Ranch gatherings held in Cranfills Gap, Uvalde, San Antonio and Beaumont this week

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More than 500 TSCRA members, friends and guests attended ranch gatherings this week in Cranfills Gap, Uvalde, San Antonio and Beaumont. Attendees heard about law enforcement activities from their local special ranger and TSCRA staff gave updates on legislative issues and the upcoming Texas legislative session. Thanks go to Steph and Tai Cobb with Gap Ranch Supply and Cobb Properties for hosting us in Cranfills Gap. A great beef meal was prepared by Red Chain Feeds. The event in Uvalde was held at the Uvalde County Fairplex and Aggie Park hosted us in San Antonio. The venue at Broussard Farms made for a great evening in Beaumont. Novartis Animal Health provided the meals in Uvalde, San Antonio and Beaumont. Big thanks go to sponsors Novartis Animal Health, Read more…

Importing beef from Argentina - reopening of comment period

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USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reopening the comment period for their proposed rule that would allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Argentina located north of Patagonia South and Patagonia North B, referred to as Northern Argentina. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments. Comments made on or before the new Dec. 29 deadline will be considered. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has expressed concern about this action regarding Northern Argentina, a region that is not recognized as being free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) by APHIS. They strongly believe that the action presents a significant risk to the health and well-being of the nation’s cattle herd through the possible introduction of FMD virus. Read more…

Beef king sees record rally extended as ranchers struggle

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JBS SA, the biggest beef producer, says a record price surge isn’t over as ranchers struggle to satisfy demand, fueled by an expanding middle class in China. The U.S. cattle herd as of Jan. 1 was the smallest since 1951. The Australia herd is forecast to drop to a two-decade low in 2015 and the Argentine output has fallen 13 percent since 2005 after the government imposed a 15 percent levy on exports. Read more at Bloomberg…

USDA eases into enforcement of Animal Disease Traceability Rule

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While the long and often controversial effort to develop a national animal identification (ID) system may not be completely finalized yet, complying with animal ID and movement regulations is now the law of the land. Read more at BEEF magazine…

Working the night shift – bats play an important role in pollinating crops

Mexican free-tailed bats exiting Bracken Bat Cave. Photo credit: USFWS/Ann Froschauer

Most people associate pollination with bees and birds but often forget the work of their furry colleagues: bats. Bats take the night shift, playing a major role in pollinating crops and spreading seeds. One important bat is the Mexican long-nose bat, which dwells in large colonies in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona. Some states where large populations of bats live are working to ensure bats always have a place to call home after a nighttime feeding. NRCS works with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to implement conservation practices on the ground that have numerous environmental benefits, including ones that provide habitat and food for pollinators. Read more at blogs.usda.gov…

US Drought Monitor and Summary, Oct. 28, 2014

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A week of above-normal temperatures coupled with dryness again brought concerns to the region that the long-term drought conditions will remain. Temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal over most of Oklahoma and north Texas while other areas were generally 6-9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal this week. Most of the region was dry, with weekly departures of up to 1.50 inches below normal over east Texas. Read more…

House to vote on bill requiring EPA to share scientific basis for regulations

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The House will vote on legislation preventing the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing regulations, unless all scientific data to support implementation is publicly available. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. did not specify when the House would vote, saying only that it would be “soon.” The House will return to Washington on Nov. 12. Read more at The Hill

As Texas grows, will highways meet demand?

Texas State Capitol photo by TexasExplorer98 at flickr

In Tuesday (Nov. 4), Texas voters will be asked to redirect some state oil and gas production tax revenue destined for the state’s Rainy Day Fund to instead pay for roadways. This proposed constitutional amendment is just the latest in a series of mechanisms Texas has used to finance transportation. Read the latest issue of Fiscal Notes from the Texas comptroller’s office to find out more on road congestion, road-building costs and funding gaps. Read more…

Emergency assistance program covers transport of water in drought, fever tick treatment

Farm Service Agency

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides payments to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish to help to compensate for losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the secretary of agriculture.  ELAP provides assistance for livestock grazing, feed, and death losses; honeybee feed, colony, and hive losses; and fish feed and death losses. ELAP also covers losses related to expenses incurred to gather cattle for cattle tick fever treatment and, beginning in 2014, for losses related to the cost of transporting water due to an eligible drought. Read more…

Legislators consider ways to stop feral hogs

Feral Swine are not native to the U.S. They are the result of recent and historical (1500's Spanish explorers) releases of domestic swine and Eurasian boar. USDA APHIS photo Laurie Paulik.

