Conservation Matters November 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Free soil testing available to Lower Rio Grande Valley producers

Free soil testing available to Lower Rio Grande Valley producers

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is offering its annual soil testing campaign through February, according to AgriLife Extension personnel.

“We’re encouraging all commercial agricultural producers in Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties to take part in this free soil testing campaign to help the environment and their bottom lines,” said Ashley Gregory, Texas Water Resources Institute Extension assistant in Weslaco. “This will be the 14th year in a row we’re offering this service, and it’s been hugely successful.”

The campaign began Oct. 1 and runs through Feb. 28, 2015, she said.

“The soil testing campaign first began here in 2001 and has been funded by various sources,” Gregory said. “Since 2008 the campaign has been paid by the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership, made possible by funding from a Clean Water Act grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered through the Texas Water Resources Institute.”

The annual soil testing campaign has been instrumental in reducing excess nutrients entering the Arroyo Colorado, and “it’s a service we hope to continue providing,” she said.

Agricultural producers can pick up soil sample bags and forms from AgriLife Extension offices in Willacy and Hidalgo counties and the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco, 2415 E. U.S. Highway 83 in Weslaco, according to Brad Cowan, AgriLife Extension agent for agricultural and natural resources in Hidalgo County.

Producers in Cameron County are asked to pick up sample bags and forms at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency office at 2315 W. Expressway 83 in San Benito.

“The samples can then be dropped off at the Willacy and Hidalgo county AgriLife Extension offices for shipping to the laboratory at Texas A&M University in College Station, all at no cost to producers,” he said. “Results will be mailed directly to producers.”

Cameron County producers can return their samples to the Farm Service Agency office in San Benito.

For more information about the Arroyo Colorado watershed, visit arroyocolorado.org. For more information about the soil testing program, contact the AgriLife Extension county office in Hidalgo, Cameron or Willacy counties.

Read the full AgriLife Today news release for more information.

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