KERRVILLE -- New, relatively new or absentee landowners in the Hill Country will have an opportunity to get an extensive education on managing natural resources at the second annual Bennett Land Stewardship Conference April 23-24.

"Keys to Hill Country Living" will be at the Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center in Kerrville. It is funded by the Ruth and Eskel Bennett Endowment and hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said Larry Redmon, Bennett Trust AgriLife Extension specialist in College Station.

Cost of the two-day conference is $75 and includes all meals, break refreshments and tour transportation costs. Register by going to agriliferegister.tamu.edu/BennettTrust or by calling 979-845-2604. Room reservations can be made at bit.ly/1EsSQsQ.

Last year's program attracted an entirely new audience, Redmon said, adding most were from Kerr and Gillespie counties and were not familiar with their AgriLife Extension program in the county.

Rick Machen, livestock specialist from Uvalde, said the event really offers something for everyone.

"The longtime or experienced landowner might be interested in the estate planning segment, elder law, water and 1-D-1 open space land tax valuation using wildlife as agriculture," Machen said.

The conference's preliminary agenda and speakers on the first day include:

• "History of the Edwards Plateau-Geology, Plants, Wildlife and People," Donnie Frels, Kerr Wildlife Management Area manager, Kerrville.

• "Hang On to Your Property - Elder Law and Estate Planning," Marilyn Miller, attorney, Dripping Springs.

• "Rainfall Patterns in the Region, El Niño/La Niña," George Bomar, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Austin

• "Aquifer Recharge and Spring Flow," Ron Green, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio.

• Two concurrent sessions: Events/Actions That Impact the Hydrologic Cycle

"Session I - Drought, Urban Sprawl and Concrete/Asphalt Domination, Municipal Water Use of Water Resources, Rainwater Harvesting," Billy Kniffen, retired AgriLife Extension state water resource specialist, Menard.

"Session II - Juniper, Herbivore-Forage Interaction, Stocking Rate and Infiltration versus Runoff in the Edwards Plateau," Bob Lyons, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Uvalde.

Wrapping up the day will be discussions regarding:

• "What Are My Options for 1-D-1 Tax Valuation and Implications for Lease Agreements?" Tiffany Dowell-Lashmet, AgriLife Extension agricultural law specialist, Amarillo.

• "Animal Options for the Edwards Plateau: What Species Mix is Best for Me?" Machen.

• "Rainfall Insurance," Jason Johnson, AgriLife Extension economist, Stephenville.

Day two of the conference provides behind-the-scenes tours, including a Natural Resource Stewardship tour on the historic Hillingdon Ranch in Kendall County; an agritourism tour of sustainable vineyards, orchards and gardens in Fredericksburg and Gillespie County; and a wildlife management and the hunting industry tour on the Edwards Plateau.

Both days will conclude with Texas Hill Country hospitality: food, music and the opportunity to visit with conference presenters, the coordinators said.

For more information regarding the upcoming Bennett Trust Land Stewardship program, contact Redmon at l-redmon@tamu.edu, Machen at r-machen@tamu.edu, or an AgriLife Extension agent in the region.

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