The 57th annual Rural Life Conference begins Feb. 22 at Pine Bluff Convention Center; this year’s conference theme is "Climate Change and Its Effects on Water Resources in Arkansas." The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff — School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, sponsors the conference.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Convention Center auditorium; opening session is at 8:45 a.m.

The Convention Center is at One Convention Center Plaza, Pine Bluff.

Pre-registration is requested.

The conference is free for producers, ranchers, homemakers and retirees.

Registration fee for professionals and agency personnel is $75, $25 for students.

Workshops and presenters include: Effects of Climate Change on Arkansas Water and Fisheries Resources – by Drs. James C. Peterson, Arkansas Water Science Center, and Michael Eggleton, UAPB associate professor;

Pasture Irrigation and Livestock Watering Systems — Randy Powell, irrigation engineer;

Examples of different watering systems — by Jeremy Huff, Natural Resources Conservation Service state grazing lands specialist;

Selling to Walmart, future challenges and additional crops — by Mike Myers, Walmart regional produce buyer; Ester Doolittle and Dr. Robert Cole, processors and packers.

Workshops from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will cover financial incentives for cost-share programs that can help producers better cope with climate change; updates on Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG).

Reducing water and energy usage in home laundering, energy audits and other conservation ideas will be covered in two energy workshops.

The conference also features a poster session, exhibits and door prizes, which will be awarded at every workshop and throughout the conference.

Some prizes are only for farmers in attendance, including up to two tons of lime per acre, up to five acres, for a Southern pea grower.

To pre-register or for more information, contact Almetris Cobbs at (870) 575-8141.