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Extension Agent: Does agriculture really matter?

By Victoria Advocate
Oct. 26, 2010 at 5:26 a.m.

Joe Janak

By Joe D. Janak, Jr.

With the opening of the 26th South Texas Farm and Ranch Show here in Victoria today and held through tomorrow, I'm wondering . does agriculture really matter to the average person in Victoria? We know it is on the minds daily for the thousands of farmers and ranchers as they try to produce the high-quality food and fiber for us.

It's all they can do to stay up with the latest technology. And the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show - with educational programs starting at 7 a.m. both days and more than 125 exhibits on display - sets the stage for an opportunity of a lifetime. It is an opportunity to garner the best of the best and remain competitive in the agricultural business providing a wholesome and profitable venture for a lifetime.

The Victoria Advocate did a superb job this past Sunday highlighting most of the programs, topics and speakers, and if you missed it, I'd recommend you go and find the special pull-out section on the show. It's really a great lineup of programs, so plan on coming out today and tomorrow. It's at the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St., open till 7 p.m. today and 5 p.m. tomorrow.

But as mentioned, does agriculture really matter to the average person not growing or producing an ag commodity such as beef, corn, cotton or pork? I would hope so, but unfortunately we all get into our own busy world, and unless there is a real crisis, I'm not so sure it does really matter to everyone. It is the same with elections of our local, state and national officials. And with the current economic crisis this country is in, more are now starting to pay attention to elections.

The same with agriculture. Reading from the latest Farm Industry News, it just had a report on the "20 Things You Need To Know Now." Here are a few of them: "Organic food production cannot feed the world; biotech traits have lowered pesticide use on corn and soybeans; tractor engine power will reach a ceiling at 700 horsepower; tractor exhaust will be cleaner than air in 2014; raising corn is more of a gamble than playing blackjack; the Amazon rainforest is not being cut down for soybean production; livestock farmers are losing control of their animals; and small farms are not necessarily the most environmentally friendly option."

How fitting and appropriate were these for our noon luncheon speaker today at the show. Betty Wolanyk's "Speaking Out for Ag" topic today talks about some of these truths and myths about agriculture and how we all must be spokesman for ag. It doesn't matter if it's to civic groups or to your second cousin, it's time we all speak up for agriculture before we are voted or legislated out of ag production. And when that happens, agriculture will matter, as our high-quality food and fiber start to either disappear or become too expensive to purchase.

Take time to become informed, be the most educated in your field, and come support our exhibitors who support our farms and ranchers. Program wise, we're offering 14 hours of TDA pesticide CEUs and training with five hours in laws and regulations, six in IPM and/or three in general.

Additionally, for anyone but especially crop producers, crop advisers, consultants and fertilizer specialists, 19.5 certified crop advisory hours (CCA's) are offered; five-and-a-half in pests, 12 in crops, one in water and one in professional development.

Don't miss these opportunities. See our website www.southtexasfarmandranchshow.com for a complete schedule and list of exhibitors.

See you at the show.

Joe Janak is a Victoria County extension agent.

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