Challenges Facing Texas Crop Producers
- Rising input costs and various production-related challenges, including droughts, disease, invasive species and other pests have placed serious stress on farmers across the state.
- Changing global markets and the management of agricultural production and price risk have farmers seeking ways to maximize production efficiency to maintain competitiveness.
- Issues regarding Texas’ water supply and demand balance have brought about the need for more efficient use of this vital resource. Implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill provided a new, and very different, policy safety net for producers.
AgriLife Extension’s Response
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service delivers wide-ranging educational programs focused on research-based crop production and management practices, evaluation of technologies, improved decision making, water-use efficiency, and job training.
- Programs for crop producers cover variety testing, soil nutrient management, irrigation efficiency, disease and pest identification and control, commodity marketing, financial risk management, and Farm Bill education.
- AgriLife Extension is at the forefront in responding to emerging issues such as drought, wildfires, and insect and disease outbreaks.
- Through 6,300 educational events, planning meetings, and workshops in 2015, AgriLife Extension achieved more than 950,000 educational and other contacts.
- AgriLife Extension often collaborates with industry groups and with other government entities to deliver educational programs.
Selected programs are highlighted below. Impacts were measured by the increase in net returns associated with adoption of certain management practices taught in 2015.
- The economic benefit resulting from the increase in net returns for boll weevil eradication was estimated at $158 million, with cumulative benefits amounting to $3.3 billion (since 1996).
- Outreach related to crops, floriculture, nursery production, and marketing led to an estimated increase in annual net returns of $51 million, and assisted cotton growers with variety selection valued at $27.5 million.
- Programs focusing on managing financial risk resulted in potential gains of $32 million.
- The impacts above support an additional 2,114 jobs in agribusiness and retail-related sectors.
- 75,000 Texas farmers used the web-based decision aid developed by the Agricultural & Food Policy Center (AFPC), with an estimated impact of improved decision making valued at $1.3 billion annually.
- Job training through continuing education related to pesticide safety and cotton ginning supports 69,671 Texas jobs, with an annual wage base of $945.1 million.