Piney Woods RC&D Poultry Litter Project

Our goal is to help the industry find more markets for this resource to provide more off-farm options. Our litter management project has made a lot of progress thanks to our many partners.

Over 280 million birds are produced each year in East Texas, generating over 300,000 tons of litter. This litter is also a great resource for our area when properly utilized. Most of the litter is now spread on our pastureland providing good fertility and soil amendments. A potential problem can arise when litter is applied for a long period of time causing a buildup of phosphorus.

We have demonstrations with both the Overton and Beaumont Agricultural Experiment Stations. Dr. Gerald Evers at Overton is working with the Sabine Mining Company to demonstrate the benefits of poultry litter for type my essay mine reclamation using grass. Sabine Mining will also use the litter for the sites planted with trees. Panola Soil and Water Conservation District partnered with TXU Mining to demonstrate the use of litter on their mined land.

Dr. Fred Turner with the Rice Experiment Station in Beaumont has demonstrations on both rice and turf grass. Our primary partner is Stephen F. Austin State University and Dr. Leon Young. Funding was provided by the Texas Soil And Water Conservation Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Alamo RC&D Abandoned Waterwell Plugging Project

Over $500,000 in grant money garnered to plug abandoned water wells in the Alamo RC&D area.

Texas RC&D Program for West Texas Food Bank

The program’s financial leveraging is a total of $226,000. Broken down it is $35,000 from Chihuahuan Desert RC&D and $35,000 in-kind computer and office equipment from Chihuahuan Desert RC&D and more than $190,000 from the following sources: America’s Second Harvest-The Nations Food Bank Network, Permian Basin Area Foundation, Hext Family Foundation, and individuals.

The West Texas Food Bank serves more than 170 nonprofits throughout 45,000 sq. miles of West Texas and distributes nearly 6 million pounds of food and non-food items to nonprofit hunger-relief agencies. The food bank serves 22 counties in the Chihuahuan Desert, Pecos Valley, West-Tex, and Big Country Resource Conservation and Development Areas. The Technology and Rural Communication program will increase efficiency of hunger-relief distribution partners by providing access to its services through available technology enhancements such as free and low cost hardware, online inventory systems, and training and support systems. For example they were able to improve employee work stations with at least a Pentium II with 128mg RAM and 10 gig. Hard drive. They also increased the level of service to agencies and streamlined the workload associated with inventory, receipting, and financial management. This was made possible by creating an interconnected network of hunger-relief nonprofits in West Texas and providing technical support through 10 on-site workshops and a website on using our management information systems.

High Plains RC&D/ Renewable Energy Conference

Ogallala Commons, a resource development network for the High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer region (, hosted a renewable energy Field Tours Day at the American Wind Power Center on Friday, February 4th. More than 80 participants received a short walking tour of windmill development, causing most to marvel at the ingenuity and practical innovation exhibited by our predecessors. Turning to 21st century possibilities, tour groups fanned out to visit a wind and solar project in nearby Hale Center, a geothermal heating and cooling application at Lubbock Christian University, as well as renewable nature tourism resources along the Canyon Lakes Drive in Lubbock. Afternoon tours included a biomass digester plant in the outpost of Grasslands, a tour of alternative energy-efficient construction around Lubbock, as well as two adobe homes.

Most tour participants doubled their learning efforts by attending the 16th Annual Southern Plains Conference on Saturday, Feb. 5th. The event drew 100 attendees to the Science Spectrum in south Lubbock, with its theme “Wind, Water, & Sun…Overcoming Obstacles to Renewable Energy in a Transitional Economy.” Dr. Ken Starcher from the Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University in Canyon offered a general overview of renewable energy projects and some resources to help make large and small applications feasible. In addition to table exhibits, four workshops gave participants reliable information: Small-Scale Solar & Wind Applications, Transitioning to Home-Produced Energies, Creating a 2-Year Certificate in Renewable Energy, and Using Art to Renew Human Energy.

As a follow-up to the conference, Ogallala Commons will continue to work with a consortium of over two dozen community colleges, four-year universities, and energy companies, to launch a unique 2-Year Certificate in Renewable Energy Technology and Business Incubation. The certificate will apply to traditional college students, as well as adult continuing education and place-bound students. To obtain further information, contact Dr. Darryl Birkenfeld, Director, Ogallala Commons, at 806-938-2529 (

Rural Emergency Fire Protection Pilot Program

Every year, lives and property are lost in rural communities due to insufficient fire protection services. Rural fire departments are frequently underfunded, under trained and lacking in proper fire suppression equipment. The Rural Emergency Fire Protection Pilot Program is a cooperative effort between federal, state and local organizations to systematically improve the ability of volunteer fire departments to suppress fire, provide training in their role as first responders to emergencies or threats of homeland security, educate administrative personnel in long-range planning and lower the departments overall Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating . Click to see full brochure.