The first Red River Crops Conference, addressing issues specific to southwest Oklahoma and the Texas Rolling Plains, is scheduled Jan. 28-29 in Altus, Okla. The two-day conference will be held at the Southwest Technology Center, 711 W. Tamarack.

Randy Boman, research director and cotton Extension program leader at the Oklahoma State University Southwest Research and Extension Center in Altus, says the joint effort will be similar to the popular Cattle Trails Wheat and Stocker Conference, another joint program between Texas and Oklahoma.

Boman says the conference is “specifically tailored to agricultural producers in north Texas and southwest Oklahoma.  The Red River Crop Conference brings together Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and OSU - Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.  The conference has been planned and will be executed as a joint effort of Extension personnel with both institutions.”

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The crop conference will rotate between Altus, Oklahoma, and Childress, Texas.  “Due to the complexity of agricultural production in the area, it was decided to have a full meeting day focusing exclusively on cotton (January 28) and another day to provide programming for other crops including wheat, canola, guar, sesame, pastures, etc. (January 29).   

“This is a new concept for Extension programming in our region,” Boman says.

The region’s vast and varied agricultural interest make the conference an important opportunity for farmers and ranchers.

“This region offers high agricultural potential when all of the conditions align,” Boman says. “The cattle industry relies upon pastures of both introduced grass and native species.  Crop mixes include but are not limited to cotton, wheat, and grain and forage sorghum. 

“If we look at historical cotton in the area, on both sides of the Red River, acreage is around 500,000. This means that cotton can have a tremendous impact on our local economy.  The drought has been a real challenge for dryland and a lot of irrigated acreage for the last three years.  However, we do have some growers who produced record yields in 2013.  In fact, we probably have a record number of producers who made 4 bales per acre or more for the first time.  This is remarkable in light of the drought issues.” 

Other crops also will be featured, including canola, guar, and sesame, all of which can be cultivated successfully within this environment.  “The goal of the Red River Crops Conference is to provide agricultural producers with relevant management information applicable to this production area that will create and enhance the profitability of farm and ranch enterprises,” Boman said.

U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, is scheduled to speak at the inaugural conference.

A $25 fee covers both days. To register, print the form from http://agrisk.tamu.edu/. Make checks payable to the Jackson County OSU Extension Office and mail to 2801 N. Main, Suite A, Altus, OK. 73521.

For more information, contact a local Extension office in either Texas or Oklahoma, or call 580-482-0823.