NRCS Organic Ag Tour in March

A few months ago, I was contacted by NRCS to help with their organic training program.  NRCS is making a real effort to reach out to organic growers and to offer more assistance both on a personal level and with new programs and services. 

One of the things they wanted to do was to get their local staff out and on organic farms and to meet organic farmers.  The only way to do that is to travel around the state and meet people and so in March we did!  The plan was for me and a few NRCS state staff to travel to the sites and to meet the local staff at the farm.  Any NRCS staff member within 2 hours of the organic farm was invited to travel and spend a few hours visiting the producer and learn about the organic production in their area.

Where did we go? We started out near O’Donnell on the Carl Pepper cotton farm (2nd row). Wow! The way Carl conserves moisture in dry west Texas. Next, we traveled to Central Texas near Dublin to see Henk Postmus’ organic dairy and organic forages done right (3rd row). From there we moved east to Wills Point to see Jamie and Katy Kulesa and Lone Star Organic Dairy (3rd row).  In one week almost a straight-line west to east and the change in scenery was fascinating!

The next week we started off in the Rio Grande Valley at South Tex Organics and talked citrus and onions with the Holbrook’s (top row). The citrus was blooming, and onion harvest was just starting. Traveling north we ended up in Runge to talk regenerative ag and organics in sorghum fields and cattle pastures at the Zack Yanta farm (4th row).  Zack has many great experiences in soil health improvement. Last, we had a great visit with Kenneth Danklefs at Garwood in rice country.  Vivian Spanihel with American rice growers talked organic rice marketing and Kenny gave us a rice field tour and talked organic production (bottom row).

We haven’t made it to the High Plains just yet, but it is on the agenda soon!  It was a great chance to see lots of organic farms and talk to super farmers about organic.  Thanks to everyone who helped.

Author: Bob Whitney, Regents Fellow & Extension Organic Specialist

Agriculturalist, extension educator and researcher, organic agriculture enthusiast and promoter, international program developer, Christian, husband, father and friend.

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