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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2011 Local/Sustainable Agriculture News

January 2, 2011 Keeping rural roots alive without leaving the city A great story featuring thoughts of Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, two sustainable agriculture pioneers… “We came here as poor people on rich land, but now we are rich people on poor land,” Jackson said. As we made ‘progress,’ we didn’t realize what we were undoing in the process. Our society is built upon the withdrawal on the “capital stock of the earth.” Read story from Statesman.com. December 5,…

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2009 Local/Sustainable Agriculture News

July 24, 2009 Market to menu State agriculture program links farms, farmers markets and restaurants. Read full Austin Business Journal article here. July 11, 2009 Well of Controversy: Water Hogs Threaten Farm Local organic grower Tecolote Farm may be forced out of business if the current climate – political and meteorological – doesn’t change soon. The farm needs water, and when it doesn’t come from the hot skies, it must be pumped from the ground. Unfortunately, the state’s lack of…

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