Soil and Irrigation Conservation Workshop slated Aug. 24 in Weslaco

WESLACO – Agricultural producers throughout the Rio Grande Valley are invited to spend half a day with experts on new technologies in soil and water management, funding opportunities and financial technical support for farming operations, organizers said.

The Soil Health and Irrigation Conservation Workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco.

The center is located at 2401 E. U.S. Highway 83 in Weslaco. Breakfast and registration begin at 8 a.m. and speakers begin at 8:30 a.m.

Dr. Juan Enciso, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research irrigation engineer and organizer of the upcoming Soil Health and Irrigation Conservation Workshop Aug. 24, adjusts tractor-mounted soil sensors. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

Dr. Juan Enciso, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research irrigation engineer and organizer of the upcoming Soil Health and Irrigation Conservation Workshop Aug. 24, adjusts tractor-mounted soil sensors. (AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana)

“The objective of this educational event is to present research-based information to growers on new technologies that we are already using and others we will soon be using to help growers better manage their soil and water resources,” said Dr. Juan Enciso, the Texas A&M AgriLife Research irrigation engineer in Weslaco.

Enciso said weather stations that calculate heat and chilling units, among other parameters, provide data to an online site that growers can use to better schedule irrigations on a variety of crops, including sugarcane, citrus, corn, cotton, onions and watermelons.

The site can be found at http://southtexasweather.tamu.edu .

“The website also provides historical weather data that one can download,” he said. “This can be especially useful in making a variety of decisions, especially when and how much to irrigate, depending on assorted conditions.”

Enciso said another application will soon be added to the system to calculate water requirements for turf irrigation in urban areas.

“While we’re anxious to share the information we’ve developed and invite growers to use our internet site, we also need grower input and feedback about our programs,” he said. “They are the end-users and their experiences and opinions are very important in improving our assistance to them.”

Speakers and topics include:

—  Rolando Zamora, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Willacy County, Raymondville, welcome and moderator.

—  Enciso, Victor Gutierrez, AgriLife Extension Texas Water Resources Institute, Weslaco, Internet Weather-Based Tools for Irrigation Management.

—  James Henderson, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service agronomist, Corpus Christi, Soil Health for Maximum Productivity.

—  Ray Hinojosa, USDA NRCS district conservationist, Harlingen, USDA-NRCS Programs.

—  Dr. Ismael E. Badillo-Vargas, AgriLife Research insect vector entomologist, Weslaco, Concepts in Integrated Pest Management.

—  Dr. Enrique Perez, AgriLife Extension county agent for Cameron County, Nutrient Management.

—  Chris Perez, USDA-Farm Service Agency county executive director, Harlingen, USDA-Farm Service Agency, Commodity Program.

—  Ricardo Chapa, Texas State Soil, Water Conservation Board regional manager, McAllen, Texas State Soil and Conservation Board.

—  Arnulfo Lerma, USDA-FSA farm loan manager, McAllen, USDA-Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, Farm Loan Programs.

—  Vidal Saenz, Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension agent, Edinburg, Technical Assistance with FSA Farm Loan Applications.

Enciso said two Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be available.

For more information, contact your county AgriLife Extension office. In Hidalgo County, call Saenz at 956-383-1026; in Cameron County, call Perez at 956-361-8236; or in Willacy County, contact Zamora at 956-689-2412.

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