John Villalba, Swisher County agriculture Extension agent, has been named recipient of the Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) Extension Cotton Agent award for 2015.
PCG President Shawn Holladay presented Villalba the award during the recent PCG annual meeting in Lubbock, citing Villaba’s work with water and soil conservation as important contributions to educational programming for Swisher County agriculture.
“This focus on water utilization and efficiency was in-depth and timely, providing a variety of educational opportunities to local clientele,” Holladay said.
“John worked to plan, implement, market, promote and evaluate a series of educational events and activities for producers to become better educated in issues and emerging needs important to their economic success.”
Efforts included face-to-face meetings including workshops, field days, and conferences. “These programs were supported by timely newsletters, news articles, and radio programs with in-depth information on irrigation methods such as: water coefficients, ET network information, irrigation efficiency, crop water needs, pumping plant efficiencies, moisture retention, water quality, system comparisons, and irrigation scheduling.”
Villalba also conducted demonstrations comparing moisture retention in no till and strip till fields as well as demonstrating the effect of growth regulators on water use. Producer evaluations, developed at the conclusion of each presentation, measured the effectiveness of the programs, and 100 percent indicated an increased knowledge in soil and water topics.
In all, 79 producers representing 55,772 acres of cotton attended these programs. These producers determined they gained an $11.35 per acre economic benefit from Villalba’s programs. The benefits total approximately $633,221 dollars in savings.
Holladay says cotton production continues to be a very important and viable crop in Swisher County, and Villalba’s efforts are helping producers grow cotton more efficiently.