Weed control experts from across the Sunflower State spend their day learning how to better serve you. The County Weed Directors Association of Kansas fall conference is underway in Pittsburg this week.
Each of these County Weed Control experts has to maintain certification, and to do that, they need to earn seven college credit hours every two years. But this conference is about more than just helping the experts learn the latest techniques, it’s also being better able to serve you.
“Most of the weed directors across the state of Kansas, we’re in this profession for the education,” says Kenny Baccus.
County Weed Directors Association of Kansas President Kenny Baccus says to do that, they have to be armed with not only the latest information, but also be good communicators.
“We do all this testing for our credits, and so that gives us the knowledge to be able to go back to the landowner and answer those questions properly,” says Kenny Baccus.
Baccus and roughly 60 other folks from County Weed Control agencies across the state will spend the week hearing from experts in the field, like Bill Reeves With Monsanto’s Regulatory Policy and Scientific Affairs Team. Reeves says this conference is as much about educating the public as the County Weed Directors.
“When they go online, often it’s very hard to find accurate information, and so if we can go out and talk to people who are the experts in their field, and get them the facts they need, they can communicate more effectively,” says Bill Reeves.
Crawford County Noxious Weed Director Ed Fields says being able to answer those questions is critical for several reasons. One is the amount of land he’s responsible for.
“In my county, it would be 900 miles of right of way in my county, which makes me the largest caretaker of land in crawford county,” says Ed Fields.
Fields says another is work they do with the public.
“And do a chemical assistance program with all landowners as far as, in my county, we will pay for 25 percent of chemistry used on noxious weeds,” says Ed Fields.
And Baccus says knowing not only how to battle those weeds, but also how to get that word out is exactly what this conference is designed for.
“We’re looking at education. Educating the public, educating the landowner,” says Kenny Baccus.
The training isn’t just focused on weeds and chemicals. One of today’s presenters covered what to do if the agents are confronted by someone with a gun, and tomorrow will offer tours of some of the landmarks in Southeast Kansas. The group will also be touring Picher, Oklahoma to learn a little more about soil toxicity.