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Lesser prairie-chicken listing catches eye of state lawmakers

© Gerard Bertrand

Source: High Plains Journal

Kansas lawmakers watched with interest as the Sunflower State was one of five Western states recently notified the lesser prairie-chicken was being placed on the threatened species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more…

Cow/Calf Corner: Cattle and beef markets so far in 2014; Short-term calf removal

Photo courtesy Oklahoma State University

In the April 21 issue of Cow/Calf Corner newsletter from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Derrell Peel discusses how the first quarter of 2014 is shaping up for the cattle and beef markets and Glenn Selk talks how the short-term removal of a calf from its mother may have benefits for a certain number cows, especially those with body condition scores. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Saddle, calves missing in Oklahoma


TSCRA Special Ranger John Cummings, Dist. 5 in eastern Central Oklahoma, reports the theft of three calves from a property near Canadian in Pittsburg County. Some time between April 1 and 4, a thief or thieves used a pickup truck to steal two black and one red calf, each weighing approximately 300 pounds. The calves had no brands or ear tags.

Cummings also reports the theft of a 16″ Roo-Hide cutting saddle from a barn in Craig County near Afton on April 1. The saddle is smooth leather with no tooling, a smooth leather seat, square skirt and Luann-style cutting stirrups.

If you have any information regarding these thefts, please call Special Ranger Cummings at 918-342-0888.

Anonymous information may also be left on our Operation Cow Thief tip line at 888-830-2333. TSCRA offers a cash reward for information leading to the arrest and/or grand jury indictment of thieves.

Check Out Your Checkoff: Fueled by BEEF

BEEF team


The Texas BEEF Team was out in full-force throughout March making appearances in Houston, College Station, Bastrop, The Woodlands, Gonzales, Stonewall, San Antonio, Dallas and Seabrook. The team is a community of runners, triathletes and cyclists who recognize the nutritional benefits of lean beef and the vital role high-quality protein plays in their training. More than 260 runners, cyclists and triathletes proudly wore their “Fueled by Beef” jerseys and were visible advocates for the beef community. In addition to the race participants, more than 70 team members volunteered at the races serving at course water stops and cheering sections. Not only do dedicated team members wear their shirts on race day, but you can see them throughout Texas proudly wearing their shirts at the gym, outside while training and while volunteering in their community. There are currently more than 1,000 members on the Texas BEEF Team

BLM criticized for selling horses for slaughter


Source: AgWeb

The Bureau of Land Management is under fire again, but this time it’s not about going head-to-head with a Nevada rancher. Instead the issue revolves around selling horses for slaughter. The Bureau of Land Management rounded up a horse herd that roamed for decades on federal land in northwest Wyoming and handed the horses over to Wyoming officials. They, in turn, sold the herd to the highest bidder, a Canadian slaughterhouse. Read more…

Food companies unhappy with FDA feed proposal


Source: Politico

Expired marshmallows, broken crackers, stale donuts, even orange peels are among the billions of pounds of would-be waste that help feed livestock every year. By regularly diverting waste , the food industry prevents millions of tons of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere, but an obscure proposal under a 2011 food safety overhaul could inadvertently send much of the reusable food back to landfills. Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Southwest cheeseburgers

Texas Beef Council


Bring a little of the Southwest home with this burger paired with green onions and cumin. Read more…

US Drought Monitor, April 15, 2014



Warm temperatures and dry conditions were experienced over much of the south this week. Even as the week averaged out above normal, cold air at the end of the current U.S. Drought Monitor period pushed into the region with overnight lows well below freezing and snow in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. The dryness in the Texas panhandle allowed for D4 (exceptional drought) expansion this week. In central Texas, D2 (severe drought) was also expanded while an area of D3 (extreme drought) was improved slightly. Dryness in southern Texas also warranted the expansion and intensification of drought, with D1 (moderate drought) and D2 (severe drought) expanding. Another round of precipitation in the Big Bend of Texas allowed for D0 (abnormally dry) to improve while the extreme areas of northeast Texas also had D0 improve. Southern Oklahoma also had degradation of drought conditions, with D1 and D2 conditions expanding. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Cattle missing in Central, NW Oklahoma


TSCRA Special Ranger Kent Dowell, Dist. 3 in central Oklahoma, reports the April 9 theft of 50 head of black heifers from a property near Roff in Pontotoc County. The heifers weigh approximately 450 pounds, each, and are branded with a rail 3 – the number 3 with a long bottom running upwards – on the left hip. The heifers also have left ear tags bearing the name SHAD BEEBE and a phone number. If you have any information regarding this case, please call Special Ranger Dowell at 405-941-4117.

TSCRA Special Ranger Bart Perrier, Dist. 4 in northwest Oklahoma, reports 4 head of black cows with calves missing from a property near Bartlesville in Washington County. Some time between March 1 and April 16, the black Angus-cross cow-calf pairs are believed to have gone estray. The cows have a C+ brand on their left ribs and have yellow or white numbered ear tags. The calves are not branded and had not been processed. If you have any information regarding these cattle, please call Special Ranger Perrier at 918-275-4257.

