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Conservation Changes: Symposium Highlights Industry Improvements

story by Jaime Tankersley

Change is constant.

We all have a list of changes that have taken place around us since 2002, and that list is no shorter for the agriculture industry.

Over three hundred land managers, ranchers and industry professionals gathered in the Big Country Hall at the Taylor County Expo Center on April 25, 2013, to learn what has changed and improved in the fight against invasive brush and weeds in the last decade.

Over 300 land managers, ranchers and industry professionals attended the Texas Weed and Brush Symp.The Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)-Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) team partnered with Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Section Society for Range Management (TSSRM), and Angelo State University (ASU) to bring an all-star lineup of speakers for the first ever Texas Weed and Brush Symposium.

The theme, “What’s new since 2002?” showcased what advancements have been made in chemical research, new rangeland herbicides, drift management and application, Farm Bill programs, new web-based/smart phone technology, new acid-based formulations, prescribed burning, and biological control on undesirable brush species.

Texas Weed and Brush Symposium attendees spent the day learning of chemical management advancements.Dr. Cody Scott, ASU professor of animal science, was one of several that made up the planning committee that finalized event details and turned this educational event into the hands-on learning experience it became.

“In the last few years, there has been a substantial number of new products and technology developed for rangeland use,” Scott noted. “This symposium provided the venue to highlight new products, approaches and technology to enhance control of unwanted range plants.”

The partners that worked together to bring this event to life have one common goal at the end of the day: conservation.

“TSSRM and all the partners involved in hosting the event are committed to providing landowners with the up-to-date information to improve land management and profit potential from Texas rangelands.” Scott said.

Over twenty vendors flanked the seating area. Throughout the day attendees had the opportunity to discuss additional ranch needs such as: native seeds, fencing material, watering facilities, aerial application providers and chemical representatives. Most of the event sponsors had an informational booth set up to take advantage of one-on-one time with a potential new customer or eager-to-learn producers.

All Texas NRCS-GLCI staff was present to answer questions during the Texas Weed and Brush Symp.“Texas GLCI was excited to co-sponsor the event because they are tasked with providing grazing land technical assistance to ranchers across the state and promoting grazing land stewardship,” Jeff Goodwin, GLCI coordinator said. “Events like the 2013 Texas Weed and Brush Symposium provide opportunities for landowners to learn from industry professionals regarding new weed and brush management methods and technologies developed over the past few years. Staying informed on current technologies is critical to any successful business.”

As private landowners struggle with the continued drought and lack of water is as the forefront of almost all discussions, this educational opportunity offered a coalition of professionals eager to assist in rangeland management. Even though the companies and chemicals may change, conserving our natural resources is a constant.