CASNR develops new Agricultural Water Management Certificate Program

From Texas Tech Today

JANUARY 9, 2019 — Texas Tech University agricultural experts have expressed the growing need for training students in the latest irrigation technologies to enhance the efficiency of water use.

In response, the university's College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) will offer an undergraduate agricultural water management certificate to provide courses on efficient and profitable management of water for agricultural purposes, with emphasis on irrigation technologies.

"The undergraduate agricultural water management certificate is equally available to degree-seeking undergraduates and non-degree-seeking working adults," said Chuck West, the Thornton Distinguished Chair in the Department of Plant and Soil Science and administrator of the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC). "All courses take place on campus, and require enrolling in the university, even if just for one course."

The certificate program was conceived by the TAWC, a water-management outreach project housed within CASNR, to bolster education of the agricultural workforce. Starting this spring, the certificate program will consist of a series of courses, totaling 15 hours, that cover aspects of water management and conservation.

A new course called the Irrigation Management Seminar will be offered every fall semester and is designed to meet the workforce needs of key stakeholders in agriculture such as producers, equipment providers, consultants and government agencies.

The certificate curriculum will provide students with information related to managing water for growing crops and other plants for horticultural and turf uses. The irrigation course will provide technical background on soil and plant sciences, the mechanics of irrigation equipment, use of programs to control and schedule irrigation and exposure to economic and regulatory aspects that guide irrigation use.

West said that while the certificate provides documentation of continuing education for those already in the workforce, it also allows traditional students the opportunity to further emphasize an area in the same department as their major as distinct from a minor, which can only be done in a department outside that of their major.

HPWD remembers Dr. John Abernathy 1945-2018

The agriculture community is mourning the loss of a long-time leader. Dr. John R. Abernathy of Lubbock, 73, passed away Sept. 18, 2018.

A celebration of life service is at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, at the Combest Family Funeral Home Chapel, 2210 Broadway, in Lubbock.  Burial will follow at Resthaven Memorial Park.

A native of Altus, Oklahoma, Abernathy received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University. He later received his Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Illinois.

 Abernathy joined the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station staff in June 1973 as professor and project leader of weed research. He continued in that capacity until named resident director of research of the Lubbock Center in December 1984. Abernathy also served a brief time as interim resident director of research at the Extension Center in Vernon.

 He was dean of the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) from 1997 to 2003.

 Abernathy received numerous honors for his research. He won the first Outstanding Young Weed Scientist Award from the Southern Weed Science Society in 1980. The United States Department of Agriculture honored him with the Group Award for Excellence as a member of the AG-Complex for Advanced Research and Extension Systems (AG-CARES) team in 1994.

 He also received the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturist Award from the Texas Tech College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) and the West Texas Ag Chemicals Institute Award for "Outstanding Contributions to West Texas Agriculture."

 Abernathy also provided insightful thought and expertise to numerous boards and committees.  He served as an agricultural representative to the Llano Estacado Regional Water Planning Group (“Region O”) from 1998 to 2003.  In recent years, he had served as a member of the HPWD research and demonstration funding review committee.

 Survivors include his wife, Cindy; two daughters; two siblings; and five grandchildren.