Story and photos by Beth Ann Luedeker
Texas AgriLife Extension, NRCS and producers from the Blacklands region came together September 8 at Oscar Store southeast of Temple to discuss conservation tillage practices and to open the door for more on-farm research trials in the state.
Dr. Jake Mowrer, AgriLife Extension specialist in Soil Nutrient & Water Resource Management, Nathan Haile of NRCS, Ryan Collett, manager of the Stiles Farm Foundation, and Lyle Zoeller, AgriLife Extension Agent for Bell County organized the meeting.
“Dr. Paul DeLaune has done a lot with no-till and cover cropping in Vernon (Rolling Plains), but there has not been much done here in the Blacklands,” explained Mowrer. “We want to try to get some science behind the current recommendations.” Meaning science that addresses the challenges of farming on Blackland soils.
“For me, it is important to meet with farmers who have a stake and see what you have to say about how it affects the bottom line. If we are going to push statewide for reduced tillage and cover crops, I cannot get behind that if producers are going to lose money,” Mowrer told the group.
Haile explained that the purpose of the meeting was open the door to learn how the agencies can help producers get to a place where they can both conserve and produce.
“You need to conserve so you can keep farming, but it is not one size fits all,” Hale stated. “In the past A&M was going one way and NRCS was going another. All of us need to get together and head the same direction, see if it works and see if we can help producers.”
There will be more meetings and more discussions to come.