Growers attending the National Conservation-Tillage Cotton and Rice Conference at Houston, Texas, Jan. 23-24, will have an 80-session program lineup, covering a broad array of important topics.

The conference, to be held at the Radisson Hotel Astrodome Convention Center, will also include presentations on corn, soybeans, and precision agriculture.

“The program will feature 38 farmers, discussing the systems they use, and 42 researchers, explaining their latest studies and findings,” says John LaRose, MidAmerica Farm Publications, which sponsors the sixth annual event.

Farm Press Publications is co-sponsor of the event, along with a number of corporate, academic, and technical co-sponsors.

“With all the changes taking place in equipment technology, weed chemistry, crop genetics, pest and nutrient management, and crop management, both newcomers to conservation tillage and those with years of experience will find topics of value to their operations,” LaRose says.

“Anyone exploring new production methods and considering the conservation-tillage alternative will have an opportunity to get information from specialists in the field, as well as farmers who've been successfully using these techniques for years.”

Reducing production costs while increasing yields for cotton, rice, corn, sorghum, and peanuts is of over-riding interest to today's farmers, notes Mike Gonitzke, publisher, Farm Press Publications. “More and more farmers are making this conference a must-attend event to help them hone their production methods.”

Conservation-tillage has become a way of life for thousands of Sunbelt farmers, LaRose says. “They're constantly searching for new ideas and techniques to refine their operations. This conference is a great source of information about conservation-tillage methods for these key crops.”

While the term “conservation-tillage” was originally thought of as a practice to conserve soil by reducing potential for wind and water erosion, LaRose said producers quickly found it also offered additional benefits: reductions in fuel, labor, and other input costs.

“More recently, farmers and their landlords have learned that a great many other agricultural resources can be conserved through a properly designed conservation-tillage program,” he says. “With low commodity prices and increased competition in the global marketplace, the importance of conserving soil moisture and reducing fuel, labor, and other input costs have been key to the economic survival of many farmers.”

There will be more than 22 different presentations to choose from each hour, and each presentation will be repeated three times in order to give conference-goers the opportunity to attend as many of the sessions as possible.

Conference moderator will be Tommy Valco, USDA-Agricultural Research Service cotton technology transfer and education coordinator at Stoneville, Miss. Keynote speakers are Susan Combs, Texas agriculture commissioner, and Jim Moseley, USDA deputy secretary of agriculture.

“The conference is producer friendly,” LaRose notes. “There will be a dozen rooms where 50-75 people can gather for breakout sessions. Presentations will be in paired format, and each will be given two or three times during the conference, which allows producers to attend more of the sessions of interest to them.

“There's no better meeting to attend to learn more new techniques and systems for reducing tillage, fertility, pesticide/insecticide/herbicide, and planting costs.”

Farmers from Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee will be able to receive state pesticide re-certification credits for attending the conference and certified crop consultants will earn CEUs.

In addition to the conference sessions, many companies and organizations will have commercial exhibits and booths.

To register or obtain more information about the conference, telephone Robin Moll at 573/547-7212.