TSCRA urges EPA to retain current CAA dust standard

TSCRA filed comments today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supporting their proposal to maintain the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for dust. The EPA’s NAAQS establish the level at which coarse particulate matter (or “dust”) is considered legal under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). Under the CAA, the EPA is required to review these air quality standards every five years. The EPA is set to publish their final rule on NAAQS by December of this year. Read more…

Three suspects charged with felony property theft

A Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) investigation has led to the arrest of 3 suspects who have been charged with felony property theft. Donald Ray Redmond Jr., 41, of Liberty, David Matthews Ambrose, 31, and Vicki Lynn Byrd, 32, both of Dayton, were taken into custody Wednesday. Read more…

TSCRA to hold Sept. 8 ranch gathering in Lubbock

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) will host a ranch gathering on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Cagle Steaks in Lubbock. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a complimentary beef dinner. State Reps. Charles Perry, Dist. 83, and John Frullo, Dist. 84, will talk about what ranchers and landowners should expect during the upcoming legislative session. TSCRA Special Ranger Scott Williamson will also report on recent cattle thefts in the area as well as tips on protecting livestock and equipment against theft. Read more…

USDA report predicts record exports

Fiscal 2013 agricultural exports are projected at a record $143.5 billion, according to USDA’s quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report forecasting exports for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. The forecast trade balance for fiscal 2013 shows a surplus of $26.5 billion, down $3.5 billion from the revised 2012 forecast, according to the report. The revised trade surplus for 2012 is $30 billion. Read more…

Wildlife officials investigating dove deaths in West Texas

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating a series of active dove mortality events in and around the West Texas communities of Midland, Odessa and Big Spring. The cause has yet to be determined, but poisoning has not been ruled out. At this time, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) simply desires to provide hunters information on this localized event. Read more…

Hogs outsmart “pork choppers”

When Texas legislators allowed hunters to pay to shoot feral hogs from helicopters, they made national headlines with the “pork chopper” law. Now, a year after the law took effect and the hoopla has died down, shooting hogs from the air isn’t wildly popular and the animals are finding ways to avoid the gunners, meaning helicopter hunting is not particularly effective for feral hog control, a state official said. Read more…

U.S. Drought Monitor, Aug. 28, 2012

The Gulf coast of Louisiana – as well as portions in east Texas – continued in a wet pattern. At the end of the current U.S. Drought Monitor period, Hurricane Isaac was making landfall along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts. In portions of southeast Oklahoma, Exceptional Drought was expanded to include more of the area that has been missing out on the recent rains. Even with rains in portions of Texas, the consensus was that the impacted grazing lands are not showing much change, so no improvements were made. Degradation was shown in west Texas into New Mexico where a new area of Exceptional Drought was introduced. Conditions also intensified and expanded in south Texas where another new area of Exceptional Drought was introduced and all drought intensity levels pushed farther to the north. Some improvements were shown to Abnormally Dry and Moderate Drought levels in central and eastern Texas as the area was refined to account for the most recent precipitation in the area. Read more…

Arrest made in felony livestock theft case

A joint investigation between Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) and the Lufkin Police Department has led to the arrest of a La Marque man charged with felony livestock theft and felony credit card abuse in Angelina County. Jason Todd Miller, 38, of LaMarque, was arrested Wednesday by Galveston County authorities in Houston. Miller is accused of purchasing a horse in March from a Lufkin horse sale using a $4,500 check from a closed account. On the same day, a saddle and tack were purchased from a vendor using a bad credit card. Read more…

On Texas-Mexico border, ‘tick riders’ fight a little big disease

For decades, cowboys known as ‘tick riders’ have patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent cattle carrying ‘fever ticks’ from entering. Read more…

Livestock producers affected by disasters urged to keep good records

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia urged livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Isaac to keep thorough records of their livestock and feed losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchases because of lost supplies. USDA Read more…

