Cattlemen’s Column: Some remarkable bright spots in a tough 2011

There is no denying that 2011 was a tough year for cattle raisers. Ranchers across the state are still facing an unprecedented drought and rebuilding from the crippling wildfires, but through all the dust and smoke, there were some definite bright sides of 2011. Because of the hard work of our members, TSCRA chalked up major victories at the Texas and U.S. Capitols. Read more…

Last chance for stock show passes and rodeo tickets!

If you haven’t yet sent in your order form to reserve rodeo tickets or to receive grounds passes to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, it’s not too late. All forms must be postmarked by Dec. 31. Read more…

Prescribed burn alliance formed after record-breaking wildfire season

Following a record-breaking wildfire season, the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service have assisted prescribed burn associations throughout the state in forming the new Texas Alliance of Prescribed Burn Association. The purpose of the alliance will be to safely increase the use of prescribed burning. Read more…

Combat cold weather nutritional stress in horses

People combat cold weather by putting on additional clothing; horses fight the elements by using more energy to maintain body temperature. But while most people can address their own needs, horses are dependent upon their owners to provide proper nutrition and protection from the weather. Read more…

U.S. Drought Monitor and Summary, 12-20-11

The same weather systems that brought the much-needed rains to Arizona and Texas also brought some rain and snows to New Mexico. Drought relief indicated in last week’s drought monitor was continued this week as more rains and snows (0.5 to 2.8 inches) fell mostly across southern New Mexico. Read more…

More young people see opportunity in farming and ranching

While fresh demographic information on U.S. farmers won’t be available until after the next agricultural census is done next year, there are signs more people in their 20s and 30s are going into farming. Read more…

Water planners urged to base needs on centuries, not decades, of drought data

In the past 500 years, Central Texas has seen droughts far worse than the 1950s drought of record, according to a report commissioned by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and published Wednesday in the December issue of the Texas Water Journal. Researchers warn that makers of water policy should broaden their planning to factor in the possibility of droughts far worse than the spell that set the bar more than a half-century ago. Read more…

Cow-Calf Corner: Just how do Santa’s reindeer get the job done?

Have you ever wondered how Santa’s reindeer can make that monumental journey on Christmas Eve? Let’s look into some key facts about reindeer that may help us understand how they get Ole St. Nick on his appointed rounds all over the world Read more…

New AgriLife Extension publication helps keep the hogs out

A team of experts has developed a new Texas AgriLife Extension Service publication focused on keeping feral hogs from raiding wildlife feeding stations. The four-page publication was developed by the Texas A&M University System and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) wildlife experts. It provides advice and direction on how landowners can protect corn and protein pellets intended for wildlife from being eaten by feral hogs. Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Crumb-crusted top sirloin and roasted garlic potatoes with bourbon sauce

This luxurious dinner takes meat and potatoes to a whole new level. Read more…

December drought survey shows drought still impacting herd inventory, but hope is on the horizon

TSCRA conducted a survey of its members in September to assess the impact the ongoing drought has had on their business and cattle inventory. A follow-up survey in early December shows that while there is a consistent reduction in cattle numbers, that rate of liquidation has slowed and reveals the adaptability of the Texas cattle industry to compensate for situations such as extreme drought. TSCRA staff and officers would like to thank all who completed the survey. Herd size information is sensitive information and members’ willingness to share this data is greatly appreciated. Providing this important information allows us all to better understand the extent of the herd size changes and plan potential member service improvements. Read more…

How we use 2.3 billion acres

A new major land use report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service shows changes in U.S land use through 2007, reflecting loss of crop acres, relatively steady rangeland acres and continued, but slowing rural sprawl. Read more…

AgriLife Research adds new instrumentation to measure greenhouse gases

As greenhouse gases become more of a concern, determining the actual rates of emissions through scientific data is a growing necessity. This is why Dr. Ken Casey, AgriLife Research air quality engineer, has commissioned, through his program, an open-path Fourier transform infra-red spectrometer for use in monitoring greenhouse gases. This new technology will enable more accurate measurement of the concentration of gases, which will lead to a better understanding of what controls the emissions and when they occur. This has the potential to guide feedyard management and practices to minimize emissions. Read more…

TAHC now accepting area nominations for Veterinary Loan Repayment Program

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is accepting nominations for areas of the state experiencing a shortage of veterinarians to work in food animal medicine, rural, or public practice. The TAHC will forward nominations for selected shortage areas to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for inclusion in the national Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) for the 2012 award cycle. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Black and black baldy calves missing in Panhandle area

TSCRA Special Ranger Harold Dempsey, District 1, has reported the theft of 9 head of black or black baldy calves from an Armstrong county property in the Texas Panhandle. The calves could have been stolen any time between early September and mid-December 2011, and weighted approximately 500 pounds each. Read more…

