Habitat & Conservation  |  02/22/2023

Texas Adds New Precision Ag Position


QF On the Landscape in Texas

Quail Forever announces the hiring of Joshua Michna as the new Precision Agriculture & Conservation Specialist to support growers in the Texas High Plains region. This new role is made possible by the collaboration of Quail Forever, Cotton Incorporated, BASF Agricultural Solutions, and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program to boost farm profitability and deliver tangible environmental benefits.

Michna’s new role will help landowners make best use of cutting-edge technology and voluntary wildlife conservation practices to identify acres of farmland opportunity. He will work with farmers to develop a Precision Ag Business Plan suited to their operation. By targeting return on investment at a sub-field scale, Michna will help define areas to explore alternative agricultural practices, voluntary conservation programs, cost-share, and other funding opportunities to increase profits and success for a producer’s operation. The end goal of this position is to offer habitat-based solutions including soil health, water quality, carbon sequestration, and rural economic development while maintaining high farm revenues.

“The Habitat Organization is excited and proud to collaborate with the great programs and people at Cotton Incorporated, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, and BASF Agricultural Solutions in this effort to promote farm profitability along with conservation initiatives,” Director of Sustainability Partnerships for Quail Forever Brent Rudolph said. “Texas Panhandle cotton and sorghum growers are committed to supporting a healthy environment and bright economic future for their families and communities, and quail, pheasants, and other wildlife will benefit from our efforts to work together here.”

The addition of a Texas-based precision specialist adds further momentum to Quail Forever’s collaborative agricultural initiatives to deliver sustainability outcomes. Starting in 2019, the Cotton Sustainability & Quail Recovery Project in cooperation with Cotton Incorporated set the table for innovation in the commodity sector. Since that time, the Sorghum for Birds initiative with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program and the recent national sponsorship announcement with BASF Agricultural Solutions have positively transformed Quail Forever’s grower relationships in focal regions for upland birds.

“This program is a great opportunity for sorghum and cotton producers in Texas. The collaboration aims to help farmers apply production data and precision ag technologies to identify less profitable acres and create biodiverse habitats,” Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President for Cotton Incorporated Jesse Daystar said. “The project outcomes will benefit the environment and native bird species surrounding cotton farmland while helping producers increase profitability.”

“This expanded, multi-commodity conservation collaboration — built upon the strong foundations of ongoing coordination between our industry organizations and Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever — will further enhance sorghum’s recognition as The Resource Conserving Crop™️ through targeted conservation delivery in sorghum and cotton rotation systems in West Texas,” Director of Sustainability for the United Sorghum Checkoff Program Adam York said. “We look forward to increasing the sustainability of both industries through the shared on-farm impacts of our new Precision Agriculture Conservation Specialist in Lubbock.”

“We are excited to collaborate with Quail Forever, Cotton Incorporated, and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program to further the cause of conservation and agricultural sustainability in West Texas,” Sustainability Manager for BASF’s North American Seeds Ray Daniels said. “This program provides the opportunity for growers to identify alternatives for lower yielding acres that are both environmentally sustainable and economically viable. With access to the resources provided by the Precision Ag and Conservation Specialist, growers will have more options to consider when planning how to maximize their land use in 2023 and beyond.”

Growing up on the outdoor traditions of hunting and fishing in South Texas, Joshua Michna has a proud farming and ranching background with experience in all aspects of agriculture including the processing of cotton and sorghum, as well as the maintenance of farming equipment. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management from Texas Tech University, he has worked in precision agriculture as a field technician for South Plains Precision Ag since 2019. Michna was previously employed as a farm technician for Heinrich Brothers Farms and Brushy Branch Ranch since 2009 where he gained firsthand experience with irrigation systems, combine and stripper harvesting, team management, and other ranch duties.

Michna will work closely with ag retailers such as implement dealers, software companies, grain cooperatives, certified crop advisors, ag lenders, and others to support sustainability practices throughout the Panhandle. For more information about precision agriculture and conservation solutions in Texas, contact Joshua Michna at jmichna@quailforever.org or (806) 696-9422.

This story originally appeared in the 2023 Winter Issue of the Quail Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Quail Forever member today!