Refiners press Obama to lower renewable fuel mandate

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Refiners are urging President Obama to scale back the amount of biofuel that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply for 2014. In a letter to Obama, refiners argue that increasing the amount of ethanol and other biofuels in the rule would increase gasoline prices, the Houston Chronicle reports. Read more at The Hill…

USDA announces measures to help farmers diversify weed control efforts

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Oct. 15 several steps that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking to address the increase of herbicide-resistant weeds in U.S. agricultural systems. Read more…

Nilgai control plays a part in fever tick eradication program

The fever tick is a major concern to the livestock and wildlife industry. (Texas Animal Health Commission photo)

The population of Nilgai antelope in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge property in Cameron County is being cut in an effort to control the spread of cattle fever ticks that they carry. In cooperation with refuge personnel, the Texas Animal Health Commission is conducting the effort to lower the Nilgai population. “Our primary concern is the safety and health of livestock in Texas, and Nilgai are a host for the cattle fever tick, which is something we have worked very hard to eradicate…” Read more at the Valley Central News…

It’s what’s for dinner: Beef and spinach breakfast sandwich

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Make beef a tasty start to your day with this beef, spinach and egg breakfast sandwich. Read more at txbeef.org…

Ranch gatherings to be held in Buffalo and Fort Stockton on Oct. 21

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TSCRA will host ranch gatherings at the Pecos County Civic Center in Fort Stockton and Buffalo Livestock Marketing in Buffalo on Tuesday, Oct. 21. A free beef dinner will be served and attendees will hear from their local TSCRA Special Ranger about recent law enforcement activities and how they can keep their livestock and ranch equipment secure. Association staff will also give an update on important legislative issues. These events are free and anyone interested in cattle ranching is invited. Read more…

Five Nations Beef Alliance meeting concludes with statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership

Five Nations Beef Alliance

The Five Nations Beef Alliance concluded a successful meeting and tour in South Texas last week, capped by the unanimous endorsement of a public statement calling for all Trans-Pacific Partnership nations to support ‘gold standard outcomes’ for beef that do not sacrifice important reforms for political expediency.

The annual meeting, hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, unites beef industry leaders from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. This year, members of the group toured several Texas beef value chain operations, including ranches, a feedyard facility and retail partners. TSCRA officers also participated in the meeting. Read more…

Calves less than 12 months of age no longer sampled for BSE

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Beginning Sept. 24, 2014, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) will stop collecting samples from calves less than 12 months of age as part of its ongoing BSE surveillance testing.  This is a change from the current process where cattle of any age showing central nervous system (CNS) signs are tested for BSE. Read more at Feedstuffs…

Ranchers reminded of key factors when considering restocking beef cattle

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Ranchers should be mindful of three important components of pasture health when considering restocking beef cattle, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Dr. Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage specialist in College Station, said water, fertilizer and protection are important factors to growing and maintaining forages in pastures.  Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for Oct. 14, 2014

High corn yields in Texas and other states are drastically dropping prices and raising stocks. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns)

Though this year’s predicted bumper feed grains yields are driving down prices farmers see, the long-term result could add stability to what has been a very volatile market. There has been a dramatic increase in prices over the last several years because of increased demand that has led to lower stocks, which has stimulated growers to plant more acres. Recent droughts cut stocks even further, but this year, because of a dramatic increase in production due to record yields in U.S. corn and soybeans, there has been a “rebound” in stock levels.  Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Cattle missing in Navarro County

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TSCRA Special Ranger Jimmy Dickson, Dist. 14, reports 4 heifers missing from a property near Rice in Navarro County. The cattle went missing some time between Sept. 9 and 11 and were possibly originally estray, but now may be stolen. Missing are a heavy bred Brahman heifer, a bred Hereford heifer and 4 black Angus heifers. Some had orange ear tags. If you have any information regarding these cattle, please call Special Ranger Dickson at 903-586-8733.

Texas sees significant decline in rural land

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Mark Kelley.

