Eddie Baggs: Series focuses on small farms

Texas leads the nation with 150 thousand cattle operations supporting
15.5 million head, almost as many as the total cattle population of
Canada at 15.7 million head.
Now, this bodes well for Texas because everything is bigger in the Lone
Star State, but when we look closer at the agricultural statistics we
see another side to this production story.
Out of these 150,000 cattle operations, 105,000 are supporting only one
to 49 head of cattle and only 22,000 have 50 to 99 head.
These small operations account for almost 25 percent of the total cattle
inventory of the state.
The number of smaller production units is rising and has an impact on
all areas of agriculture.
Almost every city and town in Texas is surrounded by a multitude of
small tracts of land (5 to 100 acres) owned by individuals who work in
the city but use the land as their principal or weekend residence.
Collectively, these small acreage landowners account for thousands of
acres.
As land values rise, fewer producers can afford to farm large sections
of land.
Large sections are broken up into smaller plots and sold at higher
prices; some are kept in agricultural production and continue to
contribute to the economic base.
Individuals farm these smaller acreage for different reasons, whether it
be business, occupation, lifestyle, recreation or for the agricultural
land tax evaluation.
Regardless of the reason, if you are a landowner, you are a manager.
Not all land management ventures are successful; it takes proper
planning and setting of goals.
An agriculture land manager also needs to be knowledgeable in many areas
including natural resource conservation, animal and forage management,
marketing and risk management.
With the rise of small-land ownership combined with the ever-changing
agriculture industry, these land managers will be challenged to stay
productive and maintain conservation ethics, while enjoying the benefits
of working the land.
The Denton County Beef, Crops and Forages Committee in conjunction with
the Texas AgriLife Extension is offering a series of five classes titled
“Agriculture 101 for Small Landowners” during September and October at
the Denton County Extension Office.
The series will cover the basics of agriculture and how to maintain an
agriculture property evaluation, weed and brush control, forage and
livestock management, soil fertility and management, and pond management.
Registration deadline for the series, which costs $30 to attend, is
Thursday.
For more information or to enroll, call 940-349-2880 or e-mail Pamela.Hill@dentoncounty.com.
EDDIE BAGGS, extension agent with the Texas AgriLife Extension
Service in Denton County, can be reached at 940-349-2880.

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