Also of interest were presentations on “Feral Hog Damage to Crops and Farmland.” Gary McEwen, USDA Department of Animal Damage Control, said: “Feral hog damage to crops and farmland has been increasing in recent years. Controlling feral hog damage often requires the use of a variety of control methods.”

The 8th Conference in 1996 featured Freedom to Farm—New visions and Perspectives.  Richard Newman, deputy administrator, farm programs, USDA-FSA, explained the new farm law. “Freedom to Farm offers producers new opportunities, new choices, and new risks—all in one package. …with the government’s reduced role in the traditional commodity area, it also requires new ways of thinking about price and production risks.”

At the 10th annual conference in 1998— Plant Protection, Principles, Policies and Production—a John Deere representative discussed precision farming. “Yield mapping systems are widely available for grain crops, potatoes, and sugar beets, but are still largely in the experimental stage for cotton and forage harvesting. … (it is) important to collect data for multiple years before many crop management decisions are altered.”

Also the on the agenda was another update on aflatoxin by Tom Isakeit, plant pathology, Texas A&M. “Aflatoxin contamination was a significant problem in Texas during 1998 because drought conditions predisposed the developing seed to infection,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is no immediate solution to this problem, although the use of resistance, obtained through conventional breeding or biotechnology, appears to be a long-range solution.”

COTMAN for cotton defoliation timing and management of micronaire values was also discussed, along with weed control with “Staple/Roundup Ultra in Roundup Ready Cotton,” and ultra-narrow row cotton.

The 11th annual conference, 1999, ushered in the new millennium: Plant Protection: Contributions and Challenges in the New Millennium. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs opened the conference with an address on “The History and Future of Plant Protection.” Dale Mott, Texas Extension, did an “Evaluation of Bt and non-Bt corn hybrids for incidence of aflatoxin.” The upshot was, not much difference at that time.

Other speakers discussed the ongoing battle with fire ants, and Paul Baumann, Texas Extension weed specialist, discussed how computer technology helps with weed management decisions. “Cost and acceptance will determine its success,” he said.

Other issues for the 11th conference included drift reduction, second generation Bollgard, and protecting assets with crop insurance. Joe Outlaw said:  “…it is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of all available products to better protect your farm wealth.”