Agricultural producers in the Blacklands now have a means of getting practical, objective, research-based information practically anywhere and at any time, thanks to two Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service professionals.
Ryan Collett, manager of the Stiles Farm Foundation, part of the Texas A&M University System, and Tyler Coufal, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Williamson County, have collaborated to develop a podcast series for Blackland agricultural producers.
The “Blackland Farmer” podcast episodes are available via iPhone and Android on all major podcast platforms, including iTunes and Spotify. They are also here.
Collett, previously an AgriLife Extension agent in Hill County, has worked extensively with Blackland producers and continues to support them through the 2,600-acre Stiles Farm in Thrall, where area producers can view applied research in a typical farm setting. Coufal works with Blackland producers on issues from production agriculture to wildlife and resource conservation to land use and best management practices.
“We chose our podcast topics based on input from area producers and what we have learned from our own experiences,” Collett said. “Podcasts are an excellent educational tool, and the producers have the added benefit of being able to listen to them pretty much wherever they are and whatever they’re doing.”
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He said the ability to “engage in a high level of learning while attending to other tasks” makes the podcasts particularly useful as producers must often multitask or be in multiple locations during the day.
Coufal said the podcasts are typically recorded at the Stiles Farm and feature AgriLife Extension experts speaking on real-time topics and issues.
“We try to not only make our topics pertinent but also timely, as far as the producers are concerned,” Coufal said. “For example, we did one not long ago on cold weather corn planting decisions as that was a major issue for many Blackland producers at that time.
“But if we don’t have a specific time-sensitive topic, we’ll go to one we know to be of general interest, such as eminent domain,” he said. “We also try to incorporate some kind of current economic outlook for agricultural markets to give people a snapshot of what’s happening in real time. We hope to produce one or two a month.”
Additional podcast topics include managing aflatoxin, soil pH and compaction, armyworms, worker protection standards, and cotton struggles/grain market outlook.
Coufal said the 8 podcasts produced have received almost 400 downloads since the first pilot episode was offered Nov. 9 of last year.