The question is not if those involved in animal waste management can afford to attend the upcoming conference. It's whether they can afford not to, said Dr. Saqib Mukhtar, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agricultural engineer.

It's been 10 years since the last manure management conference, Mukhtar said. Since that time there have been major advances in technology to help manage animal manure and process generated wastewater. There have also been considerable changes in state and federal regulations governing concentrated animal feeding operations and the manure they produce.

Set Sept. 29-30 at the Austin Marriott North in Round Rock, registration for the two-day event is $75 until Aug. 1 and $125 there after, he said.

"This conference is an excellent opportunity for participants to learn about new advances in animal manure and animal mortality management," Mukhtar said. "They will also have face-to-face interaction with engineers, scientists, regulators and producers and discuss future environmental challenges faced by Texas animal agriculture."

Also, speakers will address the new technologies being examined that hold promise in producing energy from manure.

"We have lots of energy in animal manure besides its fertilizer potential," he said. "(But the question is) can we gasify manure to generate power efficiently?"

Other issues discussed will include odor management, measurement and mitigation of gaseous and particulate matter (dust) emissions and proposed EPA rules requiring confined animal feeding operations to monitor greenhouse gases.

"We have a couple of speakers who will address environmental issues," he said. "(Such as) what are some of the regulations in the context of keeping our environment clean and what is expected of animal feeding operations."

The conference will also address some of the public perceptions that need be addressed by the animal feeding industry, he said.

"I look forward to a productive discussion on these issues," Mukhtar said.

Regularly updated detailed conference programming can be found online at http://grovesite.com/tamu/tammi.

Texas nutrient management specialists may earn 8.75 continuing education units. Managers of concentrated animal feeding operations may earn nine Dairy Outreach Program Area credits. And professional engineers may earn one hour of ethics training and eight professional development hours.

Participants may register online at http://www.peopleware.net/1542b. Participants may also register by mail or fax by contacting Kay Sanders, Conference Services, 1232 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-1232. Contact Sanders at 979-845-7684 or k-sanders@tamu.edu.

A block of rooms at the Marriott have been reserved for the conference at $85 per night. Reservations can be made by phone, 512-733-6767, or on the Internet at http://marriott.com/hotels/travel/ausno?. The group code is tmmtmma. The cutoff date to register at the group rate is Sept. 7.

Participants may also contact Mukhtar for more information at 979-458-1019 or mukhtar@tamu.edu.

"At the same time we address these issues, we have to keep in mind that we want to maintain a thriving livestock and poultry production industry," he said.