Pesticide applicator training programs set Nov. 29 and Dec. 4

– Private pesticide applicators will have the opportunity to earn five continuing education units at upcoming training session on either Nov. 29 or Dec. 4. Both training days will be conducted at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton.

Two of the continuing education units will be integrated pest management; 1 ½ in laws and regulations, and 1 ½ in general.

Though pesticide applicator program at the Overton Center is usually "standard fare" every year, new topics have been selected to meet the changing needs of agricultural producers, said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Texas Cooperative Extension fisheries and! wildlife specialist.

New topics this year will include information on carbon credits and forest management, weed and brush control in pastures, and what's legal and what's not in feral-hog control.

Higginbotham said some "tried-and-true" topics will also be on the program, including research updates on pasture and livestock management, and a review of laws and regulation relating to pesticide use.

Carbon credits may be the newest topic on the program, Higginbotham said. East Texas landowners are currently being contacted by brokers offering to– pay them for signing a contract not to harvest their timber until 2011. It's a legitimate business contract, said Dr. Eric Taylor, Extension forestry expert, but there are both pros and cons about entering a carbon credit contract which landowners need to be aware.

As the feral hog population grows in Texas – and concomitantly the damage they do to crops, pastures and home lawns – the more critical control of the animal is becoming, Higginbotham said.

Texas has an estimated 2! to 3 million feral hogs.

"That's a conservative estimate," Higginbotham said. "Some believe this estimate may be shy of the real number, but we have no means at this time to determine the statewide population."

Higginbotham noted that considering all the damage feral hogs do, however many there are in Texas, it's too many.

Although it's legal to hunt feral hogs year around, there are some things that are illegal, such as using as a feral hog intoxicant, he said.

Dr. Gerald Evers, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station forage management specialist, will discuss alternatives to commercial nitrogen fertilizer for pastures. With the price of commercial nitrogen fertilizer at an all-time high, Evers will discuss poultry litter, nitrogen-fixing crops such a legumes, and other alternatives to commercial nitrogen fertilizers.

Both training sessions will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Overton center's classroom. The presentations will begin at 8:30 a.! m. and end at about 2:15 p.m., with an hour break for lunch at noon.

Participants may attend both the Nov. 29 and Dec. 4 sessions and earn ten continuing education credits, Higginbotham said.

Registration for either training will be $25 per person and includes lunch and refreshments. Registration will be at the door only. To reduce costs to participants, no credit cards payment or telephone registrations will be taken this year, Higginbotham said. Payment may be made either by check, money order or cash.

License holders must either present a valid pesticide applicator's license or their Social Security number to receive credit for the training, Higginbotham noted.

The Overton center is located 1 mile from downtown Overton on State Highway 3053.

Coming from south of Overton, take State Highway 135 into town. At Overton's single red stoplight, take a left, go across the railroad tracks and turn right immediately after the Brookshire's grocery market. Look for ! the large white sign on the right side of the road identifying the Overton Center.

Coming from the north, take State Highway 3053 exit from U.S. Interstate 20. Look for signs and a row of glass-pane greenhouses approximately 8 miles south. Maps and more detailed driving instructions can be found on the Internet at .

For more information contact Higginbotham at 903-834-6191 or by e-mail: [email protected] .

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