TAWC member Barry Evans named Field to Market’s 2021 Farmer of the Year
By: Norman Martin
Barry Evans, a former Texas Tech Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Award winner, has been honored again with his selection as ‘Field to Market 2021 Farmer of the Year.' Field to Market is a diverse group of grower organizations comprised of more than 140 members representing all facets of the U.S. agricultural supply chain.
“What I would like for other farmers in Texas to see is that we are caring for the soil,” Evans said. “We're making the soil better. We're working to conserve water, and to do the best we can with what we have left.”
Recognized for his outstanding conservation efforts on his farm and leadership in advancing sustainable agriculture, Evans farms some 4,500 acres of cotton and grain sorghum in the Texas panhandle. He is a pioneer in a resilient approach to dryland farming by balancing dual natural resource concerns of soil and water conservation.
“Barry has proven that you can reduce your water use and still maintain your economic sustainability or your profitability over time,” said Donna McCallister, an assistant professor with Texas Tech's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
His commitment continues to yield dividends, as Evans has dramatically reduced his energy use by nearly 80%, and improved irrigated water use efficiency, conserving air and water resources while re-building generations worth of degraded soil health.
In 2013, Evans began working with Tech's Texas Alliance for Water Conservation program. 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.
Through Texas Tech's membership in Field to Market, TAWC has relied on the Fieldprint Platform as one of these tools for nearly a decade – meaning that Evans is one of the longest-standing users of the pioneering sustainability measurement platform. Harnessing data from their growers in the Fieldprint Platform, TAWC shares research and analysis back to growers, further strengthening their confidence in making good decisions driven by science.
“Barry is a prime example of somebody that understands the environment and is a steward,” said TAWC Project Director Rick Kellison. “If we're going to survive in production agriculture, we have to be stewards of the land here especially as it pertains to water and soil.”
Over the years Evans has had other close encounters with CASNR programs, specifically through his leadership roles with Plains Cotton Growers, including serving on the group's board of directors since 1995. PCG is a non-profit organization composed of cotton producers from the Texas High Plains.
PCG was critical to the establishment of CASNR's ‘Larry Combest Endowed Chair in Agricultural Competitiveness,' an endowment established to provide high quality research that addresses the long-term viability and economic prosperity of agricultural production and agribusiness.
Evans received his bachelor's degree in agricultural business and economics from West Texas A&M University. He has served on the National Cotton Council's Environmental Task Force and was named as an Ag Distinguished Alumnus from West Texas A&M University (2008), and received CASNR's Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Award for Agricultural Production (2010).
CONTACT: Donna McCallister, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-7189 or Donna.McCallister@ttu.edu
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Editor: Norman Martin
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