Motivating landowners to adopt best management practices

USDA/NRCS photo by Jeff Vanuga.

For years, natural resources professionals have worked to bridge the gap between research and application by establishing proven best management practices (BMPs) that benefit farms, ranches and working lands as well as improve water quality and quantity. But what motivates some landowners to adopt these practices while others do not? Read more from the Texas Water Resources Institute…

TSCRA prepares for 84th Texas legislative session

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On Jan. 13, 2015, the 84th session of the Texas Legislature is kicking off in Austin. The state House and Senate are welcoming back many seasoned legislators, but also adding many freshmen to the halls of the Capitol. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) is looking forward to being on the ground working at the state Capitol to make sure cattle raisers and landowners are properly represented. Read more…

Leading food organizations promote practical nutrition guidance

Photo © 2012 Cattlemen's Beef Board

A coalition of 18 food organizations announced Wednesday the formation of a new Back to Balance Coalition aimed at promoting balanced, practical and achievable dietary guidance. The coalition formed in response to public policy efforts occurring at the local, state and national levels to malign and restrict certain foods when both scientific research and the nutrition community say such efforts are unlikely to work.  Read more at Drovers/CattleNetwork…

Forage testing shows low nutrients going into winter

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Forage testing can help producers identify deficiencies in supplies so they can determine nutrient supplements to counter what could be another harsh winter. Insufficient forage nutrition this winter could lead to poor body condition of cows, calving challenges, reduced calf health, longer post-partum intervals, lower conception rates, increased age at puberty and reduced fertility in bulls. Read more at USAgNet…

Texas crop, weather, for Dec. 10, 2014

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Depending upon the weather and consumer tolerance for high prices, 2015 could be a make-it or break-it year for beef producers, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. It’s all about supply and demand. In Texas and the rest of the U.S., cow inventory numbers are down, largely due to recent droughts. This means calf supplies are down as well. Read more…

Japan's soaring demand for cow tongue drives US exports

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After Japan last year loosened restrictions on the age of cattle it would accept, U.S. beef-tongue exports soared by 150 percent in 2013 over the previous year, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. They’re on pace to go even higher this year. Read more at mcclatchydc.com…

More beef from down under set for US tables as herd drops

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Exports to the U.S. from the third-largest shipper will jump 35 percent to 360,000 metric tons in 2014-2015, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said in a report. That’s the highest since 2004-2005. The U.S. cattle herd started the year at the smallest since 1951 after years of drought forced producers to cull herds, and cattle futures reached a record last month. Prices may rise the most among agricultural commodities next year amid tight supply and strong demand, according to Rabobank International. Read more at Bloomberg…

AgriLife Extension entomologists brace for possible new ag pest

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo courtesy Dr. Bill Ree

The tawny crazy ant, a relative newcomer to the U.S., is expanding its range, causing concern among Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists. The tawny crazy ant is an invasive species that came into Texas a little over 10 years ago in the Houston area and has been a problem in some residential areas there since that time. Though much of the pest’s impact has so far been in urban areas, but what is known about the ant could mean a potential for it to become a significant threat to crops, if its range spreads. Read more…

TSCRA cap and tumbler sale

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Round out your Christmas shopping with a TSCRA cap, coffee tumbler or Christmas ornament. The blue posted sign and charcoal stitch caps are great for Cattle Raisers of all ages and our TSCRA coffee tumblers are durable and perfect for everyday use. Plus, don’t forget to trim your Christmas tree with our 2014 TSCRA Christmas ornament! Visit tscra.org and click on the Cattle Raisers Trading Co. button or call 800-242-7820 for ordering information. The deadline to make Christmas orders is Dec. 18.   

Fort Worth Stock Show grounds pass deadline is Dec. 31; Ranch Rodeo tickets going fast


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As a TSCRA member, you’re welcome to 2 grounds passes to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Jan. 16 to Feb. 7, 2015. The passes are good for the entire run of the 2015 Fort Worth Stock Show, a $20 value for everyday you visit! You will also have the opportunity to enjoy our Ranching Heritage Weekend and purchase tickets for the Ranch Rodeo. A limited number of Saturday ranch rodeo tickets are available – please call 800-242-7820 to purchase tickets for that performance. Tickets to the Ranch Gathering party and Friday rodeo may be purchased online. This offer expires Dec. 31, 2014. Forms postmarked after Dec. 31 will not be accepted. For more information visit tscra.org or call 800-242-7820.

