WACO - Tips on feral hog control and management, plus an update on the national animal identification system, will be offered at the 44th Blackland Income Growth Conference.

The conference is scheduled for Jan. 17-18 at the Waco Convention Center.

Programs on grain, horticulture, beef, cotton, forage, wildlife and equine will be featured.

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

"We're zeroing in on some important topics that will be of interest to everyone," Parker said. "Our goal each year is to bring in the most knowledgeable speakers available who can offer farmers and ranchers the best ideas to enhance agricultural production in this region."

Jan. 17 sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Registration for these sessions is $12 per person for the entire day, which includes lunch.

Jan. 17 sessions will provide the opportunity for participants to earn Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units and certified crop advisor credits.

Doc Blakely, humorist, musician and book author, is the scheduled luncheon speaker that day.

Blakely, a rancher from Wharton, has been on the professional speaking circuit for 30 years, entertaining many audiences from the rancher to the businessperson. He writes a weekly column, "Pokin' Fun," which is published in agricultural magazines and has authored several books.

Jan. 18 sessions will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and include workshops on pesticide license re-certification, private applicator training and testing, and a day-long rural economic opportunities workshop. Registration rates vary for these workshops.

Download the conference brochure at

http://stephenville.tamu.edu/BIG/index.html to see specific registration, continuing education unit allocations, as well as complete information on session topics and speakers for both days.<