AgriLife Research study identifies contributing factors to groundwater table declines

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It’s no secret groundwater levels have declined across the state over the past eight decades, and that the primary reason was the onset of irrigation in agriculture and population growth. But a recent Texas A&M AgriLife Research study has identified other factors having an impact. The groundwater declines have been most severe in the past four decades, but the news isn’t all bad, according to Dr. Srinivasulu Ale, AgriLife Research geospatial hydrology assistant professor in Vernon. Read more…

US Drought Monitor for July 8, 2014

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A relatively narrow band of heavy rain was observed from near Lubbock to Wichita Falls in Texas, while a fairly concentrated area of heavy rain was reported from about Houston to Victoria in eastern Texas. About a dozen relatively minor revisions were made to the depiction in Texas this week, some degradations and some improvements. No changes were made in Oklahoma. Read more…

El Niño watch issued, still likely to emerge by fall

Picture courtesy noaa.gov

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño watch for the summer and fall months. An El Niño watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of El Niño conditions within the next six months. The National Centers for Environmental Prediction released their latest El Niño assessment on Thursday and predicts a 70 percent chance of weak to moderate El Niño conditions developing during the summer and close to 80 percent during the fall and early winter. An El Niño is a weather pattern that typically brings wetter weather to Texas. NOAA Climate Prediction Center | Click here for a story and video on what El Nino may bring to Texas at KXAN…

Rep. Graves files bill to stop all EPA regulations

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Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., introduced a bill Wednesday that would stop every regulation the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently developing and require a review of all existing rules. Graves’ legislation would prohibit EPA from taking action on any rules until its retroactive review is complete, and require congressional approval of all regulations that have an economic cost above $50 billion, including past ones. Read more at The Hill...

Darci Vetter in as chief US agricultural negotiator

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U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman welcomed the United States Senate’s vote July 9 confirming Darci L. Vetter as the U.S. chief agricultural negotiator. Vetter was nominated this January, citing her experience in numerous agriculture, trade, and diplomatic positions across several branches of the federal government – most recently as deputy under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Read more…

It’s what’s for dinner: Ginger-soy marinade

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Try this Asian-inspired marinade on your steaks for a different taste. Read more at beefitswhatsfordinner.com

Attend TSCRA's Ranch Rodeo in Levelland July 19

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Come see 10 ranch teams compete for bragging rights at the Caprock Ranch Rodeo in Levelland on July 19. Admission is $8 at the door and a coupon is available by clicking here. The rodeo is being held in conjunction with the Caprock Ranchers Horse Futurity and Sale at the Mallet Event Center. Rodeo begins at 7:00 p.m. Click here for more info…

Vesicular stomatitis diagnosed in Jim Wells County cattle

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Vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been diagnosed in two head of cattle at a property in Jim Wells County northwest of Mathis. The cattle were tested after their owner observed blistering and swelling on the animals’ muzzles and contacted their local veterinary practitioner. Testing at the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Plum Island, New York, confirmed the virus as the New Jersey serotype, which is the same serotype found in previously reported cases in Texas horses. The newly identified infected herd of cattle is currently under quarantine by the TAHC and will be closely monitored. Texas has a total of seven quarantined herds located in four counties. The first quarantined herd in Texas involving horses in Kinney County has been released. Read more…

USDA authorizes emergency haying of CRP acres for two additional counties

Farm Service Agency

USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA), Texas, announced July 8 that Ochiltree and Stonewall counties are authorized for emergency haying use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for fiscal year (FY) 2014. FSA’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The 60-day emergency haying period for Ochiltree and Stonewall County will end Aug. 31, 2014. Read more…

House committee takes step toward renewing highway trust fund

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The House Ways and Means Committee released a bipartisan plan on Tuesday that would provide federal financing for transportation projects through May 15, 2015, and would be the first step in replenishing the Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money next month unless Congress acts. The proposal, which would be financed in several unusual ways, is expected to generate about $10 billion to keep the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent on Aug. 1 and to pay for projects the fund does not cover. The committee will begin work on the bill Thursday. Click here to read more at The New York Times…

