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Extension Agent: Start the new year on the right foot

By By Peter J. McGuill
Jan. 7, 2014 at midnight
Updated Jan. 6, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.

Peter McGuill

The new year is here; an opportunity for a fresh start. In the farming and ranching industry, this time of year makes us think about what is to come and how we can best prepare to deal with the inevitable.

What is 2014 going to bring us? Are we going to finally have good moisture conditions to make a fair crop and enough grass in the pasture for our livestock? Are commodity prices going to be at a level that my enterprise will be profitable after I pay for fuel, fertilizer, seed, feed and all of the other numerous expenses required to bring my product to market?

I'm not sure that anyone can answer these questions with a high level of confidence, certainly not me. The only advice that I can offer is to be prepared, put yourself in a position to capitalize on opportunities when they are presented and keep the wheels turning.

Crop farmers, unlike cattle producers, have the chance to reset each year and completely start over. I recommend that you don't take this opportunity lightly. Take time to reflect on the successes and failures of the past and use that, along with scientifically sound research data and information, to help you prepare to make decisions for the upcoming growing season.

Much of this information can be found at croptesting.tamu.edu.

Hybrid and variety data for research tests conducted throughout the state over the past several years can be accessed that serve as valuable tools to help make these important production decisions.

Upcoming agricultural educational programs

There are several opportunities to attend agricultural educational programs this month.

Each of these events will offer continuing education credits for Texas Department of Agriculture licensed private, commercial and noncommercial pesticide applicators.

Western Rice Belt Production Conference - Jan. 15, El Campo Civic Center

Texas Gulf Coast Grain Handler's Conference - Jan. 16, El Campo Civic Center

Matagorda County CEU Workshop - Jan. 17, Matagorda County Fairgrounds

Upper Coast Feed Grain and Cotton Conference - Jan. 23, Wharton County Fairgrounds

Wharton County CEU Workshop - Jan. 30, Wharton County Fairgrounds

Victoria County CEU Workshop - Jan. 31, Victoria County Master Gardeners Pavilion

For more information on these events, call the Victoria County office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at 361-575-4581.

Peter J. McGuill is the Victoria County extension agent - ag and natural resources. Contact him at 361-575-4581 or pjmcguill@ag.tamu.edu.

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