The 45th annual Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) conference was recently held in Lubbock. Members from USDAï¿½s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS), agricultural industry, business and students attended the three-day event that included programs and tours.
ï¿½Over 40 members participated this year in the state conference for SWCS,ï¿½ said Laura Broyles, State SWCS president and NRCS district conservationist. ï¿½This conference was a tremendous opportunity for members and students interested in soil and water conservation to learn about conserving resources through industry and business, as well as the abundance of agricultural industries and businesses that drives the economy of the High Plains region.ï¿½
Tours were offered at the Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute, American Wind Power Center and the National Ranching Heritage Center, which is part of Texas Tech University (TTU). Khawar Arain, engineer in the textile division for TTU at the Fiber Biopolymer Research Institute, presented an overview of the equipment used in cotton research and development.
Arain showed varieties of cotton that are tested for fiber quality and seed development. All tested cotton fiber is processed and spun. Over 100,000 cotton samples are tested each year.
Presentations followed on the second day of the conference where agricultural business leaders and university officials and agency experts discussed different aspects of the industry. Rick Zartman, Ph.D. with the plant and soils science department at TTU presented a program on Playa Lake Recharge; Wind Erosion expert Ted Zobeck, researcher with the Agricultural Research Service and member of the society, presented information on field measurements of Wind Erosion and Jody James, warning coordination meteorologist from the National Weather Service provided information on weather patterns and tornados. Other programs presented at the seminar included Cotton Seed Processing from Oil to Meals from Pyco Industry in Lubbock, Providing Dehydrated Foods to Feed a Hungry World from the Innovative Humanitarian Effort through the Breedlove Dehydration Plant; Playa Festivals and Engaging Youth in Natural Resources Conservation presented by Ogallala Commons Director Darryl Birkenfeld.
During the awards luncheon, Broyles addressed the group and moderated the session as scholarships and awards were presented to high school and college students through the SWCS society. Andy Wilkinson with Southwest Collections/Special Collection Library was the noon speaker and provided entertainment during the meal.
The NRCS was one of several exhibitors during the conference and provided conservation handouts related to resources planning and farm bill program information.
The Texas Council of SWCS is planning to meet for the 46th annual conference during the National SWCS conference in Fort Worth in 2012. Part of the societyï¿½s mission serves as an advocate for conservation professionalsï¿½ and provides outreach and education to the public for soil and water conservation. Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a member and acquiring information for the Texas Council of Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society should visit the website at http://www.tx-swcs.org.
NRCS employees and member of SWCS got a chance to learn more about the High Plains region and be involved in the SWCS activities during the conference in Lubbock.
State SWCS members and guests visited the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute facility, part of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University.
Andy Wilkinson, Artist in Residence from TTUï¿½s Southwest Collections, was the noon speaker and performed at the awards luncheon.
One of the scholarships presented during the awards luncheon was the Ralph Schwartz Scholarship received by Larissa Davis, Albany High School.
State SWCS President Laura Broyles was moderator at the luncheon and was responsible for organizing an outstanding conference.
On one of the tour stops, members were provided the opportunity to experience a step back in time during a tour of the National Ranching Heritage Center, part of the Texas Tech University Campus.
Rick Zartman, Ph.D., professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University presented a program on Playa Lake Recharge during the conference.
Will Blackwell, NRCS district conservationist from Refugio assisted as moderator during the conference.