Texas Hires Four Extension Viticulturists

Wines & Vines - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service announced Jan. 18 that it is hiring four viticulture program specialists to work in four different regions around the state. Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill in June 2015 that created and funded the positions located in Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country, Lubbock in the High Plains, College Station near the Gulf Coast and in North Texas.

According to Dr. Ed Hellman, professor of viticulture at Texas Tech University, who also holds a dual appointment with Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Lubbock, this is the second time the state has funded viticulture extension agents. Similar legislation passed in 2007 that provided $2 million through the Department of Agriculture; then the Texas economy went into a slump, and the funding was not renewed.

"Things got better in the past few years," Hellman told Wines & Vines. "The wine industry went back to the legislature last year, and the funds for the four extension positions are being appropriated directly to the universities."

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