The vast majority of Texas land — 83 percent — is part of a farm, ranch or forest. But Texas is losing such rural land more than any other state, in large part because of the exploding growth of metropolitan areas, according to newly released data. Scientists say that has serious implications for Texas’ water supply because such acreage — known as “working lands” or “open space” lands — helps the state retain water resources by letting rain infiltrate the ground and circulate into aquifers. Read more at The Texas Tribune…

Anthrax confirmed in Jim Wells County cow

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Anthrax has been confirmed in a cow approximately 10 miles north of Premont in Jim Wells County. This is the first documented case in the county since the late 1950′s. This is also the first case confirmed in cattle this year in Texas. Anthrax cases in Texas are often confined to a triangular area bounded by the towns of Uvalde, Ozona and Eagle Pass. This area includes portions of Crockett, Val Verde, Sutton, Edwards, Kinney and Maverick counties. Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism. A vaccine is available for use in susceptible livestock. Read more…

Major supermarket chains changed how they label meat, surprising customers and USDA

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In recent weeks, Giant stores nationwide changed their labeling procedures, making it difficult for customers to know the quality of meat. Rather than providing different options, the company labeled meat simply as “USDA graded” — a description that applies to all but a tiny amount of meat approved for sale in the United States. Larry Meadows, a USDA official who is one of the people charged with overseeing the nation’s meat supply, said in an interview that the action was problematic. “We’ve never seen anyone use anything like the ‘USDA graded’ label before,” said Meadows, associate deputy administrator of the USDA’s livestock, poultry and feed program. “The label is truthful, but it’s also misleading.” Read more at The Washington Post…

TDA Market Recap, Oct. 13, 2014

Texas Department of Agriculture

For the week ending Oct. 11, 2014, feeder cattle prices quoted by Texas auctions were mostly steady to $5 higher per hundredweight (cwt) compared to their previous sale, with some locations as much as $10 higher. Demand was strongest for lighter weight offerings to turn out on fall and winter pastures. Texas direct feeder cattle sales were mostly $3 to $6 higher. Fed cattle cash sales were $2 higher. Wholesale beef values were higher. Limited supplies continue to support prices throughout the cattle-beef complex. Beef export sales for the week were up 18 percent from the previous week and five percent higher than the prior four-week average. Export shipments were up two percent from the previous week and five percent above the average. Read more…

Ranching 101 is hitting the road!

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You’ve asked for it! TSCRA’s popular Ranching 101 program will be held in San Antonio on Oct. 29 at Aggie Park. Are you new to the business or just want to sharpen your skills? We’ll go in depth on animal health and marketing techniques for the new and small rancher. Registration is free to members and $20 for non-members. We’ll kick off at 9:00 a.m. and wrap up at 4:00 p.m. Lunch is included. Make plans to stick around for dinner and our TSCRA Ranch Gathering that evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. To register, click here. Click here for directions. Ranching 101 is sponsored by Lone Star Ag Credit. Read more…

Governors, attorneys general say CWA rule a legal threat to farmers

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Since the release of the proposed waters of the U.S. rule, the EPA has maintained it is simply codifying those waters that already are jurisdictional, and that it narrows down the scope of those waters covered with new definitions, and farmers have nothing to fear if they don’t already need permits. A group of governors and state attorneys general are unconvinced. Read more at DTN/The Progressive Farmer…

Senators join last-minute push to keep COOL

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September came and went with no final announcement on the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute held up at the World Trade Organization (WTO). While there has been some speculation among stakeholders and a preliminary document shared with the governments involved, the final decision has yet to be announced. The WTO is deciding on whether the current COOL rule is in compliance with U.S. trade obligations involving its two largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. Last week, a group of 32 senators sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and Ranking Member Richard Shelby urging them to reject any efforts that would undermine, weaken, or suspend COOL through the appropriations process. Read more at the Western Livestock Journal…

EPA water rule pits liberal billionaires against rural farmers

USDA/NRCS photo by Jeff Vanuga.

What do left-wing billionaires and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) definition of “navigable waters” have in common? More than the former would care to admit about the latter. Read more at The Hill…

Cow-Calf Corner: Oklahoma October rain = wheat pasture = stocker demand; Prussic acid poisoning is a concern after a light frost

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the Oct. 13 issue of Cow/Calf Corner, a newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Derrell Peel discusses the interaction between October moisture, wheat pasture progress and stocker demand; and Glenn Selk talks prussic acid poisoning after a light frost. Read more…

Build a pond once, the right way

Picture courtesy Oklahoma State University

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right. This old adage rings true for pond construction as much as anything. Read more…