Symposium to highlight the future of ag water supplies
While much of the United States is facing one of the worst droughts in history, the future of the nation's water supply is threatened. At the 9th annual Holt Cat Symposium on Excellence in Ranch Management Oct. 25 to 26 in Kingsville, Texas, this challenging issue will be presented for ranchers and landowners to learn what is in store for agriculture's water supply.
Presented by King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, the topic this year, "Water: Agricultural Challenges and Strategies for the Future," will inform attendees of current policy issues that directly affected the ranching industry's water supply, and will provide guidance on how farmers and ranchers can become involved in the issue.
KRIRM Director and Endowed Chair Clay P. Mathis, Ph.D., explains that in many cases, municipalities are reaching out for water to help support expanding populations, and the state and federal governments play a major role in deciding where and how water is used. Also, infrastructure for capturing, storing, and transferring water is inadequate for our future needs.
These examples, along with other laws, cases, and management practice examples, will be discussed at the KRIRM symposium to inform and educate the industry.
"Farmers and ranchers must be educated and engaged in the water debate," says Mathis. "The agricultural community must be proactive in protecting our water interests."
The keynote address, "Water: What's in store for the next 50 years?" will be given by president and CEO of East Wildlife Foundation Neal Wilkins, Ph.D., who has more than 25 years of experience leading conservation efforts that focused on habitat management and conservation of land, water, and wildlife resources. Wilkins is also the former director of the Texas Water Resources Institute and former vice president of the Texas Wildlife Association. His address will set the stage for the entire symposium, describing the future of our national water supply.
The keynote will be followed by the presentation of a white paper on water strategy for agriculture. The document was developed by a small group of ranchers, landowners, and agriculturalists who manage millions of acres, and who know the importance of taking action in the water debate. Developed as a catalyst for action, this white paper outlines the issues and problems facing the industry, and clarifies the strategic steps that should be taken now to protect agriculture's water.
Other speakers, such as Charlie Arnot, CEO of Center for Food Integrity; successful ranchers and attorneys; policy makers from National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association; and other specialists and stakeholders will explain how water is managed at the federal and state level. They will also describe steps to take if water rights are challenged and present a how-to session on ranch water management practices. A speaker panel will be held at the conclusion of each day's presentations.
This event will help attendees understand what is in store for agriculture if the industry does not take action. Additionally, it will teach attendees how to effectively engage in the water debate not only to protect their rights, but to be an advocate for agriculture.
"We believe the policy decisions made in the next decade will determine much of the fate of agricultural water use for the next 50 years," says Mathis.
On Oct. 25 at 5:30 p.m., entertainment and a steak dinner will be provided at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center. Attendees also have the option to attend a tour of King Ranch on Oct. 26. The tour will be specifically tailored to the audience and guided by professionals from the King Ranch.
The symposium will also feature a tradeshow with exhibitors from agricultural companies such as financial lending institutions, feed companies, water management organizations, and more.
All sessions will be held on the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus at the Memorial Student Union Building. Registration is $150, which includes meals, refreshments, entry into the tradeshow, and workbook materials. After Oct. 15, registration is $200. Additional tickets for the dinner can be purchased for $50. For more information about registration, the speakers, topic, and agenda, visit http://krirm.tamuk.edu/symposium.html or call 361-593-5401.
KRIRM, founded in 2003 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of King Ranch, is the only master's program in the world that offers a Master of Science in Ranch Management. The vision of the program is to educate leaders who will make a positive difference in ranching, and ensure that the ranching heritage is not lost. To learn more about KRIRM visit http://krirm.tamuk.edu.