Posted: 10/27/2006 - In 1918 and 1919 more people died from what was known as the Spanish flu than were killed during World War I. With the outbreak of avian flu in Asia, and several reported cases of human infections, the virus is being monitored by health care professionals around the globe. We talked with a patholbiologist at Texas A & M’s school of veterinary medicine to put this virus in its proper perspective.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - The food and fiber sector, or agriculture, makes up 16% of our country’s gross domestic product, and is responsible for 15% of the jobs in Texas. We have a strong agricultural base here in the Brazos Valley, and Joe Brown says there are lots of gifts being given this Christmas that have agricultural beginnings.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - Until about 2 years ago, Japan bought about half of all beef exported by the United States. Then came the discovery of the first native U.S. cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. Japan’s markets remained closed to u.s. beef until December 12th of this year. The opening of the Japanese border to U.S. beef is nothing but good news for producers.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - The Texas legislature met in 2005 and although school finance captured most of the headlines, as always there were a lot of issues on the table that could directly affect agricultural producers. Looking back, it appears Texas agriculture survived yet another legislative session.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - With over 198 counties in Texas having been declared fire disaster areas, and over two thirds of the state under an outside burn ban, wildfires have been the top story in many newscasts lately. We talked with a Burleson county rancher who unfortunately has some first hand experience with the havoc a grass fire can cause.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - Goat has been the preferred meat of certain cultures for hundreds of years, and about 11 years ago new genetics were introduced to Texas goatherds that have increased the amount of meat a Texas goat carcass yields. We talked with Dr. Louis Nuti, prairie view A&M research scientist and goat rancher about the Texas goat industry.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - When most of us think about goats we tend to think of specialty dairy products. Consumer items like cheeses or milk for babies or young children who might be allergic to cow’s milk come to mind. However, demand for goat meat has been steadily on the rise for the past ten years.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - If you look at USDA numbers beginning in 1855, there’s only one time land prices in Texas actually went down, during the 1980’s. Even in the 30s, land prices, although not appreciating, remained steady. Many conclude, from at least a historical perspective, betting on declining Texas land prices is not a wise wager. Dr. Charles Gilliland with Texas A&M’s real estate center says it’s a contest for space, and the more people there are, the higher land prices can go, and the urban sprawl can’t help but affect Texas agriculture.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - At a time when most farmers have whittled down input costs to the point there’s not much more that can be shaved off, a group of Texas A&M research and extension scientists are promoting a system that reduces or in some cases even eliminates tillage of the land. The reduced tillage system is enjoying acceptance all over the U.U. and is starting to catch on here in the Brazos Valley.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - When a farmer introduces a reduced tillage system into his operation, he ‘s usually counting on big savings in fuel costs because of the fewer number of passes he’ll be making with equipment over his fields. That may be one of the primary benefits, but there are positive impacts on the environment as well.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - Recognition of the therapeutic value of horses continues to grow for patients who have sustained head injuries, spinal cord injuries, childhood development disorders, and a variety of immobilizing diseases. Hippo therapy has patients work with occupational, physical, or speech therapists that use the horse as one of their most effective therapeutic instruments.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - In 1977, in cooperation with Texas A&M, 13 experimental vineyards were planted in Texas to learn what types of grapes grew best and where, and from that, local winery Messina Hof was born. Researchers discovered that different parts of the state mirrored different grape producing areas of Europe. Brazos county was found to be much like the southern part of France and Portugal, and that’s how Paul Bonarrigo chooses the variety of grape he would grow in Messina Hof’s vineyard here in the Brazos valley.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - In 1977, there were 3 wineries in the state and Texas was last in wine production. Today there are 126 wineries, and Texas is the fastest growing wine-producing region in the country. Last week we looked at what it takes to grow grapes, but wine maker Paul Bonarrigo says growing and harvesting the grapes is just half of the job.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - In 2005, Brazos Valley hay production levels were 40 to 45% of usual annual production rates. There was no hay produced in the fall, hay inventories were depleted, and the drought continued into the winter and early spring of this year. Local hay farmer Randy Britten gets calls daily from people all over the state looking for hay.
Posted: 10/27/2006 - Have you ever been driven through a small rural area and wondered how the people who resided there made their livings? Most rural towns came into existence because of agriculture, and changes in Texas agriculture have led rural Texas to change from business as usual.