Agricultural economics plays role in developing sustainable High Plains
By: Sherrie Ray
The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) is a state-funded project with a mission of developing water conservation strategies for future generations, while improving production agricultural practices. TAWC is a partnership of agricultural producers, industry officials, government agencies, and is largely housed at Texas Tech University.
"The TAWC as a whole is a very good project because it's very integrated and multi-disciplinary," said Darren Hudson, Texas Tech's Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness and Director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness.
Hudson works with TAWC indirectly through conducting economic analyses, dealing with irrigation policy, marketing outlooks, and the economics behind planning for production agriculture. For the past few years, TAWC has turned to agricultural economics experts to examine base research and evaluate costs and returns.
The TAWC continuously seeks out new techniques and technology used for more sustainable agricultural practices. Hudson, along with Tech students and his colleagues, pay close attention to budgeting to ensure profitability for farmers looking at implementing such practices and technologies.
Agriculture on the High Plains depends on conserving existing water resources, and TAWC hopes to extend the life of these resources through sound agricultural practices. With the help of Texas Tech, the TAWC is better able to achieve their efforts while maintaining the viability and livelihood of local agriculturists.
Funded by a grant from the Texas Water Development Board, TAWC operates as a partnership of producers, technology firms, universities and government agencies working to extend the life of the largest subterranean aquifer in the United States. Stretching from the Texas panhandle in the south to the northern boundary of Nebraska, the Ogallala Aquifer lies beneath one of the most important agricultural regions in the United States.
The project uses on-farm demonstrations of cropping and livestock systems to compare the production practices, technologies, and systems that can maintain individual farm profitability while improving water use efficiency with a goal of extending the life of the Ogallala Aquifer while maintaining the viability of local farms and communities. All production-related decisions are made by the more than 20 producers involved in the project.
The project field sites involve more than 6,000 acres in Castro, Crosby, Deaf Smith, Floyd, Hale, Lamb, Lubbock, Parmer and Swisher counties. These sites represent the range of agricultural practices including monoculture cropping systems; crop rotations; no-till, limited-till and conventional tillage practices; land application of manure; and fully integrated crop and livestock systems.
CONTACT: Samantha Borgstedt, Communications Director, Texas Alliance for Water Conservation Project, Texas Tech University at (806) 789-4177 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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