US farmers want new farm bill but time is running out

Congress needs to pass a new farm bill and fast or risk putting U.S. farmers in financial jeopardy as they need to decide on how much winter wheat to plant and how much to spend on corn and soybean seeds, plus make other decisions critical to American food production, a number of farming experts said this week. With the current package of farm bill programs due to expire Sept. 30, the chorus of voices from the countryside demanding action by lawmakers is growing louder. However, even these farm experts acknowledge that passage before Sept. 30 appears unlikely because of election year politics and a deeply divided Congress. Read more…

AgriLife Extension expert: Drought lingers, out-of-state hay required again

Hay production ‘hit and miss’ across the state, so bales could begin to show up in fields across the state as producers begin searching for supplies to get them through the winter. Read more…

Beef prices expected to increase this year as farmers deal with drought

Despite the torrential rainfall in the South with Hurricane Isaac, severe drought is affecting the Midwest, which is expected to make the already rising price of beef only go higher. Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Thai beef wok’n roll-ups

This beef appetizer is sure to get high scores from your taste buds. Read more…

Crime Alert: Tractors and equipment targeted in Northeast Oklahoma

TSCRA Special Ranger John Cummings, Dist. 5, reports the theft of two tractors, a trailer and equipment from properties in Northeast Oklahoma, near Inola. Stolen were a red McCormick tractor with a red front end loader, black bucket and yellow sun shade, sometime between Aug. 21 and 22. The suspect or suspects entered through an unlocked gate and drove the tractor to a trailer. On Aug. 26 or 27 a suspect or suspects cut a padlock on a barn door to steal a John Deere tractor with a front end loader and rear bale spear, plus a green Miller utility trailer. Read more…

Emergency CRP grazing extended to assist ranchers impacted by drought

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Wednesday a 2-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, freeing up forage and feed for ranchers as they look to recover from this challenging time. This flexibility for ranchers marks the latest action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide assistance to producers impacted by the drought, which has included opening CRP and other conservation acres to emergency haying and grazing, lowering the interest rate for emergency loans, and working with crop insurance companies to provide flexibility to farmers. Read more…

Walmart joins agriculture sustainability group

Walmart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, has joined an alliance of other Fortune 500 companies, including Cargill and Kellogg Co, seeking to make agriculture more sustainable. The Field to Market alliance was started three years ago by the non-profit Keystone Center to improve agricultural productivity and reduce the use of natural resources. It includes farm groups, grain handlers and food makers. Walmart is the group’s first retailer and now its largest member. Read more…

GOP Senate may hurt chances for egg bills, opponents say

Opponents of legislation setting federal standards for the welfare of egg-laying hens say they feel good about keeping the measures from becoming amendments to the farm bill. They also believe the chances of the egg standards becoming law would be further diminished if Republicans win control of the Senate in the November election. The prevailing argument is the measures set bad precedent that could lead to national production and welfare standards for other livestock. Read more…

Grandin explains beef slaughter process in video tour

A video guiding viewers through the cattle slaughter process produced by the American Meat Institute and Dr. Temple Grandin was already in development, but was expedited after the temporary closure of Central Valley Meat Company last week. The video provides additional transparency to educate consumers about the meat and poultry they eat. Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for Aug. 28, 2012

According to National Weather Service records, large areas of the state have received 100 percent or more of normal rainfall since Jan. 1. Many other areas have gotten 50 to 75 percent of normal. But precipitation statistics aside, much of Texas still suffered from drought conditions, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel. Of concern are low pond and stock-tank levels. Conditions often vary county to county within a region. Read more…

Editorial: Farm bill affects every American’s kitchen

The Senate passed their version of a farm bill in June, but the House failed to follow suit before leaving on their August recess. With no farm bill in hand and a drought to boot, farmers and farm organizations across this nation were left wondering, needing something to make farm plans on, like a full 5-year farm bill. Not knowing what the winter may hold and next spring’s planting right around the corner, agriculture producers want Congress to act. Read more…