New hantavirus cases trigger precaution reminder

Department of State Health Services

Two recent cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) were confirmed in residents of the Texas Panhandle and South Plains, bringing the year’s total to three. Texas had one case in 2013. No cases were reported from 2009 to 2012. The disease is severe and sometimes fatal, prompting the Texas Department of State Health Services to remind people to protect themselves from the virus that causes HPS. Read more…

Texas crop, weather, for July 9, 2014

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Record high cattle and beef prices are actually making rebuilding herds a good bet, at least for some beef cattle producer. Contrary to what might be thought—that the high prices for calves and replacement heifers would discourage herd rebuilding—the out-of-sight, across-the-board record prices are encouraging rebuilding herds in some areas. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Cattle stolen in south Central Texas

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TSCRA Special Ranger Hal Dumas, Dist. 21 in North Texas, reports the theft of 15 head of cattle from a property in Robertson County. Some time between June 23 and 27 a thief or thieves broke a lock and loaded 14 bred black and black baldy motley-faced heifers and one black steer. The heifers have an LF brand on their left hip and the steer weighs approximately 500 pounds and has a slit and under bit right ear and a swallow fork left ear. If you have any information regarding this theft, please call Special Ranger Dumas at 979-828-5832.

Matagorda and contiguous counties named primary natural disaster areas

Farm Service Agency

USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Judith A. Canales announced that Matagorda County was declared a disaster on July 2, 2014, due to drought. Under this designation, which used the streamlined Secretarial Disaster Designation process, producers in any of the primary or contiguous disaster counties are eligible to apply for low interest emergency loans. The following four counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties: Brazoria, Calhoun, Jackson and Wharton. Read more…

Ranching event scheduled July 22 in Rosenberg

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TSCRA will host a ranch gathering Tuesday, July 22, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds (Building C) in Rosenberg. Dr. Jason Cleere, Texas A&M University associate professor and Extension beef cattle specialist, will give a live cattle demonstration at 4:00 p.m. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by a complimentary beef dinner. The event is free and anyone interested in the cattle industry is welcome to attend. Read more…

TDA Market Recap, July 7, 2014

Texas Department of Agriculture

Texas auctions quoted feeder cattle prices mostly steady to $5 higher per hundredweight (cwt) in a very light market test. Many locations were closed for the week for the July 4 holiday. Texas direct feeder cattle prices were $1 to $4 higher with the average for steers for current delivery setting new record highs. Fed cattle cash prices were up nearly $4 to a new record high of $158 per cwt. Wholesale beef values were $3 to $4 higher per cwt to also set new record highs. Prices throughout the beef complex continue to find strong support from the very tight cattle supplies and robust domestic demand across the sector. Read more…

TSCRA Crime Watch: Saddles stolen in Oklahoma

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TSCRA Special Ranger Bart Perrier, Dist. 4 in Oklahoma, reports the July 2 theft of two saddles from a trailer located at a property in Tulsa County near Collinsville. Stolen were a 2002 Trophy Tack roping saddle with roughout fenders stamped with “Tulsa 2002,” tooling on the cantle and skirt; and a second saddle with tooling on the cantle and skirt with roughout fenders and red and black rubber on the horn. If you have any information regarding this theft, please call Special Ranger 918-275-4257.

Could drones help fight wildfires?

Photo by Oklahoma State University

When it comes to analyzing dangerous wildfires, could a sensor attached to a drone ever replace a human eye connected to an intellect shaped by experience and intuition? That’s one of the many questions federal wildland firefighting officials are asking as drones become increasingly popular in warfare and commerce. Read more at the Missoulian

Farms, EPA on shaky ground

EPA

For years, farmers and ranchers have cast a wary eye toward new laws and regulations from Washington they fear will be costly and burdensome. Agricultural producers argue that they know the best way to take care of their land — not only to maximize production and, if they’re lucky, to make a profit. Farmers say their best practices also preserve the acreage on which they depend. Read more at the Argus Leader

Beef products recalled due to possible foreign matter contamination

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HEB Meat Processing, a San Antonio, establishment, is recalling approximately 75,465 pounds of various fresh beef products because they may be contaminated with metal shavings, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced July 3. Included in the recall are pre-seasoned and stew meat products. All products from the suspected dates of contamination were destroyed as a result. Read more…