AMARILLO Mark Arnold, Ellis County Extension Agent Agriculture/National Resources, was selected by Texas Wheat Producers as the 2014 Outstanding Wheat County Extension Agent.
The award was presented by Steelee Fischbacher, director of policy and marketing for Texas Wheat Producers, at the 2014 Texas County Agriculture Agents Association state meeting in Lufkin.
In a predominantly wheat grown county, Arnold continues to focus on more than 40,000 acres of wheat production. These acres helped contribute to more than $12.6 million in gross receipts in 2013 alone.
Since wheat is a widely-planted crop, disease, weed and insect infestations are just a few of the challenges area producers face with the large wheat acreage. Arnold has been instrumental in developing educational programs to address these challenges.
Ronald Woolley, Regional Program Leader Central Region ANR, said Arnold provides programs that are both producer friendly and interactive. Programs focus on using demonstration results and applied research, in both group educational settings and various personal interactions, he said.
To keep producers aware of new and ongoing research, Arnold conducts and annual Wheat and Small Grains Field Day in coordination with a well-deigned field crops committee. Area producers are invited to view, observe and rate variety test plots for yield potential, disease resistance and susceptibility, and insect resistance.
In addition to the annual field day, data from demonstrations and various research trials are distributed to producers through newsletters, the county website and face-to-face programs. These include an annual Summer Crops Tour and fall Row Crop Production program with continuing education units.
To enhance his local wheat programs, Arnold works closely with a variety of professionals from Texas A&m AgriLife specialist and scientists to marketing and trade organizations. He also regularly receives research updates and information from agencies like the Natural resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency.
Arnold's programs have led area producer to routinely adopt best management practices including: selecting varieties based on multiple years' data and research, having fields scouted for insect and disease pests, and adopting reduced seeing rates.
Mark Arnold is worthy and very deserving of recognition for his work in wheat production in Central Texas, Woolley said.
The Texas Wheat Producers Board is a statewide board funded by a voluntary two cent per bushel checkoff program. Check off funds are used for research, market development and education to further the wheat industry in Texas and support the profitability of wheat producers. The Teas Wheat Producers The Teas Wheat Producers Association is a voluntary membership organization of wheat producers in Texas. The association provides growers and concentrated, organized voice in political matters affecting the production and marketing of their crops. For more information visit http://www.texaswheat.org.