Agriculture & Natural Resources

Ellis County

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offers a diverse array of educational programs, activities, and resources. These range from self-study activities to programs that you can attend. No matter the name, Extension programs are based on objective, research-based, practical information that you can use today.  We invite you to explore the Ellis County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service website to find informative articles, resources, volunteer programs, youth development opportunities, healthy lifestyle suggestions, and more.

Flying drones near wildfires could cause injury or death to firefighters. Drones hamper firefighter’s ability to protect lives, property and natural resources. Flying a drone near wildfires can pose a threat to firefighting aircraft and their crew. If you fly, we can’t.
Contact your nearest land management agency to learn more about drone use on public lands.
Learn more at:

2023 Texas Fruit Conference

The Texas Fruit Conference is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension event aimed at educating new and experienced fruit growers through classroom instruction, experiential learning, and peer-to-peer networking.  Attendees who register for In-Person by September 1, 2023, will receive a free RTIC Lowball cup or Can Holder (these will be available for pick up @ registration check-in)! Additionally, all In-Person Attendees who register and attend In-Person will be entered into a raffle drawing for an RTIC Ultra-Light 52 Maroon & White Cooler (must be present win). For more information regarding the event, click HERE.

Available CEUs – Texas pesticide license CEUs – IPM – 3 hours

For all Sessions, the cost is $200 per person.  

Or, for Individual Sessions:

  • Wednesday, October 18, 2023, AM – Intro to Grower Workshop – $60
  • Wednesday, October 18, 2023, PM – Tour of Commercial Fruit Producers Fredericksburg Area, lunch included – $40
  • Thursday, October 19, 2023 – Main Conference one day w/lunch – $75.00
  • Thursday, October 19, 2023 (evening) – Reception – $15.00
  • Friday, October 20, 2023 – Irrigation Workshop – $40.00

Nearby Lodging Options: Fredericksburg is a busy city in October.  (We recommend making lodging arrangements well in advance!)  

A small block of rooms has been reserved at the following hotels. We encourage early registration to access this block of rooms as this is a busy time of year for the Hill Country.

​​​When making your reservation, mention it is for the Texas A&M Fruit Conference!

Click HERE to register.

For questions regarding event details, please email
If you have issues navigating the site or questions about registering, please email

Connecting Agriculture and Health from the Ground Up

Mark your calendars to join us for the 2024 – Connecting Agriculture and Health – From the Ground Up Conference, Wednesday, January 10, 2024, at the Extraco Events Center in Waco. Keep checking back; more details will be coming in October.

Asian Lady Beetles Are a Nuisance

It is that time of year when Asian Lady Beetles make an appearance indoors, and usually in large numbers.

While they can be a major nuisance, they shouldn’t cause panic and some simple exclusion practices can help prevent this issue in the future.

Asian Lady Beetles are not native to Texas – they were introduced from Asia to the United States in the 1960s and 1990s as a UDSA project to help reduce agricultural pests in several Southern and Eastern States from Louisiana to Connecticut.

They are now found throughout the United States either from natural spread or from further introductions into the United States from Japan on freighters.

Asian Lady Beetles are true lady beetle, better known as a ladybug. They are wonderful biological control agents of pests such as aphids in nature and during warmer months, help control those pests in our landscape.

During colder, winter months, they have a trait that makes them different from other ladybugs – their propensity to find harborage in protected spaces, which often is our warm home.

One way to tell the difference between Asian Lady Beetles and other species is that these guys have a marking behind their head that looks like an M.

Asian Lady Beetles tend to be attracted to light or lit surfaces and will congregate in mass numbers on sunny, Southwest sides of buildings. Especially those structures that are lighter in coloration, but really any surface will do as long as it is warmed by the afternoon sun.

They will soon find cracks and crevices to squeeze through and oftentimes get into eaves of homes, attics, or directly indoors.

When we have these up-and-down temperatures in winter, typical of Texas, they will become active on the warmer days and are noticeable inside the home, clustering and flying around windows, door frames, or lights.

The good news is that Asian Lady Beetles are not harmful to humans or pets. Even when consumed, they are not known to be toxic.

