County courses focus on homegrown agriculture
The number of homeowners in Denton County is on the rise, and with it, interest in homegrown agriculture.
Because of the increase in small landowners in the county who might not be savvy in the ways of agriculture, county extension officials created classes to provide information that will help them be more productive or profitable with their land use.
“I have people call and they don’t know how to manage a pasture or they want cattle but know nothing about cattle,” said Brandon Boughen, Denton County extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
“They try to grow poultry, but don’t know how to do that.”
The programs provided are informal adult education classes where Boughen pulls in specialists from the industry and from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to teach the classes. Boughen noted that recent classes included agriculture law, water rights and property rights.
“We have also had stuff on pasture management, we had a soil sustainability class and we’ll have some others throughout the year including a livestock producer class,” he said.
Tommy Calvert, president of the Denton County Farm Bureau, said that most of the people in the class are relatively new to agriculture, so if they get a horse or cattle or goats, they generally do not know how to take care of them.
“We are seeing more small-acreage people than larger ones with big parcels getting broken up,” Calvert said. “The last few years our number of farms have increased, but they are smaller acreage, around places like Krum, Argyle, Sanger, Pilot Point. They are smaller-time farmers, but definitely have a huge interest.”
Boughen said officials get requests for information on specific topics.
“That’s where we can either help them one-on-one, from me going out to their property and working with them on their particular issues, or I can get them in contact with someone who specializes in the area,” he said. “The only thing, those specialists are out of the county and there may not be as much one-on-one contact.”
Boughen said there is a fair amount of myth-busting that is done with some homeowners.
“When we are talking about cattle production, people get hung up on terms like corn-fed, all natural ... those are just words,” Boughen said. “It’s just producing a product that is good and wholesome, and those are the techniques I try to instill in individuals.”
Boughen added that by giving these homeowners factual, unbiased research information, they can make a better decision.
“That is the entire premise of extension programming,” he said.
For more information on the classes, call Boughen at 940-891-0647.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.