Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is the scheduled keynote speaker for this year’s Big Country Wheat Conference to be held Aug. 19 in Abeline.

The biennial conference is conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. This year it starts with registration at 7 a.m. in the Big Country Hall located on the grounds of the Taylor County Expo Center.

“Commissioner Staples is to give us some insight as to what producers can expect in the future in terms of production agriculture, pricing structure and legislation,” said Robert Pritz, AgriLife Extension agent in Taylor County. “There is a lot of uncertainty in agriculture that is tied directly to what the legislature does and how the new farm bill is interpreted. This conference is a good venue for producers to get some of their more pressing concerns addressed or, at the least, to give them a start of where to go to get more information.”

The event is the largest and most comprehensive educational wheat program in Texas, Pritz said. It regularly draws speakers and participants from across Texas and Oklahoma.

“We purposely schedule the conference just before planting so growers will have time to apply what they learn to this year’s crop,” Pritz said.

Topics will include the political climate for biofuels, a wheat-related farm bill update, 2009 price outlook, marketing, weed control, variety selection and grazing data, and a stocker-cattle decision tool.

Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units (two general and one integrated pest management) will be available for private pesticide applicator license holders.

The conference will be conducted by AgriLife Extension offices in Callahan, Fisher, Jones, Nolan, Runnels, Shackelford and Taylor counties.

Individual registration is free if completed by Aug. 15 and $20 thereafter.

For more information and to pre-register, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Taylor County at 325-672-6048, or another affiliated AgriLife Extension office.