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USDA-NRCS Targets Programs and Practices at Conference

story by Randy Henry

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helped landowners and producers learn more about the conservation programs and land management practices at the Bell County Crops and Livestock Conference held at the Bell County Expo Center on January 25, 2011, in Belton, Texas.

With more than 450 attendees at the conference, dozens of people came by the NRCS booth and received information about NRCS conservation programs, along with updated brochures targeting the 2008 Farm Bill in Texas, new landowner information, and conservation planning.

Ricky Linex, NRCS wildlife biologist in Weatherford, Texas, delivered an informative presentation focusing on White-tailed Deer in the Blackland Prairie: How to Manage For or Against Them.

"The interest in deer is alive and well in the Blacklands, and a show of hands revealed that most attendees wanted to know how to manage for white-tail deer," said Linex. "My presentation was a good fit since white-tailed deer have certainly moved into the region in the past 50 years."

Additional presentations about agricultural issues included Permit Requirements for Pesticide Application, Small Grains Production in Central Texas, Aflatoxin in Central Texas, Watershed Impairment Issues and Protection in Central Texas, Commodity Markets and Price Outlook, and Weed and Brush Control Decisions. There were six Continuing Education Units (CEUs) offered focusing on integrated pest management, laws and regulations, and general units.

"The many topics covered at this year's conference were great and diverse for the 400-plus farmers and ranchers that attended from Bell County and surrounding counties," said Kelli McClelland, NRCS district conservationist in Bell County. "The large crowd this year was due to the good topics and presentations, including new regulations by TAHC to issues about Aflatoxin, and the hard work of the Bell County Extension Office."

Besides Linex and McClelland, NRCS personnel included Kaleb Pool, NRCS district conservationist in Barlett; Beau Gray, NRCS soil conservationist in Belton; Chuck Tonn, NRCS soil conservation technician in Belton; Sean Ray, NRCS agricultural engineer in Belton; Michael Turner, NRCS soil conservationist in Cameron; and Chad Hajda, NRCS soil conservation technician in Cameron.

Sponsors for the conference included USDA-NRCS, Texas AgriLife Extension Service of Bell County, USDA Farm Service Agency, Central Texas Soil and Water Conservation District No. 509, Little River-San Gabriel Soil and Water Conservation District No. 508, and the Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District.

NRCS Booth

Bell County Conference Attendees

As the doors opened in the morning on Jan. 25th, landowners and producers attending the 2011 Bell County Crop and Livestock Conference at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas, visited the NRCS booth for updated information about our conservation programs. Ricky Linex (right), NRCS wildlife biologist in Weatherford, assists booth visitors with questions about conservation programs and land management practices.

With more than 450 farmers and ranchers in attendance, very few chairs were empty when the presentations started at the 2011 Bell County Crops and Livestock Conference, which was held on Jan. 25th at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas.

Conference Registration

With a record 300-plus landowners and producers pre-registering for this year's conference, which turned out to be one of the most attended in the conference's history, Kelli McClelland (seated right), NRCS district conservationist in Belton, helps with the huge lines that were waiting to get into the 2011 Bell County Crops and Livestock Conference at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas on January 25, 2011.