U.S. FWS to hold public meetings on 4 salamander designations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing to list as endangered and designate critical habitat for the Austin blind, Jollyville Plateau, Georgetown and Salado salamanders. The listing could affect those living in Travis, Williamson and Bell counties in Texas. Landowners in the area are encouraged to attend the public information hearings hosted by FWS in Williamson County on Sept. 5 and Travis County on Sept. 6. Click here for more information. The FWS will consider public comments on the central Texas salamanders proposed rule received or postmarked on or before Oct. 22. TSCRA encourages Central Texas landowners to consider submitting comments. Click here to read the FWS proposed rule. Read more…

USDA clears California meat plant after reforms

A week after pulling federal inspectors out of Central Valley Meat at Hanford, Calif., effectively shutting it down, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service allowed the plant to reopen Monday after its owners submitted a plan to prevent less-than-humane animal handling. Read more…

Conditions just right for cricket invasion

Oklahomans have been hearing plenty of chirping going on lately as field crickets are taking advantage of the weather conditions and spreading like wildfire. According to Rick Grantham, director of the Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic Lab in Oklahoma State University’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, outbreaks seem to occur after periods of prolonged dry weather in spring and early summer followed by rainfall in July and August. Read more…

TDA Market Recap, Aug. 27, 2012

For the week ending Aug. 25, 2012, feeder cattle price trends at Texas auctions ranged from $8 lower per hundredweight (cwt) to $10 higher. Texas direct feeder cattle sales were also mixed with a limited test on most classes. At the Oklahoma City National Stockyards, feeder cattle were $3 lower to $2 higher. Tight feeder supplies and prospects they will get even tighter this fall continue to support higher prices. However, variable quality, high grain prices and poor pasture conditions in many areas pulled some markets lower. Read more…

No change in forecast for increase in food costs

The Agriculture Department said Friday that consumers could still expect higher food prices next year, but the expected 3 percent to 4 percent increase was unchanged from last month, even as extreme heat in the Farm Belt continued to reduce the grain harvest and increase feed prices for livestock. Read more…

Groundwater deals land may land LCRA in a quagmire

With the Aug. 15 announcement that it wanted to purchase 34,000 acres belonging to an aluminum smelting company in Milam County, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) made a bold step toward its goal of expanding its water supplies. But by seeking to export water, the river authority steps into a quagmire east of Austin in which landowners, environmentalists and water marketers are grappling over the future of water supplies. Read more…

Cow-Calf Corner: Rain raises wheat pasture prospects; Forage testing

In the Aug. 27 issue from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Dr. Derrell Peel discusses how Oklahoma rains are raising prospects for wheat pasture, and what that could mean for winter stockers. Also, Dr. Glenn Selk talks about forage testing and how it can be a valuable tool when considering your herd’s winter feed plans. Read more…

TSCRA Event Calendar

Aug. 30: Proper Injection Sites & Equipment Care Demo, Lindsay Aug. 30: TSCRA Ranch Gathering, Sulphur Springs Sept. 7: TSCRA Cattleman’s Luncheon, Nacogdoches Sept. 8: TSCRA Ranch Gathering, Lubbock Sept. 13: TSCRA Cattleman’s Luncheon, Wichita Falls Sept. 13: Feed and Cattle Situation Outlook, Bowie Sept. 18: Ranching 101, Topic: Risk management, Fort Worth Sept. 20: Dilley Luncheon, Pacho Garcia Café, Dilley Sept. 20: TSCRA Ranch Gathering, Lampasas Sept. 24-26: TSCRA Fall Meeting, Austin Please note: this meeting runs Monday-through-Wednesday Sept. 26: TSCRA Ranch Gathering, Giddings Sept. 27: TSCRA Ranch Gathering, Fredericksburg Oct. 4: TSCRA Ranch Gathering, Salado Oct. 9: TSCRA Ranch Gathering, R.A. Brown Ranch, Throckmorton Oct. 16: Ranching Read more…

Mossy Oak® TSCRA hat now on sale

TSCRA’s Mossy Oak® cap has been added to our list of sale items. Just in time for hunting season, this cap is decorated with our distinctive blue “Posted” sign and the Mossy Oak® realistic camouflage and is on sale for $15. Read more…