USDA-APHIS: Cervid DPP testing temporarily unavailable


ue to an unexpectedly high number of requests to test cervid (deer) serum samples for bovine tuberculosis (TB) this spring, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has exhausted its supply of ChemBio DPP test kits. The kits are on back order and the manufacturer anticipates that they will be available in early May.

An interruption of about 4 weeks for DPP testing is anticipated at NVSL. Serum samples can still be submitted to NVSL during this time, but they will be frozen and tested when the kits are available. If testing is needed for movement prior to DPP kits being available again, traditional skin testing may be conducted. Otherwise, veterinarians should indicate on the APHIS 10-4 submission form that the testing is for movement, and those frozen samples will be prioritized when DPP tests resume.

If testing is needed for herd reaccreditation, timing of the accreditation will be based on the date the samples are received at NVSL, not the date the test is run.

Questions about submitted samples may be directed to Dr. Jeff Nelson, NVSL, at 515-337-7563 or; questions about herd reaccreditation or movement to Dr. Owen Henderson, VS Cervid Staff, at 970-494-7317 or

Weather will dictate cattle trends this year


Source: Drovers CattleNetwork…

Commercial cow slaughter has run at historically low levels so far this year, partly due to short supplies but also indicating ranchers intend to stabilize or expand their herds. The situation remains volatile though, and with drought appearing to be expanding in the West and Southwest, weather conditions will help determine the direction of herd numbers, according to the April Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Outlook report from USDA. Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for April 15, 2014


Source: AgriLife Today

Sub-freezing temperatures on the morning of April 15 put large acreages of Texas wheat at risk for freeze injury, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Temperatures were not as low in the Panhandle and Rolling Plains — mostly in the mid-20s — and wheat there was not as likely to have been injured as in the Central and West Central regions. Read more…

Signup begins Tuesday for USDA disaster assistance programs restored by farm bill

Farm Service Agency

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that starting Tuesday, April 15, eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of four programs administered by the Farm Service Agency. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014. Read more…

Canada to follow US lead on antibiotics


Source: Feedstuffs

In an April 11 statement, Health Canada’s Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) said it is now moving forward, in collaboration with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), to remove growth promotion/production claims of medically important antimicrobial drugs from food animal production. VDD and CAHI will also work on developing option to strengthen the veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in food animals. Read more…

Water police, part 3: EPA’s definition of ‘tributary’

Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Kay Ledbetter

Source: Farm Futures

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, commenting on the new definition of what constitutes a water of the US, says, “To be clear: our proposal does not add to or expand the scope of waters historically protected under the Clean Water Act.” However, accepting the government’s definition of ‘tributary’ would vastly expand its regulatory power. Read more…

Economics of using mesquite for electricity dependent on outside factors

Texas A&M AgriLife photo

Using mesquite biomass for electricity generation may become economically feasible if ecological and agricultural factors are considered, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research paper being published in the BioEnergy Research journal. The study estimated the long-term economic feasibility of mesquite biomass in electricity production under five different harvest scenarios. They examined variations in rates of standing biomass accumulation and tree density re-establishment after harvest using an above-ground-only or whole-plant harvest option. Read more…

TDA Market Recap, April 14, 2014

Texas Department of Agriculture

For the week ending April 12, 2014, feeder cattle prices reported by Texas auctions were mostly steady to $6 higher per hundredweight (cwt) compared to their previous sale. However, a few locations also noted lower prices, especially on feeders weighing 700 pounds or more. Texas direct feeder cattle prices were steady on cattle weighing less than 800 pounds, but lower on heavier weights. Tight supplies and strong demand continue to support the feeder cattle market. Read more…

TAHC: Tuberculin shortage resolved


Source: Texas Animal Health Commission

On March 26, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) sent out an announcement stating that the USDA was experiencing a nationwide shortage of tuberculin, the product used for tuberculosis testing. The TAHC has stated that that the shortage of tuberculin has now been resolved and the Texas State-Federal Lab is once again fully stocked with tuberculin.

Beef prices reach highest level since 1987


Source: The Associated Press

The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn’t likely anytime soon. A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987. Read more…

USDA announces funding to train and educate next generation of farmers and ranchers

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

Source: USDA

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced April 11 the availability of more than $19 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of agricultural producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).

“USDA is committed to the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers because they represent the future of agriculture and are the backbone of our rural economy. As the average age of farmers continues to rise, we have no time to lose in getting more new farmers and ranchers established.” said Vilsack. “Reauthorizing and expanding the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is one of the many resources the 2014 Farm Bill gave us to build America’s agricultural future. Through this program, we can build a diverse next generation of farmers and ranchers.”

BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help farmers, ranchers and managers of non-industrial private forest land – specifically those aiming to start farming and those who have been farming or ranching for 10 or fewer years. It is managed by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA will competitively award grants to organizations conducting programs Read more…