Edwards Plateau stewardship program set for April 23-25 in Kerrville

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Larry Redmon, 979-845-4826, l-redmon@tamu.edu
Dr. Rick Machen, 830-278-9151, r-machen@tamu.edu
Brad Roeder, 830-997-3452, BWRoeder@ag.tamu.edu
Roy Walston, 830-257-6568, rwalston@ag.tamu.edu

KERRVILLE – The first Bennett Trust Land Stewardship educational program, “Protecting the Legacy of the Edwards Plateau,” will be hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service April 23-25 in Kerrville.

The event at the Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center, 1001 Junction Highway, Kerrville, is designed to “bring the best and wisest, accomplished stewards, visionaries and legacy-leavers together as educators,” according to organizers.

Registration prior to March 23 will be $75, and $95 thereafter. Registration can be completed at https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/ or by going to http://bennetttrust.tamu.edu, selecting the “Events” tab and choosing either of two links on the page. A conference rate of $99 per night will be available at the Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center until March 23.

“This conference will offer landowners the opportunity to not only hear from and engage with an outstanding group of presenters, but choose sessions and tours that would be the most helpful to their operation,” said Todd Swift, AgriLife Extension regional program leader in Uvalde.

“This is a great opportunity to learn best management practices, regardless of enterprise, size of the property and knowledge level,” Swift said. “I think this program will offer something for every landowner. I am proud a program of this quality will be offered in the South Region.”

Co-planners Dr. Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage and Bennett Extension specialist in College Station, and Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist from Uvalde, said the first day will include discussions on recognition and management of encroaching plants, native tree health and care, water as wealth, and managing competition between wild and domestic herbivores.

Also, an April 23 workshop titled “Retaining Your Piece of Texas – Creating/Sustaining a Heritage” will address issues related to estate planning and elder law.

“We are blessed to work with landowners in the Edwards Plateau who understand the importance of caring for the land in ways it can be passed on to other generations,” said Roy Walston, AgriLife Extension agent in Kerr County. “Ranchers are always willing to lend a helping hand to others, and this program is no different. We are fortunate to have a great set of producers who are willing to share their stories on how they have accomplished their goals.”

On April 24, conference attendees can take one of three behind-the-scenes tours.

“Explore with us some of the agriculture-based businesses who have prospered on their Hill Country property while maintaining the charm and character of the land we love,” said Brad Roeder, AgriLife Extension agent in Gillespie County. “Whether you own 5 or 5,000 acres, become informed on how you can employ a vineyard, a wildlife operation, a traditional ranch or other ag-based venture to keep this a place we want to call home.”

Tour A, centered on natural resource stewardship, includes a visit to the historic Hillingdon Ranch in Kendall County, with a pasture walk and demonstration of various types of equipment used for brush management and how live oak wilt is combated.

Tour B visits sustainable vineyards, orchards and gardens in Fredericksburg and Gillespie County to provide a glimpse of essential elements for land stewardship success.

Tour C will highlight wildlife management and the hunting industry in the Edwards Plateau, featuring landowners with a reputation for being good stewards of their wildlife resources.

“Come join our tours to discover a type of progress that will hopefully create a lifestyle and heritage worth protecting,” Roeder said.

The final day of the event will feature insight on keeping a legacy alive by focusing on protection from wildfire and how to use prescribed fire to enhance both livestock and wildlife habitat, Redmon said. In addition, vendors and exhibitors will be available for participants to visit with throughout the event.

More information on the Bennett Trust, established through a posthumous endowment provided by Eskel and Ruth Bennett to AgriLife Extension, can be found at http://bennetttrust.tamu.edu/.

For more information regarding the upcoming event, contact Redmon at l-redmon@tamu.edu, Machen at r-machen@tamu.edu, Roeder at BWRoeder@ag.tamu.edu or Walston at rwalston@ag.tamu.edu.

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