Conservation assistance available for landowners along the San Antonio River

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Through the Gulf of Mexico Clean Waters Initiative, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas will provide technical and financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and other private landowners along the San Antonio River in Wilson, Karnes, Refugio, Goliad, Refugio, Victoria, Calhoun and Aransas counties. This assistance will help private landowners in the designated watersheds to develop a conservation plan and receive voluntary recommendations such as rotational grazing, and brush management to help improve the natural resources, including water quality and quantity that ultimately flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for May 20, 2015

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Continued heavy rains through the South, Central, Southeast, East and North regions of the state delayed hay harvesting. The current cool, extremely wet conditions in many areas of the state have led to a lot of cool-season crops producers haven’t been able to harvest. Read more…

Join us for TSCRA's Summer Meeting in Galveston

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TSCRA will host this year’s summer meeting at the Moody Gardens in Galveston June 25-27. Bring the family and enjoy all the island has to offer. The schedule has been modified to allow attendees to enjoy their time on the island and fish, play golf, or enjoy the beach. Read more…

Canada plans retaliation against US after WTO meat ruling

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Canada plans to seek permission to retaliate against U.S. imports after a World Trade Organization ruling that U.S. meat labeling laws are discriminatory, Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said on Monday. Read more at Reuters…  

USDA to provide $21M to mitigate drought

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced May 19 that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest approximately $21 million in additional farm bill dollars to help farmers and ranchers apply science-based solutions to mitigate the short and long term effects of drought. These investments will focus financial and technical assistance in the most severely drought-stricken areas in 8 states to help crop and livestock producers apply conservation practices that increase irrigation efficiency, improve soil health and productivity, and ensure reliable water sources for livestock operations. Read more…

WTO rules against US COOL requirements

Example label now available on ground products.

The World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body ruled against the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling rule for meats on Monday, upholding the compliance panel’s report. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis said the next step is retaliation. Read more…

Cattle herd finally enters expansion phase

Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns

The Jan. 1 cattle inventory came in at 89.8 million head, up 1.3 million head or 1.4 percent from a year ago. From the 2007 peak to Jan. 1, 2014, the cattle inventory had declined 8 million head to 88.5 million, the lowest total since 1952. The liquidation phase of this cycle was extended at least a couple of years by drought and high feed costs. However, signs of a transition to expansion began to emerge in mid-2013 and extended throughout 2014. As pasture conditions improved and forage supplies increased, producers sharply reduced cow cull rates and began to hold back heifers to place in the cow herd. And that impact was evident in the upturn just revealed, occurring sooner than most analysts expected. Read more…

Cow-Calf Corner: Avian influenza and meat markets; Another look at fall vs. spring calving

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the May 18 edition of Cow-Calf Corner, a weekly newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Agency, Derrell Peel discusses how the avian influenza outbreak among birds in the U.S. is affecting both poultry and red meat markets, and Glenn Selk takes a second look at fall vs. spring calving. Read more…

TSCRA hosts ranch gatherings in Abilene and Seguin

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TSCRA welcomed members, friends and guests to ranch gatherings in Abilene on May 8 and Seguin on May 15. An event planned for May 13 in Floresville was cancelled due to weather and will be rescheduled. Read more…

JBS CEO says Brazil close to exporting fresh beef to US

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Brazil is “closer than it had ever been” to exporting fresh beef to the U.S., the chief executive of Brazilian meat packer JBS SA said on Thursday, adding that he expects shipments to start later this year. The Brazilian agriculture ministry expects a formal announcement on meat exports to the U.S. when President Dilma Rousseff visits Washington next month. But even if the accord is concluded it would not be a “transformational event” for Brazil’s beef industry, said JBS chief executive Wesley Batista, who heads the world’s largest meat seller. Read more at Reuters…

Comptroller Hegar offers extension of tax deadline in areas affected by severe weather

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Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Friday, May 15 that businesses affected by the recent severe weather, tornadoes and floods in certain Texas counties can postpone filing and paying state taxes. The affected counties are Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines, Montague and Van Zandt. Businesses needing additional time to file or pay can simply call their office to request a 90-day extension. Read more…

Dealing with a flooded well after a storm

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Access to clean, safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene is one of the primary concerns immediately following a flood. For those who rely on private wells for their water supply, this means taking precautions to ensure the well is structurally sound and the water is not contaminated. Bacterial contamination is a pressing concern when it comes to flooded wells. There also could be chemical contaminants in the water. Read more…

10 opportunities ahead for beef producers

photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

Gary Smith asked a group of industry leaders to identify key opportunities for beef over the next decade.  The group represented cow-calf producers, cattle feeders, trade economists, beef packers, meat science and animal health experts. Read more at BEEF magazine…

Bobwhite chicks reported before Oklahoma flooding, hail

Picture © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Landowners reported seeing some early broods of bobwhite quail chicks in western Oklahoma during the first week of May, according to biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). But recent consecutive days of stormy weather, hail and flash flooding across parts of southern Oklahoma could prove to be a setback for early-season quail reproduction. Read more…

US Drought Monitor and Summary, May 12, 2015

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In Oklahoma and Texas, large-scale 1-2 category improvements were made after copious rains of 6-10 inches or more were recorded. Most areas in Texas and Oklahoma were good out to 24 months, but some residual dryness was still evident at 36 months. D4 has been completely eliminated from Texas and Oklahoma for the first time since July 2012. Read more…

May 2015 ENSO Forecast: Will this El Niño be an overachiever?

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According to the forecasters at the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, there’s a 90 percent chance that the current El Niño will continue through the summer. It is also estimated the chance that it will continue through the end of 2015 at greater than 80 percent. So what’s behind this confident forecast? Read more at Climate.gov…

Experts: recent rains end worst of years-old Texas drought

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Recent heavy rains have helped Texas emerge from the worst of the years-long drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday indicated Texas, for the first time since mid-2012, is no longer in the “exceptional drought” category. That’s the most dire of five drought designations on the weekly map by federal agencies. The drought has ravaged parts of Texas since 2011. Sections of the state were still listed Thursday as abnormally dry or in moderate, severe or extreme drought. Read more at the Longview News-Journal…

COOL retaliation and its impact on the US

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body will soon rule on Canada and Mexico’s case against the U.S. on the mandatory Country of Origin Label (COOL) requirement on muscle cuts of beef and pork. This is the fourth and final decision by the WTO, and in the three previous decisions it has ruled against the U.S. COOL law. If the U.S. loses this case, Canada and Mexico have indicated their intention to retaliate on hundreds of U.S. products, ranging from meat and fruit to jewelry, furniture, and biofuels. Pending arbitration, retaliation claimed by Canada and Mexico could be economically devastating. Read more from the House Committee on Agriculture…

It’s what’s for dinner: Crock pot roast

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If rainy weather has you foregoing the outside grill, try this easy, popular crock pot roast.  Read more at food.com…

USDA invests $8.5 million to help conserve water, improve water quality in Ogalalla Aquifer

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday, May 14 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $6.5 million in the Ogallala Aquifer region this year to help farmers and ranchers conserve billions of gallons of water and improve water quality. Funding will be targeted to seven priority areas to support their primary water source and strengthen rural economies. “This funding assists conservationists and agricultural producers in planning and implementing conservation practices that conserve water and improve water quality,” said Vilsack. “This work not only expands the viability of the Ogallala Aquifer but also helps producers across the Great Plains strengthen their agricultural operations.” Underlying the Great Plains in eight states, the Ogallala supports nearly one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton and cattle produced in Read more…