Agricultural producers will have the opportunity to get the latest information regarding the implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill at a meeting slated for Tuesday at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center on State Highway 44, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The Nueces County Farm Service Agency staff will discuss current policies for direct and counter cyclical payments, new eligibility changes, along with the adjusted gross income provisions. If you are not able to make this meeting, the same information will be covered on Wednesday at the First National Bank in Beeville, and Thursday at the Rob & Bessie Welder Park - Lazy V in Sinton.

By the way, the Nueces County Extension Leadership Advisory Board, along with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will sponsor the 11th Annual South Texas Turf Management Conference on Wednesday at the Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center. The purpose of this conference is to provide information for turf management professionals that will benefit them in managing South Texas turf grasses.

The conference will begin with registration at 8:15 a.m., followed by the program from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. All those planning to attend should pre-register by contacting the Nueces County Extension Office at 767-5217 by Friday.

Registration at the door will be $30 per person and does include a noon lunch. The conference will provide 6 continuing education units for pesticide applicators.

Turf conference topics will include environmental considerations of turfgrass nutrient management, water conservation strategies, cultivation of turf grass, identification and management of turf disease problems, insect management, pesticide laws overview, and improving water quality with turf BMP's.

Also, to help you meet the continuing education requirements of your pesticide applicator license or certificate, here are a few recommendations. First and foremost, start early. Continuing education activities occur year-round across the state.

In Nueces County alone last year, 36 hours of CEUs were offered. You may not find affordable, convenient or sufficient numbers of opportunities if you wait until your license or certificate renewal deadline is near. So what CEUs do you need? For private applicators, the number is 15 CEUs every five years, including a minimum of two in laws and regulations, and two in integrated pest management.

Up to 10 CEUs may be obtained through TDA-approved home study programs. For commercial and non-commercial Applicators, the number is five CEUs annually, including at least one CEU each in two of three special topics: laws and regulations,

IPM, and drift minimization. CEUs from TDA-approved home study may be used to re-certify only every other year.

Many applicator licenses will expire the end of February. However, if you recently became a licensed applicator, a different date applies. As of September 1, 2005, each commercial or non-commercial applicator license expires on the first anniversary of the date on which it was issued or renewed.

Also, each private applicator license expires on the fifth anniversary of the date on which it was issued or renewed. On another note, there is no CEU carryover - CEUs must be acquired prior to renewal.

Extra CEU credit obtained in one renewal cycle cannot be forwarded and used in the next renewal cycle.

If you have questions about your applicators license, you may contact the local office of the Texas Department of Agriculture at 851-2745.

Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5217.