TSCRA congratulates new regional special ranger supervisors

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Sonny Seewald has been selected as regional supervisor for Region 4 covering districts in south and southeast Texas. Special Ranger John Cummings has also been selected as regional supervisor for Region 3 in eastern Oklahoma. Read more…

Mineola man arrested on hay scam charges

A Mineola man was arrested Friday by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Larry Hand on charges of 2 counts of hay theft. Special Rangers Hand, Max Hartmann and Doug Hutchison investigated the case. According to Hand, Steven Clues, 39, of Mineola, began advertising hay for sale in late summer on Internet hay websites. He is accused of collecting funds by wire transfers on 98 round bales of hay from 2 victims, worth an estimated $10,000, but failed to deliver the hay. The victims were from Fayette and Comal counties. Hand says that a Grand Jury will review the case for possible additional charges. “These ranchers began ordering hay in September 2011 at the height of the drought and wildfire season,” Hand Read more…

Legislation introduced to counter proposed child farm labor laws

U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, Dist. 4, is taking action to support the tradition of family farms as bureaucrats at the U.S. Department of Labor push to restrict the ability of youth to do farm work. U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., Dist. 2, is co-sponsoring the legislation. Latham authored and introduced bipartisan legislation on Friday that expresses the sense of Congress that “the secretary of labor should recognize the unique circumstances of family farm youth and multi-generational family partnerships in agricultural operations when drafting regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Read more…

TDA Market Recap, Dec. 19, 2011

For the week ending Dec. 17, feeder cattle prices were mixed. Select Texas auctions were mostly $2 lower to $5 higher per hundredweight, though a trend could not be established at some Panhandle locations because of light receipts the previous week. Texas direct feeder cattle sales were mostly steady to $2 lower, while Oklahoma City was $5 lower to $2 higher. Buyers are willing to pay more for the more desirable offerings and to fill current orders, but lighter demand and the onset of cooler, wetter weather are also keeping a lid on the market. Read more…

Tracking beef’s shrinking footprint

A study published in this month’s Journal of Animal Science found that raising a pound of beef in the U.S. today uses significantly fewer natural resources, including land, water, feed and fuel than in the past. Read more…

10 Cow-calf winter preparation tips

Now is the perfect time for beef producers to make management decisions that will affect the health, productivity and profitability of the herd over the next production cycle. The following are tips and guidelines to consider. Read more…

Night time versus day time feeding influences time of calving

Generally, it is accepted that adequate supervision at calving has a significant impact on reducing calf mortality. Adequate supervision has been of increasing importance with the use of larger beef breeds and cattle with larger birth weights. On most ranching operations, supervision of the first-calf heifers will be best accomplished in daylight hours and the poorest observation takes place in the middle of the night. The easiest and most practical method of inhibiting nighttime calving at present is by feeding cows at night. Read more…

TSCRA Event Calendar

Dec. 31: Deadline for TSCRA members to get their application in for Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo grounds passes Jan. 17: Ranching 101-Animal Health and Disease Management, Fort Worth, Texas March 30-April 1, 2012: TSCRA Convention Weekend, Fort Worth, Texas

State OKs 50-year water plan

Texas approved a somberly worded plan Thursday that lays out where the state should spend $53 billion to cope with its water needs over the next half-century and that warns that future droughts may mean not enough supply to keep up with growing demand. Read more…

Beef imports down 12 percent for the year, US now a net beef exporter

Beef supplies in the U.S. are expected to remain tight into 2012, in part due to the shift in the U.S. beef trade balance. For the first time in more than 40 years, the U.S. will become a net beef exporter in 2011 and that trend is expected to continue in 2012. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Tractor, round bales stolen from Rosharon property

More than $100,000 worth of property was stolen Dec. 4 from a Rosharon property in Brazoria County. TSCRA Special Ranger Tommy Charbula, District 24, southeast Texas, reports that 40 round bales of rice straw, valued at $2,400, and a John Deere 6430 tractor, serial number LO6430H660571, valued at $100,000, were stolen from a property on CR 42. The thief or thieves gained entry to the property by cutting the chain on a locked gate. If you have information regarding this theft, please contact Special Ranger Charbula at 361-235-1088. Read more…

U.S. Drought Monitor and Summary, 12-13-11

Some light but beneficial rains fell across central Texas with more substantial amount falling across southern Texas. Accordingly, the depiction of exceptional drought was modified to remove much of Duval, Webb, and Starr counties, retaining extreme drought designations. According to the weather forecast office in Brownsville, the higher relative humidity values during the past week and daily cloud cover aided the recovery by minimizing evaporation. Across Maverick and western Dimmit counties, rainfall also prompted a slight improvement to moderate drought from extreme drought conditions. Read more…

