Sky-high power rates spark outrage in rural Texas

Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma State University

Some utilities customers in homes, businesses and churches in rural West and North Texas are contemplating tough budget choices after nearly two years of paying the highest electric transmission and distribution rates in Texas. Read more at The Texas Tribune…

Lower input costs expected for livestock, poultry

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Lower costs and higher production are on the horizon for the livestock and poultry sectors, according to Dr. Steve Meyer, vice president of Pork Analysis for EMI Analytics. Read more at USAgNet…  

Cow-Calf Corner: Winter storms, cattle on feed and more data to come; Repeatability of calving difficulty

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the Jan. 25 edition of Cow-Calf Corner, a weekly newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension, Derrell Peel discusses how Winter Storm Jonas, the January Cattle of Feed numbers and other data-rich reports could affect cattle markets; and Glenn Selk talks calving difficulty in young cows and if it’s a problem that can affect future productivity. Read more…

US Drought Monitor and Summary, Jan. 19, 2016

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Outside of the coastal ranges from northern California up to the Olympic Peninsula (along with the Sierra-Nevada), much of the rest of the Lower 48 states had a dry week. Read more…

6 reasons to trust your grocer's meat case

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Many attempts have been made in the media to paint an ugly picture of safe, wholesome meat that is available at affordable price points. In this article, BEEF magazine‘s Amanda Radke lists 6 reasons consumers can trust their local supermarket’s meat options. Read more at BEEF magazine…

Rattlesnake ‘gassing’ issue stumps state working group

Picture courtesy flickr user Mike Johnston

More than a year after Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioners punted on a controversial proposal to ban the use of gasoline fumes to lure rattlesnakes out of hibernation, a working group they appointed to examine the matter has failed to come to any real consensus. At issue is the practice of “gassing,” in which gasoline is pumped or sprayed into caves and crevices to drive snakes from their winter dens for capture. Read more at The Austin American-Statesman…

Navy deploys fleet to Asia-Pacific powered by beef-fat blend biofuel

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin

The dream of the Great Green Fleet came to life Wednesday as the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis left on its latest deployment, with five biofuel-powered ships alongside for the first time. The destroyers Stockdale, Chung Hoon and William P. Lawrence, along with the cruiser Mobile Bay and the fast combat support ship Rainier, are all running off a biofuel blend made from tallow, or rendered beef fat. Read more at Navy Times…

Texas crop, weather, for Jan. 20, 2016

Snow cover from the winter storm Goliath persisted for weeks in the Texas Panhandle, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county agent reports. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Dr. Ted McCollum

A further strengthening of the current El Niño will likely mean wetter-than-normal conditions continue into spring, according to Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist and Regents Professor at Texas A&M University, College Station. As for summer conditions, long-range predictions are always a gamble, he said. But there is some evidence that the current super-strong El Niño will be followed by its counterpoint, a strong La Niña that could mean next winter will be dry. Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Breakfast skillet beef tacos

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Leftover roast or steak makes these delicious breakfast tacos a snap. Read more at beefitswhatsfordinner.com…

President vetoes WOTUS resolution of disapproval

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After bi-partisan passage in both chambers of Congress, President Obama vetoed Senate Joint Resolution 22, disapproval of the EPA’s “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Philip Ellis said this is a clear indication the President does not understand the role America’s cattle producers, land owners and state governments play in preserving our natural resources. Read more…

January World Ag Supply and Demand and how it relates to 2016 cattle markets

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The United States Department of Agriculture released its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on Tuesday that give a closer look into beef supplies and price projections for 2016. While the numbers are an update from a month ago, they are still very helpful in formulating expectations for the year ahead. Read more at Drovers CattleNetwork…

USDA revises regulations for exporting live animals to provide additional flexibility

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USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a final rule Jan. 19 updating its regulations for the export of live animals. The updated regulations provide additional flexibility and better facilitate exports in today’s business environment, while continuing to ensure the health and welfare of the livestock. The new regulations update most of the requirements for export certifications, tests, and treatments. Read more…

What's ahead for the beef industry in 2016? 10 megatrends to watch

Picture courtesy Noble Foundation

We will remember 2015 as the second-best year ever for cow-calf profitability, with 2014 notching the record. What’s ahead for 2016? BEEF Magazine lists 10 megatrends to watch in the coming year. Read more at BEEF magazine…

Calving tips: Increased energy management is crucial

Since extremely low temperatures disrupt the grazing patterns of cattle, it is important to provide spring calving herds with supplementary, high-energy forages.

