Water conservation and livestock watering options to be discussed at Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference in San Angelo

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu

Contact: Josh Blanek, 325-659-6523, j-blanek@tamu.edu

SAN ANGELO — The Texas Water Development Board reports San Angelo’s average annual rainfall as 21.3 inches; that’s 13.27 gallons per square foot a year or 578,037 gallons per acre.

How to make the most of that water, not only to grow forage but also to water livestock and wildlife in a semi-arid climate, will be among several topics discussed May 3-4 during the Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference in San Angelo’s McNease Convention Center, 501 Rio Concho Drive.

The conference is funded by the Ruth and Eskel Bennett Endowment and hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Cost of the two-day conference is $75, which includes all training materials and meals.

More information on the trust and conference is available at https://agrilife.org/bennetttrust/ or by contacting Josh Blanek, AgriLife Extension agent in Tom Green County and event coordinator, at 325-659-6523 or j-blanek@tamu.edu.

solar powered water well pump

Solar-powered pumping systems will be among the topics covered during the Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference May 3-4 in San Angelo. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Steve Byrns)

“Obviously, livestock and wildlife should have access to clean, fresh water every day,” said Dr. Bruce Carpenter, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist at Fort Stockton. “But on ranches that depend solely on the capture of surface water, it becomes more critical during drought. We often hear of livestock being sold, not because the ranch ran out of grass but because it ran out of surface water.”

Carpenter’s talk on ranch water resource development will couple with a solar-powered pump discussion by Charles Swanson, AgriLife Extension landscape irrigation program specialist at College Station.

“West Texas is among the sunniest regions in the nation, making it ideal for solar-powered water well systems,” Swanson said. “Designing and selecting a solar-powered pumping system can be rather simple if you know your pumping needs like pressures and flows. These are easy to learn and will be something I’ll cover during the conference program.”

Blanek said this is the first time the conference will be in San Angelo.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to host this event, which will include not only classroom instruction, but a tour to two area ranches to see first-hand conservation practices in action,” Blanek said.

The first day starts at the convention center with breakfast and registration at 8 a.m. followed by the ranch water presentations and talks on livestock guardian dogs, agricultural law issues, prescribed fire, individual brush management practices and ranch rainwater harvesting.

Afternoon topics will include Edwards Plateau geology, integrating livestock and wildlife, and introduced grasses for the region. The day’s activities will end with dinner and entertainment.

The second day will start with a 7:30 a.m. breakfast followed by a ranch tour designed to demonstrate the previous day’s educational efforts. Stops at the Head of the River Ranch and Duff Ranch will include examples of livestock/wildlife compatibility, discussion on water resources, individual plant treatment and prescribed fire, and a look at introduced grasses.

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