Feb. 23, 2012
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples scheduled to speak
By Rod Santa Ana
Contact: Dr. John da Graca, 956-447-3360, john.daGraca@tamuk.edu
WESLACO – The Subtropical Plant Science Society will hold its annual meeting Feb. 29 at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Citrus Center, 312 N. International Blvd., Weslaco.
The society, formerly the Rio Grande Valley Horticultural Society, has invited Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples as keynote speaker, according to Dr. John da Graca, director of the citrus center.
“Commissioner Staples’ talk is titled ‘Border Security and Valley Agriculture,’ which is among the many issues of special interest to agricultural producers right now,” da Graca said.
Other speakers have been invited to address citrus greening, a serious disease of citrus recently confirmed in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, da Graca said.
“Citrus greening is one of the most serious diseases to affect trees worldwide, and it’s of special concern to us now,” he said. “We’ll have speakers from several citrus production areas of the country to discuss the implication of this disease on the future of Texas citrus production.”
Other speakers include John McClung, president of the Texas Produce Association, whose talk is titled, “The U.S./Mexico Produce Industry in Troubled Times,” da Graca said.
“Dr. Juan Landivar, director of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, will also be with us to discuss his center’s research programs,” he said.
A science poster competition has attracted students from several universities and colleges, he added.
“We’re expecting a good turnout,” da Graca said. “This is a pivotal time in agriculture here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and we’ve gone to great lengths to bring in knowledgeable speakers to address these pressing issues.”
Dr. K. Rod Summy, associate professor of biology at the University of Texas – Pan American and president of the Subtropical Plant Science Society, said all are welcome.
“We expect to have a very productive meeting this year, and we welcome anyone with an interest in agriculture or plant science to attend this meeting,” he said.
Admission is $15, which includes lunch. Registration starts at 7 a.m. Presentations begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at noon.
For more information, contact the center at 956-447-3360.