TxDOT ends program that converts paved roads to gravel

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The Texas Department of Transportation has ended its controversial program aimed at converting some badly damaged paved roads to gravel, more than a year after the launch of the initiative drew national attention to the agency’s budget troubles. Read more at The Texas Tribune

Texas A&M Forest Service urges caution to prevent spread of oak wilt disease

Picture courtesy Texas A&M Forest Service

Firewood is an important commodity to Texans, whether it is used for firing up the barbecue pit or for warming up on a chilly winter morning. And with cooler temperatures arriving, now is the time to pay close attention to the firewood you are picking up and storing for use in winter. Transporting and storing diseased wood can actually spread the devastating oak wilt fungus. By selecting well-seasoned, disease-free firewood and by following other disease prevention guidelines, homeowners can take the following steps to prevent a new oak wilt disease outbreak in their neighborhood. Read more…

Cow/Calf Corner: Fed cattle market reaches new record high; The impact of dressing percent on cull cow marketing

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the Oct. 27 issue of Cow/Calf Corner, a weekly newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Derrell Peel discusses the fed cattle market’s record highs and Glenn Selk talks the differences between the grades of carcass fleshiness on cull cows and how this affects price. Read more…

Save the beef checkoff

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A small window remains for concerned cattlemen to act to save their national checkoff program. Read more at Beef Magazine…

Ground beef prices hit $4.10 per pound

Example label now available on ground products.

According to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September saw another record for average ground beef prices as the cost per pound hit $4.096. In September 2013, ground beef was averaging $3.502 per pound. In August, the average price per pound of ground beef climbed over $4 for the first time, reaching $4.013. In one year, the price of ground beef has jumped about 17 percent. Read more at Drovers CattleNetwork

Hunters reminded of mule deer CWD testing requirements, proper carcass disposal

picture courtesy USFWS

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds hunters throughout the state to properly dispose of carcasses from harvested deer to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in deer. This is particularly important for harvested mule deer taken inside the Chronic Wasting Disease Containment Zone, which covers portions of Hudspeth and El Paso counties, and the surrounding High Risk Zone. Read more…

US Drought Monitor and Summary, Oct. 24, 2014

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Heavy rain moved through the Plains last week and improvements in drought conditions were reflected then. This week was a relatively dry week in the region. There was a slight expansion of Extreme Drought (D3) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) in Texas during this Drought Monitor week as areas of the Texas panhandle and central Texas have missed beneficial rains. Read more…

APHIS seeking feedback on animal disease reporting, response

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services wants feedback on plans to update the way it reports and responds to certain animal diseases. Stakeholders in animal agriculture have until January 16, 2015 to submit feedback to the agency on a National List of Reportable Animal Diseases (NLRAD) and a Proposed Framework for Response to Emerging Animal Diseases. Then, based on the comments received on the NLRAD, the agency says it will likely begin the standard rulemaking process by publishing a proposed rule in the Federal RegisterRead more at Drovers CattleNetwork

USDA Climate Hubs website: Connecting stakeholders to information

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The USDA has launched Climate Hubs, a new website that provides a portal for farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and others to find useful, practical information to help cope with the challenges and stressors caused by a changing climate. The site provides resources related to drought, fire risks, pests and diseases, climate variability, and heat stress, and links users to the network of USDA conservation programs and resources that provide producers with technical and financial assistance to manage risks. Each region also has its own site. Read more at blogs.usda.gov…

Grazing management benefits cattle and deer

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Ranchers continue to face tremendous challenges with drought and increasing input costs. This has led many to seek alternatives that are both ecologically sustainable and economically feasible to keep their operation going. Grazing lands provide forage for livestock, habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities such as hunting. The assessed value of a ranch based on aesthetics and wildlife habitat or its recreational opportunities can often exceed the property’s agricultural value. This provides additional economic incentive to apply effective grazing management. Read more at Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation…

It’s what’s for dinner: Oktoberfest beef burgers

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This recipe includes instructions for making your own German-style beef sausage to combine with Swiss cheese, pretzel rolls and coarse grain mustard for an Autumn burger full of flavor. Read more at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com…

Cattlemen’s Column: Water is Water

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TSCRA Director Jay Evans, chair of the association’s Natural Resources and Environment committee, discusses private property rights, ownership of the water beneath land, rule of capture and how brackish water may become a legal issue in future legislative sessions and court opinions. Read more…

Conservation program to launch bold ideas, accelerate innovation

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When USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), they envisioned a program that would help local and diverse organizations to accelerate innovation, bring new partners to the table, and demonstrate the value and effectiveness of voluntary, private lands conservation to a national audience. The response was tremendous – more than 5,000 partners submitted nearly 600 pre-proposals from all 50 states and each critical conservation area. Read more at blogs.usda.gov…

Texas quail season begins Oct. 25: Forecast improved over 2013

Picture © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Texas quail season opens statewide Oct. 25 and runs through Feb. 22, 2015. The daily bag limit for bobwhite, scaled (blue) and Gambel’s quail is 15, and the possession limit is 45. The bag limit is the maximum number that may be killed during the legal shooting hours in one day. Timely rainfall has helped bolster quail populations and should improve hunting opportunities over last year, according to the most recent quail forecast. Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for Oct. 22, 2014

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For the week of Oct 22, AgriLife Extension Agent reports included very good quality pecan harvest in Central Texas, prussic acid detected in some Coastal Bend johnsongrass fields, feral hog and army worm activity in East Texas, a good Upland cotton harvest, and a mixed bag in Rolling Plains pasture moisture. Read more…

More than 500 attend TSCRA Ranch Gatherings in Oklahoma and Texas

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More than 500 association members, friends and guests attended ranch gatherings in Bartlesville, Wagoner and Stillwater, Okla., and Brenham, Texas, last week. Read more…

Attend public scoping meeting on Dallas to Houston high-speed rail

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a 240-mile high-speed rail project from Dallas to Houston proposed by the Texas Central High-Speed Railway, LLC (TCR). Public input on the proposed project is requested, so please plan to attend for one of the six public scoping meetings taking place this week. Read more…

WTO again sides with Canada, Mexico on US COOL law

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) on October 20Drovers, as expected, ruled on the side of Canada and Mexico in the ongoing battle over the U.S. mandatory Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) law, saying some COOL requirements treat Canadian and Mexican livestock less favorable than U.S. livestock. Read more at Drovers CattleNetwork…

South Texas cattle program could reflect growing herd numbers

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Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel are hoping that with recent rains and improved pastures, South Texas cattle ranchers will start rebuilding herds sold off during the drought. Proof of renewed activity could come when ranchers start submitting their livestock in the annual Bull Gains Test, Heifer Development and Pen of Steers Program later this month. Read more…

Early voting begins today!

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Early Voting begins today and runs through Oct 31. The general election will be on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Casting your vote can make a difference and positively influence the future of the cattle industry. For more information, please visit the TSCRA Cattlemen Vote webpage where you will find a list of candidates recommended by the TSCRA PAC and information on voting locations. If you have any questions regarding voting, please contact TSCRA’s Austin office at 512-469-0171.