Citrus grower education program focusing on water conservation technologies slated for May 9 in Mission

An education program for Rio Grande Valley citrus growers on the practical aspects of new water conservation technologies will be held May 9 at the Lone Star Citrus Growers, 9625 N. Moorefield Road, Mission.

The program will be from be 8 a.m.-3 p.m., with registration and coffee at 8 a.m. at the citrus grower’s packing house. The program is co-hosted by the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center and Texas Water Development Board.

The event is free, but attendees are required to preregister by May 5 at

Dr. Lucas Gregory, TWRI research scientist, said the program will start in the Lone Star Citrus Growers’ orchard with a discussion on recent advances and demonstrations of water-conserving irrigation technologies.

“The field session will emphasize producer perspectives on the advantages of drip irrigation and practical methods for using narrow border flood,” he said. “Growers will also be able to make preliminary observations on raised beds, with and without plastic mesh.”

Gregory said producers who have implemented some of these technologies will provide relevant insights to other producers and answer questions about how the technologies have affected their operations.

He said the program will move mid-morning into the packing house for discussions on water savings and the economics of each water conservation practice.

Dr. Shad Nelson, interim dean, Texas A&M University-Kingsville College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences, said local scientists and economists will highlight recent research conducted by the Citrus Center and AgriLife Extension.

“Findings presented from citrus field demonstrations will show water savings and economic benefits that can be expected when these practices are implemented,” Nelson said. “A grower panel discussion will also highlight local experiences using alternative irrigation strategies.”

Brad Cowan, AgriLife Extension agent for Hidalgo County, said an update on some key citrus issues will be given after lunch.

“Pest management issues relative to water management strategies and financial assistance opportunities for producers will be covered,” he said.

Cowan said disease- and entomology-related issues and mitigation strategy presentations will allow offering one Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education unit in integrated pest management.

“Information about funding opportunities for producers to defray some of the implementation costs will conclude the day,” he said.

Funding for this event is provided by the Texas Water Development Board through an Agricultural Water Conservation Grant to AgriLife Extension. 

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