Are you a beginning farmer? Have you been farming for many years but still think you have a lot to learn about farming your operation? There is a beginning farmer conference set for Sept. 22-23 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center.

Participants can register through Tuesday. Fee is $60 for the two days, or $40 for one day. After Tuesday, a $5 fee will be charged for late registrations, no refund. Checks may be made payable to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and mailed to the Overton Center, care of Dr. Joe Masabni. Lunch is included both days for those registered. Three CEUs, or continuing education units, will be given to those with a Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license for those attending the second day.

Day one will begin at 8 a.m. with registration. Topics will include soils, water, farm loans, business planning, marketing, crop production, disease, insects and weed issues, pollinator management and community gardens.

Dr. Leon Young, professor and director of the Stephen F. Austin State University Soils Laboratory, will have a soils presentation. Soil is the basis of everything we do agronomically, from crops to livestock.

Water is needed by all living things, both plant and animal. Dr. Monty Dozier, regional program leader with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, will talk about water and its use in farming practices.

Charlie Rand will have a presentation on farm loans. He will discuss various ways you may look to finance your farming operation securing land, equipment and other resources.

Following lunch on the first day, Dr. Blake Bennett, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension economist, will discuss the business plan. Having a business plan will provide each manager with things to consider as they prepare for the farm over a period of time.

A panel discussion on marketing will use several speakers, addressing issues and taking questions from the audience on marketing strategies for your farm production. This panel will consist of industry leaders.

Finally, the first day will conclude with crop production by Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension vegetable specialist. He will give a presentation on crop production, highlighting things that each farmer should look at as they prepare for crops grown on the farm.

Day two will begin at 9 a.m. with concurrent breakout sessions. One session will cover organic production, while the other session will cover conventional production practices. Topics for these concurrent sessions will include weed control, insects and disease management, both covered by Dr. Tom Isakeit, Dr. Alan Knutson and Masabni. These topics will be covered in both sessions, rotating speakers to fit the topics for organic production and conventional production in each session, depending on which session participants are signed up for.

Following lunch, the afternoon session will include pollinator management and a community garden panel.

For more information on this conference, contact the Extension office in Smith County at 903-590-2980.

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