Southeast Extension District 9 is a very diverse region of the state. This diversity in noted within its population, geographic regions, and agricultural production. Diversity presents many opportunities for Extension educational programming efforts which address the needs of the people. There are 5.1 million people who reside within the district. This equates to 25% of the state’s population of 20.5 million. This population is racially and ethnically diverse with a composition of 54% white, 25% Hispanic, 18% black and 5% other.
The district has several unique geographic regions which transverse the terrain. These regions have specific soil, rainfall, plant, animal and agricultural features. The major geographic regions include the Brazos River Basin or Valley, Trinity River Basin, Coastal Prairies, East Texas Forest, Big Thicket, Blackland Prairie, and Coastal Marshes. The district generally experiences from 35 to 55 inches of annual rainfall, a relative humidity that is greater than 75%, and mild temperatures.
Major industries which are prevalent across the district include oil and gas exploration, petro-chemical processing, shipping and trade, finance and investment, engineering and construction, criminal justice, agriculture and agri-business, and education. The large population in this region support these industries with the needed workforce and these industries provide the economic base for this very viable and growing region of the state. Education of a future workforce to support these industries is provided by several colleges and universities within Southeast Extension District 9. These include Texas A&M University in College Station, Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, the University of Houston, Rice University and Texas Southern University in Houston, Lamar University in Beaumont and a host of junior and community colleges.
Agricultural production continues to be a viable economic force within the district. The estimated agricultural income for 1999 totaled $774 million. The largest agricultural enterprises for the district included nursery and horticultural production with an estimated income of $293 million to growers; feeder, stocker, and breeder cattle with an estimated income of $234 million to cattlemen; timber with an estimated income of $136 million to landowners; hay with and estimated income of $61 million to producers; and recreation with an estimated income of $49 million to landowners. Crop production in the district is composed of the following commodities and associated acreage: hay – 370,000 ac; cotton – 104,000 ac; rice – 100,000 ac; corn – 78,000 ac; grain sorghum – 67,500 ac; soybeans – 40,000 ac; and vegetables – 7,100 ac. Livestock production in the district is composed primarily of the production of feeder calves, stocker cattle and breeder cattle. Poultry production has increased in the district with the establishment of a poultry processing plant in the Bryan-College Station area. Estimations indicate that annually 552,000 feeder calves and stocker cattle are produced in the district. Also, 110,000 head of breeder cattle are annually produced to provide replacements for cow-calf producers.