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Richardson addresses farmers and ranchers at Wheat Symposium

By Quenna Terry, Public Affairs Specialist, Lubbock

Darren Richardson, NRCS assistant state conservationist for field operations in the High Plains region, and current acting state conservationist, made a recent stop in Amarillo to speak at the Annual Texas Wheat Symposium during the 2019 Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show.

Richardson’s NRCS update to producers and agricultural leaders recapped the conservation accomplishments in the new 2018 Farm Bill and provided an overview for some of the conservation opportunities to come in 2020.

Richardson complimented Texas farmers and ranchers for their efforts saying, Texas landowners are voluntarily helping protect and improve natural resources through the implementation of a wide range of conservation throughout the state.

“In 2019, more than $100 million was invested for 2.7 million acres of applied conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program,” Richardson said.  “Making it an especially productive conservation year.”

This year the symposium examined a variety of issues that impact producers and the agribusiness sector. Featured topics this year included the 2018 farm bill and agricultural policy.

Keynote speaker Ray Starling, former chief of staff to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Special Advisor to the President on Agriculture and Agricultural Trade addressed some of the challenges of economic impacts for agriculture in the coming year, and how U.S. agriculture may be affected through continuing trade negotiations.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce and Texas State Executive Director Gary Six presented national and state highlights of FSA program updates and changes for producers in 2020.

Additional speakers at the symposium included Texas A&M Agricultural and Food Policy Center Co-Director Joe Outlaw and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Economist Justin Benavidez.

"This is a great opportunity to hear a diverse group of speakers addressing key issues affecting the agricultural industry," Richardson said.

The Annual Commodity Symposium, in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show, is produced and hosted by the Texas Wheat Producers Association.  The Ag Appreciation Luncheon is also hosted by the Texas Wheat Producers Association and Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Ag Council.

The Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show had an estimated 30,000 in attendance.  NRCS exhibited in the heritage room showcasing the features of online apps and the state NRCS website, including, the most up-to-date conservation planning features to assist farmers and ranchers in their efforts to apply for conservation plans and programs.

Richardson addresses farmers and ranchers at Wheat, By Quenna Terry, USDA-NRCS public affairs specialist, (2019, Dec)