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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.
Water, water, water
Water management remained a crucial topic as specialists discussed irrigation efficiency through subsurface drip and managing plants to affect water cycle.
Last year TPPA’s conference theme was Facing Ag’s Future and included presentations on Doing Business with Cuba, by Parr Rosson, Texas AgriLife economist. The conference also touched on information technology with presentations from Texas AgriLife media specialist Blair Fannin and Southwest Farm Press Editor Ron Smith discussing: “Ag Communications Now and in the Future.” Dr. John Siebert, Texas A&M professor, Ag Economics, commented on “Preparing the Next Generation of Ag Professionals.” Other topics included “Environmentally Responsible Solutions to Crop Protection Product Container Disposal.”
Travis Miller, professor, associate department head and Extension program leader, Department of Soils and Crop Sciences, TAMU, discussed “Opportunities for New Crops in Texas.” He commented on sunflower, sesame, canola, and castor. “Opportunities exist for diversifying Texas agriculture,” he said.
Michael Popp, Wharton County, Texas, farmer, offered a producer’s perspective on precision agriculture. “GPS, yield monitors, and variable rate applications are just a few of the tools being utilized on farms today to micro manage fields more efficiently, use limited resources to increase profits per acre,” Popp said.
Beginning in the early 1990s, the conference featured information and updates on the Boll Weevil Eradication Program (BWEP). See related story. Presenters followed the ups and down of a sometimes controversial but ultimately successful effort.
In recent conferences, representatives of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation have presented even more promising numbers showing that the boll weevil has either been eradicated or is no longer an economically viable pest except in a few areas in South Texas. The Lower Rio Grande Valley remains the most infested area as the program continues to push the pest back to where it first entered the country more than 100 years ago.
Over the last quarter of a century the annual TPPC has addressed the most crucial issues facing agriculture in Texas and across the nation. Knowledgeable scientists, key government officials and leading farmers have discussed new products, new programs and better ways to improve efficiency and profitability on farms. They’ve followed the progress of genetic engineering, global positioning system agriculture, and improvements in managing such persistent pests as aflatoxin, cotton root rot and boll weevils.
Participants have learned about new products from industry, new research initiatives from University experts and have been both enlightened and uplifted by speakers such as Dr. Norman Borlaug.
Twenty-five years is both a long stretch and a blink of an eye and TPPA leadership continues to attract the brightest and the best to take the organization forward and to find the next critical product, technique or puzzle piece to improve agricultural efficiency.
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