Wind energy and its effects on wildlife will be the focus of a conference in Abilene Oct. 25-26 at the Big Country Hall at 1982 Lytle Way.

The conference is being sponsored by Texas Cooperative Extension and the Texas Wildlife Association.

"Wind energy is one of the fastest growing businesses in West Texas," said Gary Bomar, Extension agent for Taylor County.

"Our goal with this program is to create a forum for addressing the myriad of issues associated with this new industry and to explore the economic and ecological implications landowners may face. This program is a must for anyone contemplating a wind farm on their property."

The Oct. 25 program starts at 9:30 a.m., and includes talks on the past, present and future of wind energy, and its known and unknown effects on wildlife and wildlife habitat.

State Rep. Susan King of Abilene will be the keynote speaker. Along with the topic of wind energy production pros and cons, the afternoon program will include a panel discussion of landowner perspectives.

The Oct. 26 program will begin at 7:30 a.m. At that time, participants will meet at the hall for coffee and to caravan to the Galbraith Family Ranch for a field tour of a wind turbine site. The tour will include a discussion of how wind energy production effects cattle, hunting and daily life on the ranch.

The conference will conclude with lunch at the ranch.

Individual pre-registration is $50 before Sept. 15 and $75 thereafter. Those registering after Oct. 20 are asked to register at the door.

For more information and to register call Helen Holdsworth at 1-800-TEX-WILD or e-mail her at h_holdsworth@texaswildlife.org. For sponsorship and booth information contact Bomar at 325-672-6048 or g-bomar@tamu.edu.

e-mail-s-byrns@tamu.edu