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One key to the success of the conference, organizers say, lies in the program, which includes abstracts of presentations for each of the 24 conferences. Reading through those abstracts offers a historical timeline of agricultural advancements over the past quarter century and also provides a list of Who’s Who in U.S. agriculture—or in some cases, who was who.
NEAL PRATT, forage specialist emeritus (retired) with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, right, chats with Dr. Alex Thomasson, Texas A&M AgriLife Research engineer, at a recent TPPA annual conference.
Herbicide resistance management was an issue even in 1990, and presenters discussed sulfonylurea products and resistance in prickly lettuce, Russian thistle and kochia. Insecticide resistance was also on the list along with the impact of imported fire ants, disease management in peanuts, Hessian fly in wheat, and Pix management in cotton.
Aflatoxin in corn was a significant concern. C. Wendell Horne, Texas A&M plant pathologist, reported that aflatoxin “was a major problem in corn during 1987 and 1988 due to …unrelenting drought conditions. The major problem encountered in aflatoxin detection and management has been sampling inconsistency.”
In rice, M.O. Way, Texas Extension entomologist, reported: “Rice is grown on about 300,000 acres across the Texas Gulf Coast.” That figure has changed significantly in 25 years with only about 100,000 acres left.
In December, 1990, the second conference offered information on genetically engineered cotton. The theme that year was, appropriately, Agricultural and Environmental Sustainability.
Jumping ahead five years, the 5th annual conference theme was Management Tools for a Brighter Future with discussions on food safety, effective communication as a management tool, worker protection standards for agricultural pesticides, endangered species, reduced tillage, boll weevil control, and insect resistance.
The agenda also included: “Status of Genetically-Engineered Cotton that Produces Insecticidal Proteins to Control Tobacco Budworm, Bollworm and Other Caterpillar Pests.” J.H. Benedict, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Corpus Christi, identified advantages, including: reducing conventional insecticide use, reducing environmental contamination and related costs to society and wildlife, increasing the useful life of synthetic toxins, increasing potential for biological control of pests and increasing farm profit.
Speakers also compared the merits of picker versus stripper harvest and discussed the use of a cotton stalk puller to help control boll weevils in cotton.