Rural Life Conference Feb. 22 Offers 13 Workshops

Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The 57th annual Rural Life Conference gets underway Feb. 22 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center with 13 workshops, many reflecting the conference theme “Climate Change and Its Effects on Water Resources in Arkansas.” The conference is sponsored by the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

At the Effects of Climate Change on Arkansas Water and Fisheries Resources workshop, Drs. James C. Peterson, Arkansas Water Science Center, and Michael Eggleton, UAPB associate professor, will present an overview of climate change and emphasize its potential effects on Arkansas water and fisheries resources.

Ranchers can learn about a pasture irrigation system that can be used to increase production during drought years from Randy Powell, irrigation engineer, at the Pasture Irrigation and Livestock Watering System workshop. Also, examples of different watering systems will discussed by Jeremy Huff, Natural Resources Conservation Service state grazing lands specialist.

Producers interested in Selling Peas to Walmart will learn of barriers overcome to make this possible. Future challenges and additional crops will be discussed by Mike Myers, Walmart regional produce buyer; and Ester Doolittle and Dr. Robert Cole, processors and packers.

Two NRCS workshops will cover financial incentives for cost-share programs that can help producers better cope with climate change. Updates on Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) will be covered.

Reducing water and energy usage in home laundering, energy audits and other conservation ideas will be covered in two energy workshops.

Registration for the Rural Life Conference begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Convention Center auditorium. The opening session is at 8:45 a.m. The conference also features a poster session, exhibits and door prizes, which will be awarded at every workshop and throughout the conference. Some prizes are only for farmers in attendance, including up to two tons of lime per acre, up to five acres, for a Southern pea grower.

Preregistration is requested of everyone even though the conference is free to producers, ranchers, homemakers and retirees. The cost to professionals and agency personnel is $75. Registration for students is $25. To preregister or for more information, contact Almetris Cobbs at (870) 575-8141.

The Convention Center is located at One Convention Center Plaza in Pine Bluff.

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