Always a highlight of the annual Texas Plant Protection Association conference, the poster display, typically a double row of descriptions, images and analyses of on-going agricultural research takes up the center aisle from one end of the exhibit hall to the other.
All but a handful of the posters are Texas A&M graduate students (This year will include a poster from West Texas A&M.), who compete for cash prizes.
Dr. Clark Neely, Texas AgriLife Extension small grains and oilseed specialist, who serves as TPPA poster chairman, says 42 posters will be on display this year, 23 from PhD students and 13 competing in the Masters section. “This last group includes two undergrads,” Neely says, “since we do not have a BS level competition. This is the first year we have split the competition up into a PhD and an MS group.”
Six posters are from industry, staff, a county agent and a visiting scholar from Brazil.
Neely says students are encouraged to stand beside their posters to discuss their objectives and findings with visitors. “We don’t require it, since the conference occurs during finals, and many will be taking exams,” he says.
Student posters represent several departments, including soil and crop, plant pathology, and horticulture. “Topics range from crop production, weed and disease management, to genomics, biophysics, and remote sensing. Crops covered include corn, grain sorghum, cotton, wheat, barley, rice, onion, basil, soybean, tomato, peanut, forages, and cowpea.”
Cash awards are presented at the annual awards luncheon on the second day of the conference.
TPPA board member Dr. Ron Lacewell, TAMU professor and assistant vice chancellor for federal relations, says the poster displays offer students a unique opportunity to exhibit their research. “The experience is highly valuable for students who may stand at the poster and discuss what they did or what they are doing. It is an opportunity for building a professional vitae. To win is icing on the cake and has a cash award for top three places.”