Productivity threats to dominate 65th horticulture society meeting Feb. 15

WESLACO  –  The 65th annual meeting of the Subtropical Plant Science Society will be held Feb. 15 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, Hoblitzelle Auditorium, 2401 E. Business Highway 83. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m.; the program begins at 8:30 a.m.

Threats to agricultural production will be the focus of the upcoming horticultural society meeting in Weslaco. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

Threats to agricultural production will be the focus of the upcoming horticultural society meeting in Weslaco. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

The fee is $35 payable at registration. The student fee is $15.

Dr. John Goolsby, a research entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cattle fever tick research laboratory in Mission and president of the society, said the program will focus on the future of agriculture in South Texas.

“At this point the most critical issue facing agriculture in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is the lack of water,” he said. “So, we’ve invited Erasmo Yarrito Jr., the area’s watermaster, to give us an idea of what lies ahead for us. What do the numbers at the reservoirs mean? What is he hearing from meteorologists?”

Other possible future threats to subtropical agriculture will also be discussed, Goolsby said.

“There’s been a worldwide study done of what insects or diseases could hit this area in the future. We’ll be discussing that and how we might prepare for such events. We’ll also have a couple of talks on citrus greening and what the future is for battling this disease. And, of course, we’ll have our annual business meeting to discuss the society’s name change proposal, election of officers and the winner of this year’s Arthur T. Potts Award for the person who most contributed to Lower Rio Grande Valley agriculture in the past year.”

Topics and speakers will include: “Review of Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threat (SWOT) Analysis of Risks to Texas Horticulture,” Dr. Bill McCutcheon, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station; “Coping with Citrus Greening,” Tim Gast, Southern Gardens Citrus, Clewiston, Fla.; “Update on GMO Citrus Varieties and Field Testing,” Dr. Erik Mirkov, AgriLife Research, Weslaco; and “Update on Drought and Water Allotments in the Lower Rio Grande Valley,” Yarrito.

The program after lunch, beginning at 1:30, will include presentations on research being conducted by students working on undergraduate and graduate degrees, Goolsby said.

For more information, contact Goolsby at 956-373-3223 or email john.goolsby@ars.usda.gov.

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