Suspect in Muskogee County cattle theft case gets 18 years

Billy Chris Barnett III, 25, was sentenced to 18 years with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty to stealing 18 head of cattle from a rancher in Muskogee County. Read more…

Extension granted for comments and final determination for listing of dunes sagebrush lizard

On Dec. 5, 2011, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will publish in the Federal Register a 6-month extension of the final determination of whether to provide protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the dunes sagebrush lizard. USFWS is taking this action in order to solicit additional scientific information and public comment before making any final listing determinations regarding the agency’s proposal. Publication of this announcement will reopen the comment period on the proposed rule to list the species for 45 days. Read more…

State of Texas again renews proclamation extending wildfire and drought emergency

Gov. Rick Perry has again renewed a proclamation extending wildfire and drought emergency for all 254 counties due to the ongoing threat of wildfires across the state. The proclamation directs necessary resources be made available to aid response efforts and notes the ongoing strain on water resources. Read more…

Dust bill heads to House floor with bipartisan support

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce voted Wednesday in support of H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011, also known as the dust bill. The legislation passed (33-16) through the full committee with bipartisan support and will head to the full House of Representatives for a vote. Read more…

The coming flood of estate tax returns

Fewer than 3,300 estates will owe federal estate tax this year, the smallest number in more than 75 years. But, paradoxically, even as Congress shrinks the number of taxable estates, the law also encourages many more estates to file returns—even if they owe no tax. That will increase costs to those who want to do prudent estate planning, keep their planners and lawyers busy, and swamp the IRS with many times the number of returns filed in recent years. Read more…

Diners love the ranch

Restaurant customers might say they focus on other measures of quality, but when given the chance to buy steaks identified back to the ranch, they’ll pay for it. Read more…

NMSU researchers developing drought-resistant alfalfa varieties

Anyone feeding alfalfa or grass hay to their livestock this year is aware that it has become costly – and that’s only if you can get it. Drought conditions and low allotments of water for irrigation have resulted in a reduced supply as demand has increased. The development of alfalfa varieties that are more drought-tolerant would obviously be a boon to both consumers and hay producers. Although alfalfa breeders at New Mexico State University have been developing better varieties of alfalfa since 1918, researchers are now combining high-tech genetic analysis with traditional plant breeding practices in this effort. Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Espresso-crusted beef roast

A special roast for special friends. Read more…