Mary Kay Hicks, Texas Forest Service; Sandra Offutt, Texas Smartscape Program; as well as Archie Abrameit and Mike Petersen, NRCS retirees.
Along with the many speakers addressing conservation issues, training sessions were available for the public and NRCS personnel to attend, including planning and preparing for wildfires, calibrating herbicide sprayers and grass drills, conservation tillage demonstrations, landscaping with native plants, design and maintenance of windbreaks, plant materials for wildlife plantings, grazing and management of wetlands, forage inventories and plant identification, seed collection and handling, and implement identification.
NRCS Texas State Resource Conservationist Susan Baggett helped with the registration of both young and older visitors to the 45th anniversary of the James E. ï¿½Budï¿½ Smith Plant Materials Center, which was held on June 8-9, 2010, in Knox City, Texas.
James Abbott, left, retired assistant state lead for programs with SCS and NRCS, discussed the history of the JEBS PMC and how it was established with former PMC employees that helped make the center what it is today. Don Gohmert, right, NRCS state conservationist in Texas, welcomed visitors and NRCS personnel to the two-day event held on June 8-9 in Knox City, Texas.
During one of the stops on the JEBS PMC facility tour, Joel Douglas, right, NRCS plant materials specialist at the Central Region National Technology Support Center in Fort Worth, Texas, discusses Alamo switchgrass topics for visitors and NRCS personnel at the JEBS PMC 45th anniversary held on June 8-9 in Knox City, Texas.
Presenting some of the numerous varieties of plant species grown at the JEBS PMC, Alan Shadow, East Texas PMC manager in Nacogdoches, Texas, shows visitors and NRCS personnel rows of Maximilian sunflower (not bloomed) while discussing uses of the forb as a forage for livestock and wildlife.
Wagons with dozens of visitors and NRCS personnel that attended the JEBS PMC 45th anniversary on June 8-9 in Knox City, Texas, were pulled by new and old conservation cadillacs (tractors) showing them the facility and various plant species grown there. The tour encompassed the new plant materials center facilities and laboratory, as well as a field tour where all the attendees had presentations delivered by NRCS personnel at field stations on the site.
Mike Petersen, left with mustache, retired NRCS soil scientist and full-time precision tillage agronomist, presented a demonstration on how various conservation tillage implements work. NRCS Texas State Conservationist Don Gohmert, center, and Andy Spencer, right, NRCS zone agronomist in Weatherford, Texas, look on as Petersen discusses what a strip-till row has over other methods of conservation tillage.