Charlie Stenholm, former congressman for Texas’ 17th District, is scheduled to be the keynote luncheon speaker for this year’s Big Country Wheat Conference set for Aug. 5 in Abilene.

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

“Former Congressman Stenholm is a plain-spoken Democrat and a staunch production agriculture supporter,” said Robert Pritz, AgriLife Extension agent in Taylor County. “He is very well known in our area having served the 17th District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives for many years.”

Stenholm is currently a senior policy advisor for Olsson Frank Weeda, a Washington-based law firm.

“He’ll be speaking on policy as it relates to agriculture in the Big Country,” said Pritz.

“Dr. Allan Fritz, Wheat Breeder from Kansas State University, is another noted speaker we have scheduled,” Pritz said. “During the morning, he’ll be speaking on breeding wheat for quality and the role of biotechnology, and during the afternoon program he’ll speak on private and public wheat breeding collaborations.”

Pritz said the program is the largest educational event of its kind in Texas and regularly draws speakers and participants from Texas and Oklahoma.

The conference is set just prior to planting so growers have time to apply what they’ve learned to this year’s crop.

Other topics will include: world wheat outlook, wheat variety and disease summary, small-grain forage production, weed and wild oat control, insect control, risk management and a producer panel.

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 the AgriLife Extension offices in Callahan, Fisher, Jones, Nolan, Runnels, Shackelford and Taylor counties.

Individual registration is free if preregistered by Aug. 3 and $20 thereafter.

For more information and to preregister, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Taylor County at 325-672-6048, or any of the affiliated AgriLife Extension offices.