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Cellulosic Ethanol Conversion

Updated: 08/28/2007 - Barring any weather catastrophes, a record amount of corn will be produced in the U.S. this year, trying to meet the increased demand brought about by ethanol production. Plant breeders and geneticists are busy improving other crops to make them better suited for eventual conversion into ethanol.

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Horse Hay

Updated: 08/28/2007 - Back-to-back droughts have left most barns empty because there hasn’t been any carry-over of hay due to the strong demand and weak supply. With adequate rainfall this spring a lot of grass will be cut that won’t be what’s classified as horse quality hay.

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Hay Prices

Updated: 08/28/2007 - Back to back droughts have produced severe hay shortages for area ranchers and although this year’s rainfall has gotten hay production off to a good start, we talked with a hay producer who says he sees no relief in sight for record high forage prices.

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Spring Hay Production

Updated: 08/28/2007 - The production of forage in the Brazos Valley has been severely limited for the last two years, but with the rains we received over the winter and for the last two months we may have an opportunity to produce a pretty good hay crop.

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Ag & The Legislature

Updated: 08/28/2007 - About two weeks ago a group of Brazos Valley agricultural producers got together and made a trip to the state capitol to visit with Texas legislators about how agriculture was faring in the 2007 legislative session.

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Building Reservoirs

Updated: 08/28/2007 - The Texas legislature has funded a water plan to increase the amount of fresh water that is available across the state. Building a reservoir usually creates some controversy because it nearly always involves condemnation of property. We talked with some legislators who were concerned about the preservation of private property rights.

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Horse Processing

Updated: 08/28/2007 - On March 1, bills were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate that would amend the horse protection act to prohibit the transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, selling, or donating of a horse or other equine to be processed for human consumption. We talked with officials in Austin who fear unintended consequences should the bills become law.

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Raising Show Chickens

Updated: 08/28/2007 - This time of the year you’ll find many kids involved in 4-H, Competing with the animals they’re raised in big city shows as well as their own county shows. We talked with a Bryan High School senior who has raised a few chickens during her stint in 4-H.

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The Broiler Industry

Updated: 08/28/2007 - Every spring many 4-h members submit their projects for judging at local youth livestock shows. Many of these projects involve raising chickens that would be the kind of animal sought by the broiler industry. Chickens grown today are a lot different than they were even a few years ago.

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National Ag Week

Updated: 08/28/2007 - This week is National Agriculture Week. It celebrates the tremendous efficiency that U.S. agriculture exhibits while producing a food and fiber supply unparalleled by any nation in history. But unfortunately, most of us don’t ever give it a second thought.

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Fragmentation of Agricultural Land

Updated: 08/28/2007 - In 2005 legislation was passed in Texas to establish the Texas Farm and Ranch Conservation Program that set up a council to develop a program that could be used to purchase land development rights in the state. It was intended to provide the framework for a willing buyer and willing seller that both recognize that a piece of farmland, ranchland, or forestland would be better left undeveloped.

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Planting Corn

Updated: 03/02/2007 - After two years of drought it’s spring planting time here in the Brazos Valley. The big question is whether or not the fall and winter rains we received were enough to have a significant impact on subsoil moisture.

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Demands on Agriculture

Updated: 02/23/2007 - Sustained record prices on corn, largely due to the boom in ethanol production, have caused many to ask in the production of fuel in the u.s. is on a collision course with the production of food, fiber, and feed. For maybe the first time in our history, the question seems to boil down to whether 0r not U.S. agriculture can meet demand for the commodities it produces.

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Bio-Energy

Updated: 02/15/2007 - Prices of oil, diesel, and gasoline stay in the headlines, making any search for an alternative to fossil fuels an attractive story line. The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station joined forces last July to form the Texas A&M Agriculture and Engineering Bioenergy Alliance to spark the bioenergy revolution.

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Alternative Uses For Animal Manure

Updated: 02/12/2007 - Agricultural operations like feed yards that have a large concentration of animals in their facilities produce manure that must be removed and disposed of, but research being done at Texas A&M suggests that this by-product could have its value enhanced.

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Pesticides

Updated: 02/05/2007 - Breakthroughs in biotechnology have allowed today’s agricultural producers to use much less pesticide than was ten years ago. Individuals with applicator’s licenses are required to attend continuing education classes to remain in compliance with the regulatory requirements.

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Genetically Modified Products

Updated: 01/25/2007 - Crop technology in agriculture started advancing when different lines of corn were crossed to come up with new hybrid varieties, and that began over one hundred years ago. The ability to select for specific traits has enhanced the yields of various crops and technology advancements must continue if we are to feed the world’s growing population.

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Genetically Modified Products

Updated: 01/18/2007 - Breakthroughs in biotechnology have allowed the creation of genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as g-m-os, and have generated controversy all over the world. After consuming gmo products directly or indirectly in the u.s. for the last 10 years without any negative results, it appears the technology is here to stay.

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Cotton Seed Research

Updated: 01/11/2007 - It’s been known for years that cotton seed is very rich in protein, but it also contains a toxin named gossypol that makes unsuitable for consumption by most animals other than cattle. In the 1950s a cotton plant that didn’t produce the toxin was developed, only to discover that the plant needed the chemical to protect itself from insects. It appears scienists at Texas A&M have come up with a solution.

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Reflections on 2006

Posted: 01/08/2007 - Unfortunately, the drought we experienced in 2005 carried over into 2006, and as with many years, the weather wreaked havoc on agricultural producers across our state. Bob French looks back at this past year, and Brazos Valley agriculture’s battle with Mother Nature.

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Feeding Cattle

Updated: 01/03/2007 - The ethanol industry continues to drive a high demand for corn, creating the best outlook for growing grain farmers have seen in many years. While that’s good news for farmers, it’s bad news across the board for people in the cattle business, where grain is a major input cost.

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Planting More Corn

Updated: 12/21/2006 - With the price of corn at a ten year high, and an ethanol industry driving the increased demand, analysts are expecting an increase in the amount of corn planted, with record-breaking levels of production, barring any weather catastrophes in the Midwest. We talked with a Brazos Valley farmer who says while corn prices are high, and the profit margins will be better than normal, they’re not really good enough for him to change what he’s planting.

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Corn Prices

Updated: 12/14/2006 - When you take the expanding ethanol industry and add to it increased export demand for corn, you get prices that have only been at this level a few times in our history. One of the basic characteristics of these price spikes has been that they’ve always been temporary. We talked with an economist who says falling corn prices don’t seem to be anywhere on the horizon.

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Investing in Improved Pastures

Updated: 12/12/2006 - In dry periods like we experienced for the last couple of years, an investment in improved pasture grasses pays dividends to ranchers who need forage to feed their cattle. We talked with one rancher who strives to make his land as productive as possible, and for him that means growing all the grass he can.

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Grass Farming

Updated: 12/01/2006 - In beef production circles the “what came first, the chicken or the egg” question is, “are you a rancher, or are you a grass farmer?” Most producers who have weathered a drought answer quickly.

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