The Hill Country Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and AgriLife Extension Service hosted the Fall Hill Country Expo for over 100 residents in Mason, Texas on October 1.
Participants spent the day learning from agency officials on program updates and improvements within the agriculture industry. Topics ranged from animal health, carbon credits, prescribed burning, power line easements and technical/financial assistance available to landowners through government programs.
Dr. Dave Rosberg, DVM, opened the expo with an informational presentation on Trichinosis in beef cattle. Following Dr. Rosberg was Joe Franklin, rangeland management specialist with the NRCS.
Franklin discussed the current issue of carbon credits, what they are and what they mean to a landowner were the key subjects. The NRCS can assist a landowner in building a conservation plan, a tool that can aid in helping landowners market their carbon product. A conservation plan is a road map of operation goals. The plan contains soil data, maps, improvements and future goals of your operation. The conservation plan is one of the many technical assistance features that the NRCS offers and this is the first step in applying for financial assistance from the agency.
Prescribed burning was next on the list of topics at the expo. Chris Hotard, Dr. Mort Kothmann and Dr. Charles “Butch” Taylor offered information on the effects and experience of burning and the prevention of wildfires. Mason does have a burn association with 42 members, and anyone can become a member for an annual fee of $25. The association can assist in the planning and carrying out of a prescribed burn. Currently the association has completed six burns in the county.
The FSA updates were discussed by Randy Maenius, CED Mason FSA, and to close out the day was Dr. Judon Fambrough, Sr. Lecturer and Attorney at Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center. He offered participants information on emerging issue in the Hill Country including imminent domain, power line easements, landowner liability and land leases.
With the topic of transmission lines being on the table, Mason County Judge Jerry Bearden and State Rep. Harvey Hildebrand were present and available for comments and questions. Judge Bearden discussed the Clearview Alliance of Kimble County, Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) transmission lines and encouraging citizens to write to their senators/representatives and LCRA opposing the proposed plan to run the transmission lines through Mason County.
State Representative, Harvey Hildebrand spoke of his proposal to run those transmission lines down a pre-existing corridor (i.e. I-10) to the main station in Comfort, Texas.
For more information about the expo and the information presented please contact the Hill Country RC&D office located in the USDA Service Center on 1224 Austin Street.