Texas cattlemen and Gov. Perry call on EPA to waive RFS standard

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Friday joined Gov. Rick Perry to call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive all or part of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). In a letter to Lisa Jackson, administrator to the EPA, Perry stated that the fact that more than 40 percent of the U.S. annual corn supply was to used to meet the RFS corn-based ethanol requirement and that this threatens the sustainability of agricultural producers. Read more…

TAHC announces Horseback Emergency Response Team

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is designated as the lead state agency for animal issues in disasters within the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) state response structure. To fully realize this role, the TAHC has formed a horseback emergency response team, a group of approximately 20 agency responders that will enhance the state’s capability to assist the citizens of Texas with animal issues in emergency situations. Read more…

Ag groups establish Farm Bill Now coalition

Thirty-nine agricultural organizations have joined forces in an effort to raise public awareness of the need for Congress to pass a comprehensive five-year farm bill before current farm programs expire in September. The coalition, called Farm Bill Now, comprises associations and coalitions representing commodity crops, livestock, dairy, specialty crops, state and local governments, minor crops, energy and bio-based product groups, farm cooperatives and financial groups. Read more…

USDA slaughter red meat production up from last year

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the commercial red meat production Friday for the U.S., which totaled 3.94 billion pounds in July, up 4 percent from the 3.79 billion pounds produced in July 2011. Beef production, at 2.20 billion pounds, was 3 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.79 million head, up 1 percent from July 2011. The average live weight was up 23 pounds from the previous year, at 1,295 pounds. Read more…

U.S. Drought Monitor, Aug. 21, 2012

In Oklahoma, drought intensified to Exceptional Drought status in the northeast part of the state, which continues to miss out on beneficial precipitation falling to the south, just over the Texas border. Drought conditions in parts of eastern and extreme western Texas improved with the recent rains, while a lack of rain in the central and panhandle parts of the state led to expansion of Exceptional, Extreme, Severe, and Moderate Drought as well as Abnormal Dryness. In Louisiana, Extreme and Severe Drought expanded in the north. Read more…

Alleged cattle thief arrested in Houston

A Washington County man was arrested Thursday and charged with third degree felony livestock theft. Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Doug Hutchison and Washington County Sheriff’s Investigator Damon Wegner led the investigation. Benjamin Gonzales, 47, is accused of stealing 2 calves from his employer’s ranch in Washington County and selling them at an auction market in Giddings. Read more…

Midwest drought means less corn for Texas cattle

It takes Texas grass to raise Texas cattle but it takes Midwest corn to get them ready for market. Last year the drought in Texas meant little grass. This year the Midwest drought means less corn. In both cases this means less money for Texas cattle ranchers. DFW’s local television CBS station talked to TSCRA Second Vice President Pete Bonds and Executive Vice President Eldon White about the drought and how it’s affecting the Texas cattle industry. Read more…

Beef herd tumbles to 40-year low on feed cost surge: commodities

The worst U.S. drought in a half century and record feed prices are spurring farmers to shrink cattle herds to the smallest in two generations, driving beef prices higher. Read more…

Texas communities empower residents to prepare for wildfires

Following a record-setting 2011 wildfire season, Texans are taking steps to prepare for dangerous blazes. The Lone Star State recently became the first in the nation to register more than 100 communities in the Ready, Set, Go! wildfire preparedness program. Ready, Set, Go! was introduced by the International Association of Fire Chiefs in 2010 as a tool that fire departments could use to teach citizens how to prepare for wildfire and be ready to evacuate, should the need arise. Texas was one of nine states selected to assist with the program in its developmental stages. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Truck, trailers and cattle

TSCRA special rangers have reported the theft of a Dodge flat bed truck and red 16-foot pipe stock trailer from a property in northeastern Oklahoma, 8 Brangus-bred branded black heifers in south Central Oklahoma and a Miller welding trailer in the Texas hill country. Read more…