Contact: Matt Bochat, 361-575-4581, firstname.lastname@example.org
VICTORIA — The 32nd annual South Texas Farm and Ranch Show will be held Oct. 19-20 in Victoria, providing quality and relevant education for farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the general public, organizers said.
“This is the longest running non-profit regional farm and ranch show in South Texas,” said Matt Bochat, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources for Victoria County. “It started in the 1980s and will enjoy its 32nd year of success this month.”
The show will be held at the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St. It will feature approximately 140 exhibitor booths and expert speakers, many of who will address agricultural issues amid a growing non-rural population.
“In general, people in America are two to three generations removed from the family farm,” Bochat said. “Agricultural illiteracy is at an all-time high. Therefore, this year’s show will focus on agricultural advocacy to bring to the surface relevant information about the agricultural industry.”
Registration for the educational programs is $20, and will begin at 7 a.m. at the main entrance of the community center. Registration includes lunch, and entrance to the trade show is free.
The event has grown over the years, Bochat said, and continues to provide scholarships to area high school students pursuing agriculture related degrees.
“Since 1991, over $175,000 of scholarship money has been awarded to over 150 students in Victoria and the surrounding communities,” he said.
Keynote luncheon speakers will include Darrell Glaser, winner of the 2014 U.S. Family Farm Environmental Excellence award on Oct. 19, and Dr. Susan Ballabina, the AgriLife Extension executive associate director in College Station, on Oct. 20.
“Both of the luncheon keynote speeches will focus on agricultural advocacy, health and other topics related to farm and ranch issues and legislation that will affect agriculture,” Bochat said.
One of the biggest draws to the show is the Cattleman’s College, the first day of the show, he said. Speakers will focus on a variety of topics, including grass identification, beef sustainability, pasture and forage management, beef perception and and bull soundness in the cow herd.
“Day one will also offer a row-crops segment focusing on topics including commodity marketing, stewardship of new herbicide technologies, precision agriculture and hybrid testing,” he said. “Day one will conclude with wildlife sessions on bobwhite quail ecology, farm pond management and managing rangeland for wildlife. The day will conclude with the very popular Dinner Tonight Healthy Cooking School coordinated by AgriLife Extension personnel.”
Day two will be dedicated to training for those wishing to obtain a pesticide applicator license from the Texas Department of Agriculture and those who need pesticide applicator recertification.
The fee for the pesticide applicator training is $20 including a lunch ticket. Training materials can be purchased for $40 at the show or at the AgriLife Extension office for Victoria County.
Topics for the recertification training include integrated pest management strategies, ranch management solutions, pesticide compliance, pesticide laws and regulations, water issues in agriculture and predator control options. A presentation on backyard gardening by the Victoria County Master Gardeners will also be available.
“Only the training for pesticide applicators will be available,” Bochat said. “The test is administered by a third party vendor of the TDA. Those exams will be given off-site at a time to be announced. Those planning to attend the training are asked to call the Victoria County AgriLife Extension office at 361-575-4581 to ensure that we have adequate training materials.”
A new feature this year will be agricultural career exploration for area high school youth who are either in agriculture classes or have an interest in a career in agriculture.
“This event is called INSIDE AG,” Bochat said. “Youth will be given the opportunity to hear presentations from various speakers in the agricultural industry, tour the grounds and attend the luncheon program.”
INSIDE AG will be limited to the first 50 youth who sign up with their agricultural science teacher.
“The South Texas Farm and Ranch Show has always been known for being a very diverse and informative trade show,” Bochat said. “In addition to the 140 booths displaying all kinds of agricultural information, equipment and demonstrations, we’ll also have farm and ranch equipment on hand for displays and demonstrations. Antique farm tractors and equipment will also be available for viewing and picture-taking.”
For more information about the show, call the AgriLife Extension office for Victoria County at 361-575-4581.