AgriLife Extension provides auxin CEU training online

AgriLife Extension provides auxin CEU training online

COVID-19 might have much of the world social distancing, but agricultural crops still must be planted, and producers still have regulations to follow. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is ready to help the process. Agricultural producers needing auxin training can still turn to AgriLife Extension for their continuing education credits, CEUs, despite the COVID-19 cancellation of all in-person meetings and trainings. “Texas A&M AgriLife efforts to help people with their pesticide recertification and auxin training continues,” said Dan Hale, Ph.D., associate…

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Getting groceries in Austin during a pandemic: Where to shop, how to help employees

Getting groceries in Austin during a pandemic: Where to shop, how to help employees

Grocery store employees are working overtime, and it’s nearly impossible to schedule a curbside pickup or delivery from Austin’s major supermarkets and stores. Local community-supported agriculture programs are full, and one of the biggest local food delivery companies, Farmhouse Delivery, also is not taking on new customers. Although many supermarkets are hiring extra staff and food delivery companies are scrambling to expand capacity, there are things that shoppers can do, both to help grocery store employees keep up and to…

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Eastern monarch butterfly population plunges below extinction threshold

Eastern monarch butterfly population plunges below extinction threshold

The yearly count of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico, released today, shows a decrease of 53% from last year’s count and is well below the threshold at which government scientists predict the migration could collapse. Scientists estimate that 6 hectares—about 15 acres—is the extinction threshold for the migratory butterflies’ survival in North America. The latest count, conducted by World Wildlife Fund Mexico, found overwintering monarchs occupying just 2.83 hectares, or 7 acres. Read more from Tierra Curry, of the Center for…

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Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Fifth-generation Texans, David and John Talbot of New Boston, in February 2020 sold one of the last examples of unplowed native prairie in northeast Texas to the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) for permanent preservation as the Talbot Brothers Prairie Preserve. The 366 acres in Bowie County also includes more than 200 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and wetlands. The Talbot family owned the property for more than 55 years. “The land stewardship and preservation of these unique prairie…

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NRCS announces 2020 sign-up available for partnership led conservation program

NRCS announces 2020 sign-up available for partnership led conservation program

Producers should visit their local USDA service center before the first application pool closes on April 3, 2020, to apply for this opportunity. If funding permits, a second application pool will close May 15, 2020. If already a USDA client, a producer can submit applications online via Conservation Client Gateway. The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Three RCPP projects…

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Taking a look at trends for our land

Taking a look at trends for our land

It should be no surprise that our growing population has put pressure on the land in Comal County. As the second fastest growing county in the nation, we have witnessed the conversion of many acres from open land to developed land. Our experience has been put into the state context with Texas A&M’s Natural Resources Institute’s release of the latest edition of their Texas Land Trends. The report deals with the entire state, but it notes that 74% of the state population lives in…

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TPW Commission Approves Rule Changes to Assist with Growth of Managed Lands Deer Program

TPW Commission Approves Rule Changes to Assist with Growth of Managed Lands Deer Program

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved changes to the Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP), which provides landowners and land managers with additional flexibility to manage deer populations, improve habitats, and provide greater hunting opportunities under the guidance of department biologists. The approved changes include clarifying existing program provisions and establishing fees for participation in the growing program. “In the last 20 years the MLDP has grown from 800 tracts of land on 3 million acres to more than…

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As drought persists, Texas ranchers take stock

As drought persists, Texas ranchers take stock

Cattle ranchers in the Texas Hill Country are facing a tough decision after months of drought. “You have to decide where’s your quitting point in terms of buying feed, buying hay and feeding your animals,” says Jamie Osbourn, an agent with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension office in Llano County. Llano is one of a handful of counties in the state experiencing severe drought. Gregg County is another, and other East Texas counties also are suffering. Federal data showed most…

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Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

Hill Country Conservancy is now accepting pre-applications for funding of conservation easements through the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative

The Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI), a program of Hill Country Conservancy, the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network and 18 partner organizations, is now accepting pre-applications from landowners located within specified critical river basins. The HCHCI has a $2.1 million pledge, awarded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, for the purchase of conservation easements from willing landowners. “Private landowners throughout the Texas Hill Country are caring daily for our precious natural resources, growing our food, and keeping our land beautiful, often without recognition or compensation for…

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Big money is building a new kind of National Park in the Great Plains

Big money is building a new kind of National Park in the Great Plains

A privately funded, nonprofit organization is creating a 3.2 million-acre wildlife sanctuary — American Prairie Reserve — in northeastern Montana, an area long known as cattle country. But the reserve is facing fierce opposition from many locals because to build it, the organization is slowly purchasing ranches from willing sellers, phasing out the cows and replacing them with wild bison. Those private properties are then stitched together with vast tracts of neighboring public lands to create one giant, rewilded prairie.…

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