Dr. Patrick Stover, vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences for the Texas A&M University System and acting director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, recently paid a visit to the Texas A&M AgriLife Blacklands Research and Extension Center in Temple for an overview research and extension efforts and tour of its facilities.
Stover was given a tour of center facilities for which $20 million has now been allocated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, or USDA-ARS, toward design and construction costs to modernize office and laboratory spaces in the current facility, built in the early 1970s.
Stover was also introduced to the AgriLife facility’s grazingland programs, cropland and natural resource modeling activities, soil science assessment efforts, precision agriculture, water quality/reuse initiatives, the Fort Hood Flood Warning Program and more.
There was also discussion about of international livestock, land and natural resource assessment programs involving other countries such as Ethiopia, Namibia, Malawi, Peru, Brazil and others, and about various AgriLife Extension programs, including youth outreach and education activities through its Urban 4-H program.
Center director Dr. Tom Gerik noted how the variety and diversity of center activities, as well as the wealth of information from local, regional and global efforts, are directed to improving the productivity and profitability of farmers in the U.S. and around the world.
Stover said due to efforts by AgriLife centers like the one in Temple and others throughout the state, Texas A&M has become a leader in precision agriculture and the use of technology to optimize agricultural production.
Gerik also extoled the use of technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, remote sensing equipment for real-time assessment of weather conditions and water resources, systems to help assess wildfire risk and technology to help assess livestock nutrition.
Through the application of science-based knowledge, AgriLife Extension creates high-quality, relevant continuing education that encourages lasting and effective change.