About Me

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As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Native and Improved Pasture Seminar Set

The Extension Livestock and Range Committee in Williamson County has planned an excellent seminar for native range and improved grass producers in the area. There is not a single livestock producer that doesn’t want to be able to graze more animal units on their pastures without hurting long term forage growth. Knowing how to properly manage native rangeland or better utilizing improved pasture grasses is the goal of every livestock producer and this seminar will answer many the questions producers have. The goal of the committee is to answer producers questions like, should I plant range grasses or bermudagrass?, should I rotate my pastures and when?, what is the best grass to plant?, should I fertilize?, and more.

The Native and Improved Pasture Seminar is to be held Thursday, February 18 at the St. Cyril & Methodious Hall in Granger. Registration and Meal will start at 5:30 PM and the program at 6:00 PM. There will be two (2) General Pesticide CEU's offered. Speakers will include Dr. Bob Lyons on Native Pasture Management, Dr. Larry Redmon on Improved Pasture Management and Ron Leps on Pasture Management in Williamson County. Cost is $5 at the door and participants must preregister by email rwhitney@ag.tamu.edu or by phone 512/943-3300.

The program will begin with Dr. Robert Lyons, Extension Range Specialist - Uvalde, an expert in native range grasses and grazing systems. Dr. Lyons will discuss rangeland grazing systems, determining your forage base, protecting your forages from overgrazing, and newer selections of range grasses for seeding. Dr. Lyons will focus on properly managing the fragile ecosystem we have on our native ranges while increasing their productivity with livestock and wildlife management.

Following Dr. Lyons will be Dr. Larry Redmon, State Extension Forage Specialist - College Station. Dr. Redmon is an expert in improved forage production, specifically bermudagrasses. Dr. Redmon was formally at the Overton Research and Extension Center where he did work in bermudagrass variety evaluation, grazing management of improved forages, overseeding bermudagrass, and fertility and weed control of improved pastures. Dr. Redmon will focus on improved pasture programs that will help livestock producers improve quality and quantity to maximize livestock return. He will also discuss some brand new weed control options with preemerge chemicals.

Last on the program is Ron Leps, Retired Williamson County Extension Agent. Mr. Leps has extensive experience with managing pastures in this area and he will relate some of his experiences to producers. Ron will help producers know what works in the area but more importantly what doesn’t work.

Make plans to attend the Native and Improved Pasture Seminar, Thursday, February 18 at the Hall in Granger. Sponsors are Williamson County Grain Inc. in Taylor, Dow AgroSciences, BASF Crop Protection, and Capital Farm Credit in Taylor.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Feral Hog Seminar Offered January 14

There is probably no animal in Texas that has had more publicity than the Feral Hog. Certainly in this area of Texas it has been the year for problems with all wildlife and feral hogs top the list. This animal has wrecked havoc with farmers and ranchers for years but as they have grown in numbers they have moved into neighborhoods and are now the newest “bad boy” on the block. Most people just want them gone but that is not possible. Management is the only choice and that begins with an understanding of this very adaptable creature.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service of Williamson County and the Little River-San Gabriel Soil and Water Conservation District will sponsor a Feral Hog Management Seminar, Thursday, January 14, 2010 at the St. Cyril & Methodious Hall in Granger, Texas. Registration is $5 per person and includes an evening meal and program handouts. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the program beginning at 6 p.m. Program topics include feral hog biology and population dynamics, laws and regulations for hunting feral hogs, agricultural regulations for feral hogs, methods of controlling hogs including trapping, use of dogs and loading feral hogs. 2 hours of CEU credits will be offered (1.0 in Laws & Regulations and one in General) to private, commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators.
Speakers include Dr. Jim Cathey, Extension Wildlife Specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Jacob Hetzel, Wildlife Biologist with Texas Wildlife Services.
To get a proper meal count you must preregister by calling the Little River-San Gabriel Soil and Water Conservation District office at 254-527-3271.

Vegetable and Fruit Growers Shortcourse Set for January 21

South Central Texas vegetable and fruit growers won’t want to miss the upcoming Vegetable and Fruit Growers Shortcourse sponsored by Texas AgriLife Extension Service set for January 21 at the Taylor City Hall Building in Taylor, Texas. South Central Texas is home to many different kinds of fresh fruit and vegetable growers from very small, backyard types to large scale shipper-growers but all are interested in the latest and best technology possible. The Shortcourse will feature the three most well known vegetable and fruit Extension specialists in Texas and the Southwest. There will be lots of new technology and resources with time for idea sharing among specialists and growers. The Shortcourse registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 9:00 a.m. and continuing through 2:30 p.m. It will include lunch and educational materials and two continuing education credits in general for licensed private, non-commercial and commercial applicators. Cost of the program is $10 per person.
The first speaker for the Shortcourse will be Dr. Larry Stein, Extension Horticulturalist in Uvalde. Dr. Stein has responsibility for all horticulture crops in the south part of Texas and is a recognized expert in many areas of vegetable crops. He will address nutrient requirements of vegetable crops and vegetable irrigation in his talk.
Next on the agenda is Dr. Joe Masabni, Extension Vegetable Specialist at College Station. Dr. Masabni travels across the state doing research in vegetable crops and giving programs in vegetable production. Dr. Masabni specializes in weed control including use of mulches, both organic and plastics and will address this critical area in vegetable production.
After lunch the program will shift to fruit production with Jim Kamas. Mr. Kamas is the regional Extension fruit specialist with a particular interest in grapes. He is based in Fredericksburg but travels throughout the state to talk about fruit production. Jim will discuss the crops adapted to this area, requirements for growing them and potential for any new crops.
To reserve a seat at the Vegetable and Fruit Growers Shortcourse call the Williamson County Extension Office at 512/943-3300 or email rwhitney@ag.tamu.edu.