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.


HPWD now accepting water depletion data requests

HPWD is now accepting requests for data to claim a cost-in-water income tax depletion allowance.

This yearly program uses annual water level measurements to determine changes in the water table throughout the District.

The information is then made available to land owners for use in preparation of their taxes to determine if a loss of water under their property may constitute a tax break.

Please follow the steps below to participate in the program:

▪ Visit www.hpwd.org and browse to the “Water Use” heading. Select the “Water Depletion” link to find the Initial Request and Reorder Forms.

▪ To complete the form, you need to provide your contact information, legal description of your property, and the year of the land purchase. This information is used to determine the level of the water table (“saturated thickness”) when the property was purchased.

▪ There is no limit to the number of properties that can be requested as long as they are within the boundaries of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District

. ▪ If you normally have a tax professional prepare your return, you may also ask them to contact HPWD for your Water Depletion values.

▪ If you would prefer a paper form, please call 806-762-0181 or stop by the HPWD office. ▪ Once completed, the forms may be returned to us by the following methods:

Email: Jed@hpwd.org

Fax: 806-762-1834

In Person or by Mail: HPWD, 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79411-1499.

Please call (806) 762-0181 or email Jed@hpwd.org if you have questions or need more information.

HPWD Precinct One election set for Nov. 6, 2018

Residents in Precinct One of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) will go to the polls Nov. 6, 2018, to elect a Board member to represent them in groundwater matters for the next four years.

Paul Bjerk and Dan Seale, both of Lubbock, are candidates for Precinct One District Director. 

Seale, the incumbent, was elected to the Board in Nov. 2014. 

Precinct One consists of the portion of Crosby County above the Caprock Escarpment within the district, Lubbock County, and Lynn County.

Early voting for the Precinct One General Election will be conducted Oct. 22 - Nov. 2, 2018. 

A listing of Early Voting/ Election Day polling dates, times, and locations is available at www.hpwd.org/election2018 

In accordance with Section 2.051 of the Texas Election Code, the HPWD Board of Directors canceled the general election in District Directors’ Precinct Two and Precinct Five since these were uncontested races. 

Both unopposed candidates were declared duly elected to their offices at the Sept. 11, 2018 HPWD Board of Directors meeting in Lubbock.

Brad Heffington of Littlefield was re-elected to his second four-year term as Precinct Two District Director, representing Cochran County, the portion of Hockley County within the district, and Lamb County. 

He was appointed to the Board in April 2013 to fill the unexpired term of Jim Copeland of Anton.

Ronnie Hopper of Petersburg was re-elected to his second four-year term as Precinct Five District Director, representing the portion of Floyd County above the Caprock Escarpment within the district, Hale County, and Swisher County.

He was appointed to the Board in March 2013 to fill the vacant position held by Bruce Rigler of Plainview, who resigned.

"Political subdivisions can declare the results of an election without conducting it, if there are no contested positions and no propositions on the ballot," said HPWD Manager Jason Coleman.

"In this instance, the election results in Precincts Two and Five were known when the filing deadlines passed. This provision of the Texas Election Code saves considerable time and taxpayer money," he said.

Additional election information is available by contacting HPWD Governmental Affairs Director Victoria Whitehead at (806) 762-0181.

Board adopts 2018 ad valorem tax rate

During their Sept. 11 meeting, the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) Board of Directors approved a resolution setting the 2018 ad valorem tax rate at $0.0067 per $100 valuation for operation and maintenance of the district.

The adopted 2018 tax rate is 1.1 percent less than the effective tax rate. This slight reduction provides a similar amount of tax revenue as last year.

Persons with $100,000 in property value will pay $6.70 in annual taxes to HPWD under the approved rate, as compared to $6.90 in 2017. The HPWD 2019 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

"The Board of Directors have lowered the tax rate each year since 2014. It is our priority to have balanced annual budgets. This allows us to reduce the tax rate for operation of the district, while at the same time, improve services for constituents in our 16-county service area," said Board President Lynn Tate of Amarillo.

In other business, the Board of Directors approved the Consent Agenda; approved applications for water well permits received in August 2018; amended the adopted 2018 budget for the end of fiscal year; conducted the annual review and adoption of the District's investment policy; and received an update on HPWD supported research from Dr. Dana Porter with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension at Lubbock.

No executive session was convened.

Board meeting agendas and minutes are available online at www.hpwd.org/agendas.

El Nino weather patterns may bring a wet winter

From AgriLife Today

COLLEGE STATION – Texas is emerging from one of the hottest, driest summers on record, but the long-term forecast suggests winter and spring will be wet, according to the state climatologist.

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon in College Station said statewide temperatures from May through August were the third hottest on record.

This summer was also drier, with precipitation levels more than 2.5 inches below average for the state, ranking this year as the 29th driest on record.

But that could change soon, Nielsen-Gammon said.

Nielsen-Gammon said long-term forecasts call for El Niño weather patterns through winter and spring. El Niño weather patterns typically mean above-average rainfall, especially for southern parts of Texas.

“September is already off to a good start,” he said. “It’s not good for cotton producers, but much of the state has received moisture in the last few weeks.”

Nielsen-Gammon said 5 to 15 inches of rain had fallen between Del Rio and San Antonio in the past week and that much of Central Texas picked up two inches or more during that same time with forecasts calling for more precipitation to follow.

“It looks like wet tropical patterns will contribute more moisture,” he said. “It also looks like things may be drying out a little following the rains, but Texas can expect more consistent rain into the fall, winter and spring as the El Niño patterns strengthen.”

Whether warmer or colder temperatures will accompany the El Niño pattern is a toss-up, Nielsen-Gammon said.

While cooler temperatures typically accompany precipitation, factors associated with climate change will mitigate the overall effect of those weather events.

“At this point, it looks like equal chances of having above- and below-average temperatures,” he said.