November 3, 2006
Extension of the current Farm Bill, disaster assistance, national animal identification and ethanol production were among the issues discussed between U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), and and Farm Bureau members from Central Texas.
Peterson visited with about three dozen farmers and ranchers at TFB's state headquarters in Waco as a guest of U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Waco). Peterson is the ranking Democratic member on the House Agriculture Committee. If the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 7 elections, Peterson would become chairman of the House Ag Committee.
Disaster assistance bills have passed the Senate, but not the House.
"We want to go back to Washington on Nov. 13 to see that a (disaster assistance) bill gets passed and relief goes out to producers," Peterson said.
The disaster legislation the Minnesota congressman referred to is either Peterson's bill or two other separate bills introduced by Reps. Mac Thornberry of Texas and Frank Lucas of Oklahoma.
Currently, a Discharge Petition Peterson initiated several months ago on his legislation has 198 co-sponsors. For an up-or-down vote on the House floor, 218 signatures are required.
The Texas Farm Bureau 2006 trade mission to Canada will be featured in the November edition of Rural Texas.
The Global Agricultural Education tour to Canada examines the trade opportunities for Texas as well as other U.S. farmers and ranchers. TFB's state board of directors and commodity advisory committee chairmen offer their perspectives of the trip north of the border.
Also on Rural Texas in November is a look at the drought that has plagued the Lone Star State for two years. The program takes viewers to Fannin and Lamar counties to see how the dry conditions have impacted agriculture and rural communities.
The recent announcement that the state of Texas is free of cattle tuberculosis is welcome news to ranchers, agencies and veterinarians who worked in a cooperative effort to attain TB-free status, and will also be featured on the program.
The 30-minute program, produced by Texas Farm Bureau's Public Relations Division, airs Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. Rural Texas airs two more times on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 1:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. The RFD-TV Network can be tuned on either of two satellite television systems: Direct TV at Channel 379 or Dish Network TV at Channel 9409.
Those wanting to "equip" themselves with the latest conservation technologies and federal funding to see them to fruition will need to act soon.
The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas has set a Dec. 15, 2006, sign-up deadline for the 2007 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
"The funds allocated for EQIP will help farmers and ranchers improve natural resources on private working lands in Texas," said Dr. Larry Butler, NRCS state conservationist for Texas. "The program provides cost-share and incentive payments to producers applying approved conservation measures that help solve natural resource problems."
Natural resource concerns are established in each county by local work groups, who identify the most important natural resource issues in the area. Through EQIP, NRCS also funds projects that address special statewide resource concerns recommended by the Texas State Technical Committee. The 2007 statewide resource concerns are animal waste, invasive species, plant condition, water quality, water quantity and wildlife emphasis areas.
Immediately following the end of the sign-up period, all applications will be ranked. Producers with an approved application will work with a NRCS conservation planner to develop a contract and a plan and will begin implementing conservation practices next spring.
NRCS has also set Dec. 15 as the sign-up deadline for the 2007 Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
"The funds allocated for WHIP will help Texas landowners restore and conserve native wildlife habitat," said Butler said. "The program provides financial and technical assistance to producers applying approved conservation measures that help improve wildlife habitat."
Local NRCS field offices have complete details for their county and the applicable state concerns on both the WHIP and EQIP programs.
Additional information, including ranking criteria, eligible practices and cost-share rates for all programs can also be found on the Texas NRCS website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.
"I let him wear his cowboy hat into town and people look at him like I dressed him in a Batman suit."
Statement by Barbi Dauer on the fact that few young families with children are involved in agriculture today. Even in her small hometown of Panhandle (population 2,622) where agriculture is listed as the top money-maker, her 4-year-old son Jared's black Stetson draws a significant amount of attention from his peers and other mothers her age, she says.