Pecan Research

H. H. Williamson, State Agent, College Station, Texas The work of the Extension Service, A. & M. College of Texas, through its County and Home Demonstration Agents, is well understood by the majority of those present. However, it is not amiss to make some statements, in a review fashion about extension work, so as to get a clear understanding of that portion of its work relating to the big pecan industry of Texas. The Smith-Lever, or Extension Service Act, provided for a great co-operative service organization. It is a co-operative organization maintained by the Federal, State and County governments, with our A. & M. College as its directing agency. It is a service organization for farmers, farm women, and farm boys and girls. Specifically, its object is to render service in improving agriculture and solving farm and home problems. If we will indulge in an analytical discussion, I will say that the fundamental methods of extension work are:

1. Be sure that the real problem is known and establish the fact that it is a problem.

2. Evolve a solution and reduce it to one or more simple practices.

3. Demonstrate or teach the practice.

4. Prove that practice pays.

5. Get the practice adopted on a large scale, to the extent that we are conscious that the problem has been solved or improvements made.

If this thought is applied to the pecan industry of Texas, we, no doubt, will agree that one of the big problems is the substituting of superior or improved varieties for our native pecans. It is recognized that Texas has more native pecans than any like section. Our research workers and successful growers, many of whom are present, have evolved a solution of this problem, and have successfully reduced it to a few practices, the chief one of these being budding. The practice is sufficiently simple that it can be easily mastered by reasonable study and practice. The successful growers represented in this meeting have sufficiently demonstrated that the practice pays. This leads to the suggestion that the greatest job of the Pecan Growers Association, the Extension Service, and all other agencies, is to get these practices adopted throughout the pecan growing area of Texas. It is in this capacity that the Extension Service, in co-operation with your association and individual mem-bers, is endeavoring to work. The activities of the Extension Service in this connection for the past two years have been the result of the leadership and inspiration of Messrs. A. P. Swallow, A. L. Smith, W. H. Darrow, and several County Agents in the pecan sections. Intensive budding campaigns have been carried on in many of the leading pecan counties. No doubt all are familiar with the budding work that has been done here in Gillespie County under the leadership of Mr. Miller, County Agent. This type of work was begun in Gillespie County last year and, as previously stated, has been extended to many other counties. Last fall Mr. Swallow, a representative of the Extension Service, planned a campaign so as to reach a large number of farmers in the most effective way. During the early part of February, work was planned for twelve counties. The first step was to select the community leaders for the various communities. In each county, these leaders signed up for all the men in their community who wanted to learn to do budding work and bud their own trees. At the same time, arrangements were made to order buds, wax, and budding knives in large quantities. During the first two weeks in April, Mr. Swallow made a trip to each of the counties, and in company with the County Agent trained the leaders to do budding work. These leaders, with their County Agent, went back to their communities and trained the men. During the last two weeks in April, he again visited each county and started each community off in its work. At this time he advised with them regarding the especial problem that each man had and gave suggestions as to the best way to handle their individual work. The goal of 150,000 of improved varieties of buds to be placed on trees in these counties was more than accomplished. It was found that many communities were doing twice as much work along this line as they had 39 planned. Records show the results of this campaign to be over 175,000 improved varieties of buds placed on about 60,000 trees. Over 1,800 people participated in this work. Those who have been inspecting some of this work estimate that at least 50 per cent of the buds will live, which will be a very satisfactory showing. In addition to this campaign, eight other counties have been given instruction in this work, and reports show that another 50,000 buds have been placed. Records of this work will be more definite and more complete when we receive reports during June from the District Agents as to the total number of buds that live and the actual number of trees budded. It is then planned for this work to be followed with summer budding, and in the early fall and winter to carry on demonstrations in cutting back large trees for budding next year. Most all the work that was done this spring was on small trees. I would like for each member of this audience to carry these thoughts home: 1. There are great possibilities for the pecan industry in Texas. 2. There is a gigantic job to be put across. 3. It can be accomplished by the co-operative efforts of the Pecan Growers' Association and the A. &M. College and other agencies, and I pledge you the maximum efforts of the Extension Service.

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