June 2 , 2006
Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs reminded families who are applying for the Family Land Heritage Program that applications are due to the Texas Department of Agriculture by Friday, Sept. 15.
The Family Land Heritage Program recognizes farms and ranches that have been kept in continuous agricultural production by the same family for 100, 150 and 200 years or more. Since the program started in 1974, more than 4,120 farms and ranches in 229 counties have been honored.
"This unique program honors the agricultural contributions of countless generations of Texans," said Combs. "These men and women have held onto their ancestors' land over the decades, enduring some challenging times."
Applications are being accepted for farms or ranches established in 1906 and earlier that are still owned and operated by the descendents of the founder, either through blood, marriage or adoption. The land must also fit the old U.S. Census definition of a farm: 10 acres or more with agricultural sales of $50 or more a year; or if less than 10 acres, sales of at least $250 a year.
The owners must reside in Texas and be actively managing the everyday operation of the farm or ranch. If all the land has ever been rented or leased to someone outside of the family, it will not qualify. If only a portion was leased, and as much as 10 acres were retained in the family for agricultural production with sales of at least $50 annually, the property will still qualify. There is no cost to apply for the recognition.
Fayette Coun-ty has the most Family Land Heritage honorees with 124 properties; Houston County is next with 85 properties; Austin and Gillespie counties are tied with 82 properties each; Medina County has 81 properties; and DeWitt County has 80 properties.
For an application or more information, contact Melissa Blair, (512) 463-2631, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711.
The application is also on TDA's Web site at www.agr.state.tx.us under the "Producer Information" section and they can be obtained from the county judges office.
'Big Three' endorse new energy vision
The "Big Three" U.S. automakers have joined a chorus of businesses and organizations calling for a new national renewable energy goal: America's farms, ranches and forests providing 25 percent of America's energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.
Ford Motor Co. Chairman William Clay Ford Jr., General Motors Corp. Chairman Rick Wagoner and Chrysler Chief Executive Thomas W. LaSorda were in Washington meeting with congressional leaders, and are expected to meet with President George W. Bush on June 2. Among other issues, they are expected to discuss the need to develop more biofuels and improve the delivery system across the U.S. so that more consumers can purchase renewable fuels at the pump.
"25x'25 can and must change the debate," said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "It is a bold goal, but it is certainly achievable. Thanks to new technologies and innovation, energy security is within our graspnow we must have the courage to set an ambitious goal, and meet it."
CO2 a worldwide commodity
Twenty times more carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions (329.8 million metric tons) were bought and sold in 2005 than in 2004 (16.28 million metric tons), according to a World Bank and the International Emissions Trading Association report. The State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2006 report was jointly released this week by the two organizations.
Under the Kyoto Protocol agreement, greenhouse gas emissions from one nation to another can be exchanged so that developed nations can meet emission-reduction goals. In the United States, voluntary trading at the Chicago Climate Exchange allows industries to purchase credits from other industries that are under emission limits. Farmers have banded together to sell carbon credits from conservation tillage which emits less carbon dioxide compared to conventional tillage; the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is operating such a trading group.
On the international scene, CO2 trading in 2005 totaled more than $10 billion, but prices being paid for credits have dropped about 50 percent recently because some European nations determined that they emitted much less CO2 last year than they had sold credits.
"Carbon is now priced and business managers take the carbon price into consideration along with other factors in making business decisions," said Karan Capoor, the primary author of the report.
"There is no shortage of ethanol. Gasoline prices will not be affected by repealing the ethanol tariff. Removing the tariff would be a rash and inappropriate decision. We urge Congress to look at the facts and resist ill-conceived efforts to remove or suspend the secondary tariff on imported ethanol."
Comments from a coalition letter from the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association to members of Congress explaining why lifting the import tariff on ethanol is a bad idea. The letter followed several prominent members of Congress splitting on suspending the tariff. Farm Bureau supports additional incentives for domestic renewable fuels production such as increasing the renewable fuels standard, expanding the availability of E85 fuel and extending ethanol and biodiesel producer tax credits.