New bill will help preserve family farms

New bill will help preserve family farms

A bill introduced today to help more farm families continue their livelihoods after the death of a loved one has the full support of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Preserving Family Farms Act of 2019 is sponsored by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.). “Farm and ranch families often face a significant financial burden when they have to pay estate taxes,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farm families should be able to pay based on how their land…

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Efforts encouraging Texas ranchers to restore native grasses show promise

Efforts encouraging Texas ranchers to restore native grasses show promise

There aren’t many pastures with native grasses left in Texas. Instead there are invasive weeds like bermudagrass and Old World bluestem. Some Texas landowners and nonprofits are working together to change that. Restoring native grasslands takes years and is an arduous process. But the payout is significant, because when native flora returns, fauna are often not far behind. For example, bobwhite quail are popular and profitable as hunting game. Once a native grassland is established, it requires less weed control…

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San Antonio Food Bank partners with hunters to collect deer meat for hungry families

San Antonio Food Bank partners with hunters to collect deer meat for hungry families

The San Antonio Food Bank is once again participating in the Hunters for the Hungry program, which is managed by Feeding Texas, to help those in need. Through the program, hunters can drop off legally tagged deer to a participating meat processor, and eventually, the meat makes its way to the San Antonio Food Bank. “We have dozens of processors that are independent organizations, for-profit companies, that we’re paying $1.20 a pound to process the venison that hunters might drop…

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Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Frequently flooded Ag land may be eligible for NRCS Easement Restoration Program

Temple, Texas, October 1, 2019 — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is taking applications through November 15, 2019 for floodplain easements through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program Floodplain Easement (EWPP-FPE). The program’s focus is to provide landowners with another option for frequently flooded properties such as agricultural fields, forested land, fallow land, pasture and in certain situations residential areas in cooperation with a qualified sponsor. Through the EWP-FPE program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent…

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Centuries-old irrigation system shows how to manage scarce water

Centuries-old irrigation system shows how to manage scarce water

It’s spring again, the time of year—for the 300th time in some instances—when New Mexico communities come together to clean the acequias, irrigation channels that carry snowmelt from the mountains to newly tilled farm fields. Each annual cleaning is one more demonstration that at least here, in these close-knit communities arrayed across arid and rugged rangeland, it’s possible for people to share scarce resources to achieve a common goal—in this case, making sure everyone in the group has enough water.…

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Why native plants matter

Why native plants matter

Restoring native plant habitat is vital to preserving biodiversity. By creating a native plant garden, each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals. Over the past century, urbanization has taken intact, ecologically productive land and fragmented and transformed it with lawns and exotic ornamental plants. The continental U.S. lost a staggering 150 million acres of habitat and farmland to urban sprawl, and that trend isn’t slowing.…

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Texas Land Trends report shows value of conservation easements to ag, water, wildlife

Texas Land Trends report shows value of conservation easements to ag, water, wildlife

The Texas Land Trends project of Texas A&M’s Natural Resources Institute, or NRI, has published a special series report describing Texas landowner participation in land conservation easements and their value to agricultural production, water and wildlife. About 83 percent of lands in Texas are classified as privately-owned working lands, signifying the critical role private landowners play in protecting the state’s valuable resources. Land-use conversion, including fragmentation, accounted for the loss of approximately 1.1 million acres of working lands in Texas…

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Texas Winegrowers Fear New Herbicides Will Wipe Out Industry

Texas Winegrowers Fear New Herbicides Will Wipe Out Industry

As Paul Bonarrigo watched his grapevines dwindle, he was confident that heavy-duty herbicides, probably sprayed on crops by a nearby farmer, were drifting into his vineyards. For the past two years, his 44 acres in Hale County – once sprawling vineyards providing fruit for Bonarrigo’s Messina Hof Winery – have not produced any grapes as they wither from chemical damage. Other Texas winegrowers have seen similar damage, and they blame it on dicamba and 2,4-D, two high-volatility herbicides commonly used…

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2013 Local/Sustainable Agriculture News

December 19, 2013 Forget Golf Courses: Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses. But now, there’s a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity. Read more from NPR. August 16, 2013 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Viticulture and Fruit…

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2012 Local/Sustainable Agriculture News

September 20, 2012 Farm to Table Caucus Advances Local Food Movement On a mission to advance the local food movement, a Democrat from Austin is finding common ground with Republicans and rural Texans. Read more from Statesman.com. May 19, 2012 Urban farmers fight to be treated like their country cousins A major challenge facing city farms in the Austin area centers on property tax rates that are much higher than those at traditional farms and ranches in more remote parts…

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