Most spring-calving beef cows are now in their third trimester, or they will be calving soon in late January or February. Since these months also tend to bring on the most volatile and extreme cold periods, cold stress can add another level of needs to their energy requirements. According to K-State Research and Extension beef systems specialist Justin Waggoner, cattle producers need to provide their spring-calving herds with proper nutrients and energy during extreme cold temperatures; the focus should be the use of high-energy forages when available. Read more…

Farm Service Agency expands microloans to purchase land and improve property

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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations. Read more…

Weather Channel, RFD-TV announce partnership

Photo courtesy Texas A&M AgriLife

The RFD-TV / The Weather Channel Farm & Ranch Forecast is a new tool to assist those involved with production agriculture as they make the decisions so vital for the success of their operation. The daily feature will begin by delivering North America’s most accurate seven-day forecast. It combines RFD-TV’s vast knowledge of the variety and needs of worldwide agriculture with The Weather Channel’s unmatched technology and production abilities. Read more at USAgNet…

FAA releases B4UFLY smartphone app for safe drone use

Picture courtesy Ohio State University Extension

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)has release B4UFLY, a mobile application to ensure safe drone operation, following an initial beta testing period. B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The app is now available on Apple and Android devices. Read more…

Cattle Raisers Trading Company after holiday clearance

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Cattle Raisers Trading Co. is making room for new products in 2016, so that means deep discounts on a variety of products for our members and friends! All items have already been marked down and moved to our clearance section. Take advantage of this sale now before everything is gone. Discounts will not be applied to gate sign sales. Visit Cattle Raisers Trading Co. website for more info…  

Cow-Calf Corner: What cow-calf producers should maximize; The 3 stages of parturition (calving)

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

On the Jan. 18 edition of Cow-Calf Corner, a newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Derrell Peel talks where to look to optimize your cow-calf operation; and Glenn Selk discusses the stages of parturition, or calving. Read more…

AMS rescinds grass-feed, naturally raised beef label

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The U.S. Department of Agricultures Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) rescinded the labeling standard for grass-fed meat, which was developed over the course of four years and finalized in 2006 with the support of national farm and consumer organizations. Administrators said the decision was an internal USDA legal decision stating that AMS never had the legal authority to establish the standard in the first place. Read more at Feedstuffs…

Disaster assistance programs available to ranchers affected by Winter Storm Goliath

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USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following winter storms or similar qualifying natural disasters such as Winter Storm Goliath. Read more…

Investigation underway in burglary of Raywood Livestock Market

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TSCRA Special Ranger Jimmy Belt and Liberty County Sheriff’s Office authorities are investigating the theft of approximately $85,000 of equipment from the Raywood Livestock Market southeast of Houston. According to Belt, stolen was a GMC diesel truck, a 20-foot lowboy trailer, a Bobcat skid-steer and a Kabota Excavator. The property was eventually recovered from multiple properties in South Liberty County. Read more…

Tim Pennell, Cattlemen’s Beef Board member and TSCRA leader, learned business the hard way

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Drovers CattleNetwork’s Chuck Jolley talks to Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) member and TSCRA Director Tim Pennell about his beginnings in the cattle business and what he’s learned over the years. Pennell also talks his service with the CBB and where it’s headed. Read more at Drovers CattleNetwork…

Low market prices already affecting 2016 crop outlook

Modular bales of cotton awaited ginning last year at the Port of Harlingen.  AgriLife Communications photo by Rod Santa Ana

As Rio Grande Valley farmers prepare to plant seeds in the coming weeks for this year’s row crops, many are scratching their heads over what to plant, according to Brad Cowan, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Hidalgo County. “Commodity prices are not good,” he said. “That poses a huge challenge; growers don’t know what to plant. Right now they’re hoping something will happen to bump up the price on a crop before planting.” Read more…

US Drought Monitor and Summary, Jan. 12, 2016

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Portions of east Texas, east Kansas, southeast Nebraska, and the Texas Panhandle that were in the wettest part of the storm track got more than 200 percent of normal precipitation for the week. Temperatures were generally 3-6 degrees cooler than normal, as a good push of arctic air made it into the region. No changes were made in the High Plains or South on this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor. Read more…

TSCRA statement on House passage of WOTUS disapproval resolution

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TSCRA President Pete Bonds made the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.J. Res. 22, a Waters of the U.S. disapproval resolution: “TSCRA appreciates the continued efforts of House leaders to scrap the flawed WOTUS rule, which threatens the private property rights of landowners,” said Bonds. “Delivering this resolution to the president’s desk sends a clear message that we are fed up with government regulations like WOTUS. TSCRA encourages the president to sign this resolution and will continue fighting against government regulations that take away the private property rights our country was built on.”

