Senate Democrats weigh vote plans on extending Bush cuts

Democrats in the U.S. Senate are considering whether they should vote before the November election on extending income tax cuts that expire at the end of 2012. Read more…

Even if drought worsens, lake levels should remain stable, officials say

Even a return to extreme drought conditions over the next six months wouldn’t send Highland Lake levels dropping below the low point that was reached during the worst part of the drought, thanks in large part to a decision to severely limit how much water rice farmers get this year. Read more…

TPW Commission looks to science for solution to quail woes

Texas quail hunters should not expect substantive changes for the 2012-13 season after the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission urged biologists to intensify quail conservation efforts, while minimizing the use of regulations as a means to address declining bobwhite populations. Read more…

USDA unveils new food hub resource guide to expand market opportunities for farmers and ranchers

The U. S. Department of Agriculture unveiled the first Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, bolstering its commitment to expand market opportunities for small and mid-sized producers. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan introduced the new resource guide today at the National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration conference. Read more…

U.S. Drought Monitor, April 17, 2012

In northeast Oklahoma, Birch Lake is now slightly into its Flood Pool, while Skiatook Lake has risen by two feet (though capacity is still near 78 percent). The short-term wetness likely outweighs the long-term reservoir deficit in this case, and therefore the Abnormally Dry (L) area in Osage County in northeastern Oklahoma was eliminated. Slight improvements were made in western Oklahoma, though Severe Drought conditions were maintained in extreme southwest parts of the state which are still contending with serious water supply and soil moisture issues. Beneficial wetness in western and southern sections of Texas warranted a number of slight alterations to the drought depiction in those areas. Read more…