Extension Agent: South Texas Farm & Ranch Show offers pointers on improving your bottom line

Oct. 25, 2011 at 5:25 a.m.

By Joe Janak

The 27th South Texas Farm and Ranch Show starts Wednesday with great excitement.

Scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the Victoria Community Center, the show is full of exhibits, literally. As of Monday, all exhibit booths were full and we are beaming with excitement.

This shows the interest, dedication and commitment our exhibitors have in this nonprofit, volunteer organized show.

Luncheon tickets also are going quite fast. Although some were still available as of Monday afternoon, we anticipate large crowds so come early and purchase your ticket if there are any still available.

The lineup of speakers have generated a lot of interest as numerous people have commented they are coming to hear several presentations.

If you're reading this and had not planned on attending the show, you still have time to come and gain knowledge to increase your bottom line, your net worth. And that is what the show is about, providing the latest technology for farmers, ranchers and landowners to help them more effectively and efficiently produce the food and fiber that feeds and clothes the world.

Currently, the world population is 7 billion and expected to be 9 billion by 2050. To feed that many, estimates by many sources state we must double the current food supply, an astonishingly challenging feat that is going to take all efforts to accomplish. And an even more daunting task considering we are potentially going into a long-term drought.

It's the little steps we take that lead to bigger and better advances and greater productivity of a finite resource. Such as even the program scheduled for homeowners at the Farm Show. And yes, even farmers and ranchers are homeowners. Darrel McMaster, president of the Texas Hill Country based, Sustainable Homes, a national leader in building fully sustainable homes, will present the latest techniques he uses to build sustainable homes.

"Our homes are designed and built to make full use of what the environment has made available. These homes feature our highly efficient building methods, grid-tied photovoltaic systems, and rainwater harvesting for all domestic needs, making them 'net zero' homes, meaning that they rely on no outside sources," McMaster said. "We place a strong emphasis on producing high indoor air quality and creating the least amount of impact on the environment."

McMaster added that in the last two years, homes that have used all of his sustainable methods have had an average utility (sewer, water, gas, and electric) cost of $50 to $100 per month. These homes had a living area of between 2,817 and 3,658 square feet.

His latest addition is the use of a home energy generation system that is able to even charge an electric car for the family. He said, "Our mission is to give our clients personal accountability for the future costs of their utilities as well as a quality home they can enjoy for a lifetime." His presentation is at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

These are the types of programs presented at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show. There are more than 35 speakers and 40 topics presented in two days as well as more than 16 hours of TDA pesticide hours to choose from.

Take time to review the schedule and come on out and gain a little of knowledge on how you can improve your quality of life.

As one of our recent Extension mottos stated, through programs like this, we are "Improving the Lives of Texans."

For a complete schedule of programs, contact the Extension office or see the website: http://www.southtexasfarmandranchshow.com/.

Hope to see you at our 27th Anniversary Show. Admission is free to all show exhibits. A $5 charge per day allows you to attend one or all educational programs.

Joe Janak is a Victoria County extension agent.



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