Funds available for Funds available for prescribed burning near Sam Houston National Forest

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The Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership is providing $60,000 to landowners near the Sam Houston National Forest for prescribed burning. The funds reimburse eligible landowners who have taken measures to reduce grass and brush, enhance ecosystems and protect homes and communities from wildfire through strategically-planned prescribed burning. Eligible landowners must live within 30 miles of the Sam Houston National Forest. Priority areas consist of Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Walker counties. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15 Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Cowboy beef stew

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Warm Cowboy Beef Stew goes great on a cold January evening. Read more at txbeef.org…

TSCRA welcomes new Dist. 20 special ranger

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Former Travis County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kenny Murchison, of Lockhart, Texas, has joined the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) as a Special Ranger for District 20, which includes Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Washington and Williamson counties. Murchison replaced former TSCRA Special Ranger Doug Hutchison who recently retired. Read more…

Bullet train opponents reach out to Japanese ambassador

photo courtesy jrcentral

Thirty-three East Texas officials sent a letter to the Japanese ambassador to the United States on Monday to express their opposition to a private Texas firm’s proposed high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston that has strong ties to a Japanese company. Read more at The Texas Tribune…

TWDB Board authorizes contracts to study brackish aquifers in Texas

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exas Water Development Board has authorized staff to negotiate and execute contracts to study brackish aquifers in Texas. An additional project, the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer project, will be completed through an interagency contract with the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin. Staff received approval for the interagency contract from the board on Oct. 13, 2015. Work on the projects will begin immediately after the contracts are executed, which is planned for the end of January or early February 2016. Read more…

New vaccine may control cattle ticks

picture courtesy USDA-ARS

The economic impact of cattle fever ticks, including the southern cattle fever tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, was so severe in the late 1800s that the U.S. Department of Agriculture started an eradication program in the early 1900s to eliminate the deadly disease bovine babesiosis, which is transmitted by this parasitic pest. Although cattle fever ticks were declared eradicated in the United States in 1943, today they are still common in Mexico and can hitchhike on stray livestock, white-tailed deer, and other wildlife that cross the Rio Grande River into Texas. At the Agricultural Research Service’s Tick and Biting Fly Research Unit in Kerrville, Texas, scientists are looking for ways to get rid of this pest for good. A new vaccine may help. USDA Read Read more…

TSCRA’s Richard Thorpe commends 2015 Dietary Guidelines for reaffirming role of lean beef

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TSCRA First Vice President Richard Thorpe, rancher and physician, talked to Oklahoma Farm Report’s Ron Hays about the 2015 Dietary Guidelines on last week’s Beef Buzz radio show. Click here to read more and listen to the show…

US beef exports on the rebound

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U.S. pork exports continued to gain momentum in November while beef exports also showed signs of a rebound. Pork export volume was up 8 percent year-over-year while beef exports were the largest since June. Read more…

Texas using aircraft to fight rabies in wild animals

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State health officials this week are starting another round of air drops over a 17-county area of Central and southeast Texas to control rabies in wild animals. The Texas Department of State Health Services started its Oral Rabies Vaccination Program in 1995 for coyotes and gray foxes. It’s hoped the effort from aircraft that begin taking off Tuesday from La Grange also can eradicate rabies in skunks. The 1.4 million vaccine packets are coated with what state officials call “tasty fishmeal crumbles” wildlife eat to become immune to rabies. Watch the video or read more…

Bat monitoring and surveillance efforts underway in Oklahoma

Researcher Bill Puckette checks crevices in the cave wall for hibernating bats. Picture courtesy Jena Donnell/ODWC

Groups of bat biologists and cavers are quietly filtering into Oklahoma’s caves this month to monitor the hibernating bat populations found within. These counts enable biologists to determine which bat species are using the caves, as well as how many. It also gives them a look at how the wintering populations vary year to year with minimal disturbance to the hibernating bats. Populations will also be tested for the presence of white nose syndrome, an often fatal disease that affects hibernating bats. Read more…

Services announced for retired TSCRA Special Ranger Jesus “Chick” Saenz

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Retired TSCRA Special Ranger Jesus “Chick” Saenz passed away Jan. 8 after a short illness. Visitation will be held Monday, Jan. 11, from 5:00 to 9:00, with a Rosary at 7:00 at Garza Funeral Home, 4571 S FM 1329, San Diego, Texas. Funeral Mass is planned for Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 10:00 a.m. at Santa Rosa De Lima Catholic Church, 203 Saint Rosa De Lima Street in Benavides. Interment will follow at the Rancho Maria Cemetery in Benavides. Click here to read a full obituary…

USDA disaster designation requested for West Texas counties hit by blizzard

Picture courtesy Oklahoma State University

Gov. Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller have urged USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to grant a disaster designation for 11 West Texas counties hit by Winter Storm Goliath. A USDA disaster designation would make federal assistance, such as emergency loans, available to agricultural producers who have suffered losses in the designated counties, as well as in counties that are contiguous to a designated county. The designation has been requested for Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Deaf Smith, Hale, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Parmer, Terry and Yoakum counties. Read more…

Cow-Calf Corner: International beef trade situation improving; Timing is everything when it comes to colostrum

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the Jan. 11 edition of Cow-Calf Corner, a weekly newsletter from The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Derrell Peel talks international beef trade; and Glenn Selk discusses the best time to use colostrum on baby calves. Read more…

Expect colder January and February says Evelyn Browning-Garris

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Parts of the Cattle Raisers membership area are in for a colder-than-average January and February, says Evelyn Browning-Garriss, historical climatologist Given the long-time good relationship between Browning Media and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Browning-Garriss and her colleagues are providing an exclusive look at what we might expect from the weather in the next 60 days. Read more …