The Corn Producers Association of Texas (CPAT) has scheduled their first annual meeting in conjunction with an educational session they are jointly hosting with Texas Corn Producers Board (TCPB). The meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 8, during the Corpus Christi Farm and Ranch show.

An “agricultural issues” breakfast, sponsored by TCPB, will kickoff the event at 7:30 a.m. at the Corpus Christi Bayfront Plaza Convention Center in rooms 220 and 221.

The program will begin at 8:15 with an introduction and welcome by TCPB's executive director, David Gibson. Following the welcome, the chief of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Bruce Knight, will deliver an update on the implementation of the conservation provisions of the farm bill.

“With the increase in funding for conservation programs, it is very important that producers are fully aware of all the programs that are available,” said CPAT chairman and Harlingen producer Carl Hensz. “Chief Knight has a solid understanding of issues concerning corn producers because prior to accepting his position with NRCS he was vice president of public policy for the National Corn Growers Association.”

Dr. Javier Betran, a Texas A&M University (TAMU) plant breeder, will follow Knight's presentation with an update on the progress of the corn breeding program at TAMU. Aflatoxin, drought and heat tolerance has been the primary emphasis of this program.

“TCPB has utilized the checkoff funds contributed by the state's corn growers to support this aggressive and advancing program,” TCPB research chairman, Gerald Donaldson, a Wharton corn grower, said. “We have seen the first releases from Dr. Betran's work this past year.”

Most of the lines that have been released are quality protein lines, but recently material with the potential to lower aflatoxin levels was released.

“Lines such as these will significantly benefit producers across Texas, especially in the south,” Donaldson said.

Research plant pathologist Dr. Peter Cotty, with the Agricultural Research Service, will also be present to report on the aflatoxin work he is doing in South Texas and Arizona. Cotty's work seeks to reduce the risk of aflatoxin contamination by reducing the aflatoxin-producing fungi through the application of atoxigenic strains of Aspergillus flavus.

“Crops with high aflatoxin content have a greatly reduced value,” Cotty said. “We are seeking methods that will reduce aflatoxin contamination. Our research is directed at both the causative fungi and the contamination process.”

Donaldson said Dr. Cotty's work and the breeding program of Dr. Betran “have the potential to provide a good system for Texas growers to manage their reoccurTring aflatoxin problems.”

Producers will also have the opportunity to hear legislative update for the upcoming state legislative session.

“This will be a very important session with all of the changes caused by redistricting and the potential deficit budget situation. Issues affecting agriculture will be highlighted during this discussion,” said Hensz.

The session will conclude at 11 a.m. with CPAT's first annual meeting. CPAT members are encouraged to attend this meeting and vote in their first director election.

Directors whose seats are up include Bert Williams, District 2 and Jean Davis, District 3. The at-large directors whose seats are up include Bart Thoreson, Gruver; Jimmy Wedel, Muleshoe; and Henry Keller, Castroville.

There will be one and a half continuing education units (CEU's) offered to those who attend this educational session. For more information contact CPAT or TCPB at 800-647-2676 or visit www.texascorn.org.