Blackland Income Growth Conference scheduled Feb. 2–3

The effects of the renewable energy industry on agricultural producers will be one of several featured topics at the 47th Blackland Income Growth Conference Feb. 2-3 at the Heart of Texas Fair Complex in Waco.

Conference sponsors are the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Waco Chamber Commerce.

This year's location change is due to the renovations being conducted at the Waco Convention Center, according to organizers.

On Feb. 3, Don Montgomery of Luminant Energy and Barry Sterling of Skydrill Power Systems will provide an overview of the energy climate in Texas and an in-depth look at alternative energy options with applications for agricultural producers and large landowners.

Other conference topics will include fertilizer efficiency in relation to grain and cotton production costs; comprehensive vegetable gardening; legume and clover options for improved pastures; native grass blends and small acreage wildlife management.

The Family Issues Summit will feature feeding the family on a budget, cooking on a budget, and “Managing the Medicare Mania”, as well as other topics.

The annual B.I.G. Conference is one of the most extensive agricultural production conferences of the year, said Rebecca Parker, AgriLife Extension regional program director for agriculture and natural resources.

“We’ve identified several important topics that will be of interest to everyone during these rough financial times,” Parker said. “Our goal each year is to bring in the most knowledgeable speakers available who can offer homeowners, landowners, farmers and ranchers the best ideas to enhance production in this region.”

Grant Teaff, former head football coach at Baylor University and executive director of the American Coaches Association, will serve as luncheon speaker on Feb. 2. Teaff is known for his inspirational speeches re-enforcing family values and leadership skills.

There will be the presentation of 10 scholarships to Blackland high school seniors during the luncheon, Parker said.

Registration for the Feb. 2 sessions will be $15 per person for the entire day. Lunch is included.

Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units, Beef Quality Assurance and Certified Crop Advisor credits will be offered for those registered.

Producers are encouraged to download the brochure at to see specific CEU allocations and sessions for Feb. 2 - 3, Parker said.


The following is a list of concurrent sessions scheduled Feb. 2-3 as part of the 47th Blackland Income Growth Conference at the Heart of Texas Fair Complex in Waco:

Feb. 2:

* 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.: The Family Issues Summit; pre-registration is $15 and includes lunch. Mail pre-registration to Colleen Longbotham, P.O. Box 191, Groesbeck, Texas, 76642, by Jan. 23. Make checks payable to: Family Issues Summit. Participants may also register at the door for a $20 fee.

* 9 a.m. – noon: Grain session topics include fertilizer efficiency, benefits of different cropping systems, and risk management.

* 9 a.m. – noon: Horticulture topics include comprehensive vegetable gardening presented by Tom LeRoy.

* 9 a.m. – noon: Beef topics include legume and clover options for improved pastures, managing costs of the cow herd and a marketing price outlook.

* 2-4:30 p.m.: Cotton topics include fertilizer timing and placement, cotton varieties, cotton prices in relation to grain prices and a boll weevil eradication program update.

* 2-4:30 p.m.: Forage topics include insurance and other tools for rangeland producers, establishing and managing seeded Bermuda grass varieties, soil fertility issues in the Blackland, establishment and management of improved pastures, and alternative native grass blends for forage.

* 2-4:30 p.m.: Wildlife topics include simple techniques for managing wildlife and their habitat on small acreages, as well as white-tailed deer management essentials for every ranch.

A meeting of the Blackland Cotton and Grain Producers Association at 1:30 p.m. is also scheduled.

Concurrent sessions scheduled for Feb. 3 are:

* 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.: A pesticide license re-certification training workshop will be offered for $30. Topics include on-farm environmental and economic impacts of poultry litter and dairy compost fertilizer; armyworm and grasshopper control in pastures; managing pesticide use to protect water quality; weed and brush identification and control, and pesticide laws and regulations. This workshop is appropriate for Texas Department of Agriculture license holders needing to acquire continuing education units to renew their license. There will be five continuing education units offered (one land and resource, one integrated pest management and three general). Call 254-757-5180 to register (McLennan County AgriLife Extension Office - Master Gardeners.)

* 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.: A private applicator training and testing workshop for landowners wanting a TDA applicator license for their own land will be offered. Registration is $50 and includes lunch. Information is available from the AgriLife Extension office in Coryell County at 254-865-2414. Registration can be mailed to: Lyle Zoeller, Box 129, Gatesville, Texas 76528.

* 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.: A New Era for Food Course will feature discussion on the recent changes in the economy and the implications it has for overall food security. Topics will include seeking relief for families, businesses, and the national economy; food marketing; opportunities in community-supported agriculture in central Texas; the Texas farm-to-school program; and advertising and branding for the organic and local consumer. Pre-registration for this course is $12 and $20 at the door. Registration includes materials and lunch. Call 254-968-1984 for registration information, or mail by Jan. 27 to Beth Underwood, Box T-0040, Stephenville, Texas 76402.

* 3–5p.m.: Renewable Energy Session. The free session will provide an overview of the “Energy Climate in Texas” and detail alternative energy options available. Experts will be on hand to answer energy related questions from those attending in this new field.

For a complete brochure with program sessions and speakers, visit

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