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Grassland Conservation

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Soil and water conservation districts exist all over the state providing advice to land owners on sound conservation practices. We talked with a rancher in Richards that took a worn out piece of crop land and through the years has turned it into a high quality forage producing cattle ranch.

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September Heat

Posted: 10/27/2006 - The record breaking temperatures we've been enduring for the past ten or so days have taken their toll on area pasture grasses. Already suffering from drought conditions, some ranchers have had to begin feeding their cattle.

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Peanut Farming

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Several years ago there were a lot of peanuts grown down the road in Waller county, but year after year the numbers of peanut acres have continued to dwindle. We talked with a Waller county farmer who continues to grow peanuts in his crop rotation.

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Developers and Farmers Collide in Waller County

Posted: 10/27/2006 - The population growth and the development that comes with it has certainly fueled the increases in the value of rural property in Texas. In today's from the ground up we talk with a farmer who says developers and farmers have already collided in Waller county.

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Ag Is More Than Farmers and Ranchers

Posted: 10/27/2006 - When we hear the word agriculture, most of us conjure up a picture of a farmer with his tractor or a rancher and his cows, but agriculture truly is much more than that.

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Avian Flu

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.

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Holiday Celebrating With Food

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Nearly every holiday we celebrate has one thing in common - Lots of good food. This time of year deserves some reflection on where all our food comes from.

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Holiday Gifts and Agriculture

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.

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Japan Opens Market to U.S. Beef

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.

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Reflections On 2005

Posted: 10/27/2006 - This time of year we often look back at the last 12 months and reflect upon the challenges we encountered. Agriculture’s story is like the weather….it’s always the same…that is to say, it’s always changing.

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Reflections On The 2005 Texas Legislature

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.

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Grass Fires

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.

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The Texas Goat Industry - Part One

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.

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The Texas Goat Industry - Part Two

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.

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The Drought

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Some of the by-products of the drought we’re experiencing have been devastating wildfires that have damaged property, and in some cases even taken lives. If the drought doesn’t break soon, it will create more problems for local agricultural producers.

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Rural Land Pressures

Posted: 10/27/2006 - As the Brazos valley continues to grow it’s more and more common to see an area that once grazed cattle or grew crops turned into a subdivision for people to live in. We talked with a Hockley rice farmer about a farm that’s been in his family since 1846.

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Texas Agriculture’s Future

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.

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Spring Planting

Posted: 10/27/2006 - We are currently in the planting window for corn here in the Brazos Valley, but the lack of rain during the last few months had farmers anxious about whether or not there would be enough moisture to plant.

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Reduced Tillage Systems - Part One

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.

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Reduced Tillage Systems - Part Two

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.

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Hippo Therapy/Horses Part 2

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.

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Grape Farming - Part One

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.

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Grape Farming - Part Two

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.

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Hay Production

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.

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Hay Input Costs

Posted: 10/27/2006 - Hay reserves are gone throughout the state of Texas, and there’s been little rainfall to help the majority of hay producers bounce back from a very dry year. Couple that with high oil prices, and you have a recipe for expensive hay.

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