TSCRA headquarters staff celebrates Christmas with a service project for kids

Today at TSCRA headquarters in Fort Worth, staff celebrated Christmas with a building-wide party and service project that involved collecting craft supplies for children. For the past 2 weeks, staff members have been collecting craft supplies to donate to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children in Dallas. Read more…

NCBA: Study confirms beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet

In a first of its kind study, researchers at Pennsylvania State University demonstrated that eating beef everyday as part of a heart-healthy diet can improve cholesterol levels. Texas medical doctor, cattleman and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Director Richard Thorpe said the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study proves what he has known for years – lean beef not only tastes great but it also plays an important role in a heart-healthy diet. Read more…

Bighorn sheep relocation working in West Texas

Desert bighorn sheep can once again be seen on West Texas mountain ridges, thanks to a 50-year-old reintroduction program that is now bearing fruit. A group of nearly 60 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials and volunteers gathered Tuesday morning on a private ranch north of Van Horn to begin a weeklong capture program. They plan to trap more than 100 sheep from the nearby Beach Mountains, where they are thriving, and relocate them to other areas in West Texas, where they once roamed. Read more…

Free online mapping tool for Trinity River basin stakeholders updated

The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources in College Station recently released an upgraded version of its free Trinity River Information Management System, an online mapping tool for stakeholders within the Trinity River Basin. For the many livestock and crop producers in the Trinity River Basin, the mapping tool can also provide tremendous benefits for land management. Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Parmesan-crusted tenderloin with savory mushroom sauce

Don’t know what to fix for Christmas guests? Try this ultimate in elegance. Read more…

Mississippi man faces charges in Texas hay scam

James Darin Hoffman of Wesson, Miss., man is charged with selling possibly more than $30,000 in nonexistent hay, and officials suspect there are other victims. Hoffman had allegedly been selling hay to farmers in Texas through a website called The Hay Barn. Read more…

Railroad commissioners adopt comprehensive hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure requirements

Texas Railroad Commissioners adopted one of the nation’s most comprehensive chemical disclosure rules for hydraulic fracturing fluids on Tuesday. The rule will require Texas oil and gas operators to disclose on a national public website chemical ingredients and water volumes used to hydraulically fracture, also known as “fracking,” wells in Texas. Read more…

Expanded disaster declaration provides much-needed relief for communities impacted by wildfires

Gov. Rick Perry announced Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted the state’s repeated request to expand its major disaster declaration to include 119 counties eligible for wildfire assistance, and extend the incident period from April 6, 2011, through Aug. 29, 2011. The original declaration issued by FEMA on July 1, 2011, covered wildfires between April 6, 2011, and May 3, 2011, and only included 45 counties. Read more…

USDA revises national nutrient management standard to achieve maximum agricultural, environmental benefits

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revised its national conservation practice standard on nutrient management to help producers better manage the application of nutrients on agricultural land. Proper application of nitrogen and phosphorus offers tremendous benefits to producers and the public, including cost savings to the producer and the protection or improvement of ground and surface water, air quality, soil quality and agricultural sustainability. Read more…

Cow-Calf Corner: Know the cull cow grades before you sell

Many Southwest United States cow herds have been culled as much as possible. Some culling of beef cows occurs in most herds every year. If feed resources are available, a few producers may wish to market the culls after the first of the year for tax purposes. Whether we are culling because of drought or to improve the productivity of the herd, it is important to understand the values placed on cull cows intended for slaughter. Read more…

Today is your last chance to take the TSCRA drought impact survey!

TSCRA is conducting a follow-up survey to the September 2011 drought survey, polling members to better understand the impact of the 2011 drought on members’ herd sizes and future livestock marketing practices. This information will help TSCRA plan programs and services in 2012. We will be closing the survey tomorrow, so if you haven’t already taken the survey, please take a few minutes to give us your answers. Read more…

Recent Texas rains a blip; lakes not filling

Weather officials said Wednesday that they considered reclassifying parts of North Texas into the least severe stage of drought but held off because recent rains haven’t boosted lakes levels. Bone-dry soil suffering from the state’s worst single-year drought is sucking up the rainfall before it runs into reservoirs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and parts of northeast Texas. Read more…

Crazy ants making tracks through South Central Texas

Travis County is one of the most recent areas of Texas to be invaded by crazies – in this case, Caribbean or Rasberry crazy ants, according to entomologists with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Crazy ants get their name from their erratic movements as they do not trail in a straight line, but rather in a random pattern, the experts said. They are small, black ants with long legs and antennae, and upon first glance may resemble tiny spiders. Read more…