Monday, 13 August 2012

Texas AgriLife Research & Extension 10/8/12

After flying into San Antonio, Texas, Leah and I drove to Uvalde and spent two days with Rick Machen (a Professor & Extension Livestock Specialist) and his lovely wife Deborah, at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension. With its Texas A&M System partners, the state legislature, and the communities it serves, the mission of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service to serve Texans through community-based education. With a vast network of 250 county Extension offices and some 900 professional educators, the expertise provided by AgriLife Extension is available to every resident in every Texas county. Rick took Leah and I out to the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station at Sonora to meet with Dr Charles (Butch) Taylor who has been at the Research Station for 41 years. Dr Taylor oversees projects in restoring West Texas Rangelands by managing the Juniper and prickly pear by using methods of prescribed burning and then coming through after the burn with the goats grazing the forage at a sustainable level. Texas AgriLife Research is selectively breeding goats to increase the amount of juniper in their diet. Through DNA testing they are identifying goats that eat more juniper, their goal is to make an already effective method of control of juniper even more efficient. The Texas AgriLife Research Station at Sonora, established in 1916, is on the Edwards Plateau region. Dr Taylor and his personnel not only develop state of the art fire prescriptions but also teach people how to use them. The 500 member association is a direct result of the station's successful promotion of safe and responsible use of fire in controlling noxious plants. I would personally like to thank Rick and Deborah Machen and also Butch Taylor for spending time with Leah and I, we thoroughly enjoyed their company.

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