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Same interests, new location

Same interests, new location

By Gene Hall

Change is good. A chance to update and refresh is exactly what’s needed every now and then.

That time has come for Texas Agriculture Talks. This column represents the final new entry of the long-running blog. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading and reacting to Texas Agriculture Talks as much as we’ve enjoyed crafting the columns over the years.

When Mike Barnett and I started Texas Agriculture Talks 10 years ago, our goal was to challenge the “conventional wisdom” on agricultural issues. Mike is enjoying his retirement now, but he has my thanks for his tremendous contributions on this groundbreaking blog.

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Farmers: The eternal optimists

Farmers: The eternal optimists

By Julie Tomascik

Roll the dice. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.

Farming and ranching is a gamble. Every year. And 2016 has been a mixed deck at best.

It flooded. Then the rain shut off. Drought now steadily creeps back in.

Anti-agriculture crowds continue to attack farmers and ranchers, while regulations are piled on. Increased costs for inspections, fees and certifications add to the growing list.

Commodity and livestock prices are down. Net farm income keeps dropping. And it’s forecast to be down 3 percent this year at $54.8 billion, the lowest since 2002.

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Partnership with lenders crucial for agriculture

Partnership with lenders crucial for agriculture

By Gary Joiner

100 years is a long time to do anything successfully.

Whether it’s marking a yearly sporting event, owning a continuous family business or working alongside farmers and ranchers, a century of success is worth noting.

Capital Farm Credit this week celebrated its 100th year of agricultural lending in the Lone Star State. It’s a story of service and survival of a financial cooperative. It mirrors the resiliency of the farmers and ranchers who are its members.

There have been many challenges in the past century. For both Capital Farm Credit and Texas growers. And this year is another tough one.

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Harvest rolling across Texas

Harvest rolling across Texas

By Gary Joiner

It’s been a year for the books. Torrential downpours. Sluggish markets. And drought creeping back in.

Stressful, no doubt. But farmers keep at it, and combines are rolling. Fields of corn and grain sorghum are coming out. The wave of harvest is at about its mid-point as it works its way from south to north.

It’s a critical time for Texas growers, and the culmination of a very difficult year. With several attempts and replants. Extra input costs that may or may not be recovered. Better than average yields is the hope. And, for many, breaking even on a crop is the goal this year.

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FFA: Meeting the future

FFA: Meeting the future

By Gene Hall

A smoky haze hangs over the auditorium of the Dallas Convention Center. The main arena is packed with high school kids. They’re making noise, quite a lot of noise, but there’s no trouble. Light and sound crash together in a cacophony of recorded country music with some hip-hop thrown in. A blue corduroy conga line snakes past me down the aisle. The strains of YMCA, complete with hand signals, pulsate from thousands of young throats.

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Keep advocating for agriculture

Keep advocating for agriculture

By Jeremy Brown

We’ve all read the headlines condemning agriculture, and we should take those attacks personally. Because they affect each one of us—farmers and ranchers in Texas and across the nation.

We get angry and blame lack of knowledge. But we should channel that anger into productivity. To fuel our passion and share our stories.

That’s how we make progress, and it’s working. Consumer trust in agriculture is growing. We’re plowing the ground and planting seeds of information, assurance and transparency. That cultivates and strengthens relationships with our consumers.

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