Extension Agent: Agriculture community must endure nature's peril
By By Peter J. McGuill
Oct. 15, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.
South Texas agricultural producers are well aware of the hardships that nature deals to the farming and ranching community. The droughts of recent years has served as a reminder to our area agriculturalists that there is only so much that we can do during these dire times.
Our fellow ranchers in South Dakota are currently dealing with a weather extreme of their own. Untimely and unexpected blizzard conditions, which followed heavy rainfall, created a perfect storm of a disaster of great proportions resulting in the death of thousands of head of cows, calves, horses and other livestock.
Reports are beginning to trickle in with estimates of livestock losses, but it will be months before relatively accurate figures can be recorded. Some ranchers have reported that they have lost more than half of their cows and calves in this tragic event, which will no doubt affect their economic well-being for years to come.
Closer to home, the weather seems to have finally turned in our favor. Rains received over the weekend were more general across the area than we have seen in some time.
This much-needed moisture could give our warm season grasses one last chance to provide livestock with much-needed forage before going dormant for the winter months. Winter pastures that were planted will also greatly benefit from these rains and get started on the right foot.
The availability and sustainability of our finite water resources have been the subject of much concern and debate as a result of the recent drought that has gripped most of Texas for the past few years.
In an effort to provide education and information relating to water conservation and utilization, this year's South Texas Farm and Ranch Show educational programs will have a significant water focus.
Water sessions in the show include: "Farm Pond Management," "Maintaining Water Quality and Quantity," "Rainwater Harvesting" and "Hydraulic Fracturing - Hype or Health Hazard?"
A total of 13 Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered for pesticide applicators. Fourteen units for Certified Crop Advisors and four and one-half Beef Quality Assurance Credits will also be available Oct. 23-24 during the 29th South Texas Farm and Ranch Show at the Victoria Community Center.
More information on the educational program schedule of events can be found at southtexasfarmandranchshow.com or by calling the Victoria County Office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 361-575-4581.
Peter J. McGuill is the Victoria County extension agent - ag and natural resources. Contact him at 361-575-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.