In recent years, the Texas Legislature has passed or tried to pass legislation aimed at reducing the rapidly growing feral hog population in the state. But so far little has worked. It looks like the legislature will try something new when it is back in session in mid-January. Two Texas House committees met last Friday to look into what more can be done to reduce the wild pig population in the state because the estimated 2.6 million animals — the largest feral hog population in the nation — cause millions of dollars in property damage, especially to farmers and ranchers. Read more at Amarillo.com

It’s what’s for dinner: Autumn harvest braised brisket

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Now that the weather’s turning cooler, try this brisket with a fall flair. Read more at beefitswhatsfordinner.com…

CDC shares data on E. Coli and Salmonella in beef

Photo courtesy USDA.gov

A widely held belief among food safety experts is that the U.S. beef industry has made enormous strides in the past two decades to reduce outbreaks and recalls associated with beef. One of the many measures initiated by industry to help reduce illness associated with beef has been the Beef Safety Conference, held each year by the North American Meat Association. The conference included a presentation on beef-related illness data by L. Hannah Gould, Ph.D., leader of the National Outbreak Reporting System Team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read more at Food Safety News…

Corn prices expected to edge up, could pressure fed cattle bids in 2015

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Recent lower prices in corn could translate into fewer planted acres in 2015, potentially putting pressure on bids for beef cattle next year, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist. However, Dr. Mark Welch, AgriLife Extension grains marketing economist in College Station, told attendees at the recent Brazos Valley Beef and Forage Expo that a lot of things would have to come into play for this situation to develop.  Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for Oct. 29, 2014

AgriLife Extension photo

Though the sugarcane aphid is manageable, it’s likely here to stay in South Texas and the rest of the state. The aphid became a pest of sorghum for the first time in South Texas in 2013. The same year, outbreaks occurred in South and East Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Missouri. Today, the pest has been reported damaging sorghum and other crops in 11 southern states and several states in Mexico.  Read more…

How to avoid common deer hunting violations

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The general deer season opens Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 4 (North Zone) and Jan.18 (South Zone). Each hunter is responsible for knowing the specific regulations for the county in which he or she is hunting. Bag limits for white-tailed deer vary by county, and some counties have antler restrictions in place. Do you know the most common deer hinting violation? Hint: It has nothing to do with antlers. Read more…

Pacific trade talks progress but gap remains between US, Japan

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Negotiations for an ambitious trade pact among Pacific countries made significant progress over the weekend but there is still a gap between Japan and the United States over market access and other hurdles, trade representatives said on Monday. An agreement between Tokyo and Washington is crucial to securing the broader pact as other partners are reluctant to commit until they see how those two resolve their differences, particularly over access to each other’s markets in sectors such as agriculture and automobiles. Read more at Reuters

COOL appeal likely in 2015

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told DTN Progressive Farmer on Monday that the Obama administration likely won’t appeal the World Trade Organization ruling against U.S. meat labeling until sometime in January. Read more at DTN Progressive Farmer…

October is HOG OUT month

Feral Swine are not native to the U.S. They are the result of recent and historical (1500's Spanish explorers) releases of domestic swine and Eurasian boar. USDA APHIS photo Laurie Paulik.

In an ongoing effort to protect Texans from the costly destruction caused by feral hogs, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) announced that October is Hog Out Month. This is the month each year TDA highlights the serious problems feral hogs pose to our state. Hog Out Month comes in the middle of TDA’s 2014 Coordinated Hog Out Management Program (CHOMP) that runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. TDA has been working with counties across the Lone Star State to make a concentrated and coordinated effort to decrease the feral hog population during this three-month period and in turn, help mitigate millions of dollars in damage caused by these animals. Read more…

HSUS launches hotline for reporting cruelty, neglect of farm animals

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has launched a hotline that offers a reward for whistleblowers who report cruelty and neglect on factory farms, at livestock auctions, and in slaughter houses. The organization is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who have committed acts of cruelty to farm animals. Read more at Food Safety News…

Ranch gatherings held in Ozona, Floresville and Fort Stockton

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More than 300 association members, friends and guests attended ranching events in Buffalo, Fort Stockton, Ozona and Floresville last week. At each gathering, guests heard from TSCRA special rangers on local law enforcement activities and theft prevention. TSCRA staff updated attendees on legislative and regulatory issues and the upcoming Texas legislative session. The Buffalo event was held at Buffalo Livestock Marketing, Inc. Special thanks go to our host and TSCRA Director Curtis Younts. Attendees in Fort Stockton and Ozona welcomed rain on both of those events. Thanks go to Special Rangers Mike Barr and Kenny Wadsworth for their work. The event in Floresville was hosted by Bill Carr and Hilltop Ranch. Attendees enjoyed great educational programs in the afternoon, quality Beefmaster cattle were available for Read more…