Vilsack says immigration reform critical for future of food supply

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration will provide some help to the agriculture industry, but he says Congressional action is needed to make sure U.S. farmers have the legal workforce they need. Read more at Agri-Pulse

Cow-Calf Corner: Cattle market factors to watch in 2015; Breeding cows and heifers on wheat pasture

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the Dec. 8 edition of Cow-Calf Corner, a newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Derrell peel discusses the market factors to keep an eye on in 2015 and Glenn Selk talks about breeding cows and heifers on wheat pasture and what the evidence shows for their breeding performance. Read more…

Don't let health insurance open enrollment deadlines sneak up on you

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Open enrollment for health insurance began Nov. 15, 2014, and ends Feb. 15, 2015. Applications for new policies must be turned in to Cattle Raisers Insurance staff by the fifteenth of the month to get insurance for the next month. For example, an application must be turned in by Dec. 15, 2014, for a Jan. 1, 2015, effective date. We don’t want you to miss the January deadline! For more information about your health insurance options, contact Michele Woodham at mwoodham@tscra.org; Tina Finicum at tfinicum@tscra.org; Julissa Chubbs at jchubbs@tscra.org; or call 800-252-2849

New leadership represents cattle producers on Texas Beef Council board

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The Texas Beef Council’s (TBC) newly elected board of directors began the new fiscal year leading the state’s producer-run beef marketing organization. The TBC board of directors consists entirely of beef producers providing representation of the state through organization affiliation. Named to the board are Chairman Dave Edmiston and Vice Chairman Austin Brown III. Read more…

US Drought Monitor and Summary for Dec. 2, 2014

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In Texas, drought impacts are mostly longer-term, and with temperatures generally cooler than normal, conditions are slow to change. One exception is over parts of northeast Texas, which have accumulated significant precipitation deficits (greater than 6 inches) over the last 90-days. This warranted a one-category degradation in the drought depiction, from abnormal dryness (D0) to moderate drought (D1), for the counties of Fannin, Lamar, Red River, and much of Bowie. Read more at droughtmonitor.unl.edu…

Cattlemen excited by legislative prospects in new Congress

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New Congress created by midterm elections will be much more positive for the U.S. cattle industry than the current legislative makeup. Read more at BEEF magazine…

House approves higher section 179 levels, tax extenders for 2014

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The U.S. House Wednesday in late afternoon discussion agreed to extend by a 378-46 vote a host of expired tax provisions, including higher section 179 expensing levels, retroactively for 2014. Agriculture has closely watched the section 179 provision, which in previous years has allowed farm businesses to take the full depreciation deduction of items in the current tax year, with a maximum deduction of $500,000 and a phase-out threshold of $2 million. Scheduled to fall to $25,000 with a $200,000 phase-out for 2014, the House’s bill will return the deduction to previous levels for the 2014 tax year. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. Read more at Farm Futures…

Daily Livestock Report for 12-4-14: Fed cattle futures decline below 50-day MA

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Fed cattle futures dropped sharply yesterday and there was plenty of speculation about what drove this recent pullback. Read more at the Daily Livestock Report… (PDF download)…

Steak lovers squeezed with record beef premium

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Meat shoppers will have more reasons than ever to steer clear of steaks as the cost of U.S. beef rises to a record compared with pork. Read more at Bloomberg…

Keep germs out of your expanding herd

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin

As cattle prices go up, more and more producers are thinking of increasing their herd size. For many, this increase comes from outside sources- like a neighbor, sale barn, or video auction. What can you do to protect your herd from outside diseases brought in by new cattle? Any time animals are co-mingled there is an increased risk of introducing disease into the herd or group of animals. While this risk cannot be totally eliminated, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of risk and minimize the threat. Read more at Drovers CattleNetwork…