With declines in water tables and increases in fuel costs, pumping water is taking a larger share of agricultural production budgets, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service specialist.

Producers can attend the annual High Plains Irrigation Conference and Trade Show on Jan. 14 at the Amarillo Civic Center, 401 S. Buchanan St., to get the latest information needed to help them maximize the irrigation water they pump, said Nich Kenny, AgriLife Extension irrigation specialist.

The meeting and trade show will begin with registration at 8 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. with the distribution of continuing education units. The trade show, sponsored by Texas Agriculture Irrigation Association and featuring the latest technology will stay open until 4:30 p.m.

The first educational session will be a technical look at the Ogallala Aquifer. Dr. Judy Reeves, Cirrus Associates LLC hydrogeologist, will present the history. Dr. Ken Rainwater, Texas Tech University’s Water Resources Center director, and Dr. Kevin Mulligan, Center for Geospatial Technology director, will give updates on the current situation, and Dr. Robert Mace, Texas Water Development Board director of the groundwater resources, will discuss modeling the future.

The second session will look at issues impacting irrigation finances, with Kenny addressing pumping plant analysis and Dr. Steve Amosson, AgriLife Extension economist, talking about maximizing profits using limited water resources.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service scientists, Drs. Paul Colaizzi, Steve Evett and Susan O’Shaughnessy, will talk about remote sensing for water management, soil water management for irrigation and automation of sprinkler systems in the third session.

The final session will include two topics of regional interest: virus effects on crop water use by Jacob Price, Texas AgriLife Research associate researcher, and the impact of dairies in the Texas High Plains by Dr. Todd Bilby, AgriLife Extension dairy specialist in Stephenville.

This year’s conference is a part of the Irrigation Training Program, six programs being held around the state by the Texas Water Resources Institute to help farmers and others learn about efficient tools and techniques of irrigation management.

The Irrigation Training Program is a collaborative effort of the institute, AgriLife Extension, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Texas Water Development Board provides funding for the project through its Agricultural Water Conservation Grant program.

Two general continuing education units will be offered for pesticide applicators and five certified crop advisor credits will be given in soil and water management. The Irrigation Association has approved 4.5 continuing education units also.

A $15 registration fee will be charged at the door and will cover lunch. For more information, contact Kenny or Ronda Fisher at 806-677-5600.