But what they will do is leave a yellow stain on walls and surfaces, emit a musty odor, and just be a plain nuisance. You may love ladybugs outside in your garden, but who wants them indoors?

How do you get rid of them? Prevention is key, but it’s oftentimes thought of too late. Seal up around cracks and crevices along windows and eaves, use screens on vents and large holes, and replace weather stripping that is worn around door frames.

For those already inside, vacuum them up! Throw them back outside and let them do their thing in nature.

Pesticide treatments are not always effective.

In some cultures, Ladybugs are considered a sign of luck. For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Ellis County Extension Office at 972-825-5175 or email Mark Arnold at

USDA drought assistance available to Texas ranchers

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds drought-impacted ranchers that they may be eligible for financial assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) to cover above-normal expenses for hauling water or feed to livestock or hauling livestock to forage or grazing acres.

Click Here to read the full article.


Farm Service Agency
1822 Fm 66
Waxahachie, TX  75167
Phone: (972) 937-2660

New Guinea Flat Worm Confirmed in Midlothian

We wanted to make you aware that a homeowner in Midlothian reached out for help identifying a strange worm she found in her garden.  We reached out to the Texas Invasive Species Institute, as Texas A&M has nothing on these predatory worms yet.  Dr. Matthew McClure is who I spoke with, and he informed me of the below:

Unfortunately, once they’ve been established there is no reliable way of getting rid of them.  They are known to spread via soil transport (landscaping, potted plants, etc.) and can also be spread from property to property through flash flooding (that’s how they ended up in my yard).  The main threat is to biodiversity because they can decimate populations of native snails and other invertebrates.  The worms are not parasitic, but the threat to people is that they have the potential to carry nematode parasites such as rat lungworms (Angiostrongylus).  For that reason, it is recommended not to handle the worms barehanded and to wash hands after encountering them.  I usually collect them by lifting them with a toothpick or small stick and placing them into a zip lock bag, freezing the bag to kill them, and disposing of the bag.

As far as management, this is from the website, and this also applies to hammerhead flatworms as well:

“Flatworms are thought to be susceptible to citrus oil and white vinegar mixtures to spray onto them directly. The normal strength calls for 2 ounces of citrus oil to 1 gallon of white vinegar. Spray that mixture directly on any flatworms, making sure you’ve sprayed the whole creature. This soft-bodied worm could be susceptible to salt, or slug repellent. When purchasing slug repellent please be sure to buy the kind that is not harmful to domestic animals like dogs and cats; by making sure the repellent is made with “Iron Phosphate” and NOT “Metaldehyde”.”


Hessian Fly is appearing to be a widespread issue in portions of the Texas Blacklands this year. The Hessian Fly is a small fly that during the larval stage can be a significant pest of wheat and some other small grain crops like barley and rye. There are several wild host plant species for the Hessian Fly including quackgrass, western wheatgrass, goatgrass, timothy, and various other wild grasses.

Click Here to read more on the Outbreak of Hessian Fly in Central Texas.

Watch Out For Fall Armyworms

With our current temperatures and anticipated rain, forage producers need to be scouting for Fall Armyworms infestations in their fields.  The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a common pest of bermudagrass, sorghum, corn, wheat and ryegrass, and many other crops in north and central Texas. Larvae of fall armyworms are green, brown, or black with white to yellowish lines running from head to tail.  A distinct white line between the eyes forms an inverted “Y” pattern on the face. Four black spots aligned in a square on the top of the segment near the back end of the caterpillar are also characteristic of the fall armyworm. Armyworms are very small (1/8 inch) at first, cause little plant damage, and as a result, infestations often go unnoticed. Larvae feed for 2-3 weeks and full-grown larvae are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Given their immense appetite, great numbers, and marching ability, fall armyworms can damage entire fields or pastures in a few days.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

More Resources for Texans

Texas A&M AgriLife Learn offers a robust selection of documents and information sheets, many of which offer a FREE downloadable version, as well as available books and other materials that expand on the topic(s).

Click Here to access AgriLife Learn.

Repository for dated documents.

Click Here to access the Ellis County AgriLife Extension Service Repository

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