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C’mon, America! We can do better.

C’mon, America! We can do better.

By Gary Joiner

The presidential election has a lot of us worried. We’ve never had two presumptive nominees for president with such high negative ratings among the public.

Can the country rally behind the November winner? It’s a good question. Some aren’t so sure of the answer.

What’s losing in all of the election hype? Free trade. And it’s losing big. That’s not good for Texas farmers and ranchers. Or our country.

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Change is coming with the Veterinary Feed Directive

Change is coming with the Veterinary Feed Directive

By Julie Tomascik

Own livestock? Do they occasionally get sick? How you treat them will look differently in 2017. All because of the VFD—Veterinary Feed Directive.

That one acronym will carry a lot of weight.

What exactly does it mean for farmers and ranchers?

The end of over-the-counter sales of medically important antibiotics that are mixed into feed or water. More steps in the process of purchasing medicated feeds. And, in some cases, finding a different feed to suit your needs.

There are many new changes. But the biggest of all? The veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR).

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Salute to the farm dog

Salute to the farm dog

By Gary Joiner

The last known living 9/11 search dog passed away this week near Houston. Bretagne (BRIHT’-nee), a golden retriever, was 16.

Bretagne and her handler, Denise Corliss, spent 10 days in Lower Manhattan after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, searching the rubble for human remains.

Published reports say about two dozen first responders on Monday lined the sidewalk leading to the veterinarian’s office in Cypress. They saluted Bretagne as she walked by for the final time.

The account reminds us of the special relationship we have with dogs. That special bond is alive and well on farms and ranches across Texas.

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Fixer-uppers: 10 farm projects for rainy days

Fixer-uppers: 10 farm projects for rainy days

By Julie Tomascik

It’s wet. And getting wetter. The majority of Texas farmers and ranchers can’t do much right now. Rains have forced them inside, where lots of downtime and procrastinated projects await.

Because Texas farms and ranches are a gold mine of things that need fixin’.

Admit it, Texas farmers are notorious for putting off tomorrow what needs to be done today. Tough luck. It’s raining again. Tomorrow does come. Today!

And here’s 10 rainy day fixer-uppers…

10) Hose down the farm truck. Inside and out. It will give new mud something to stick to.

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Strike first with prescribed fire

Strike first with prescribed fire

By Gary Joiner

There’s a growing fuel load on ranges and pastures across our state. It has concerned landowners looking ahead and asking, “When should I burn?”

Prescribed fire is an effective tool in the management toolbox. It represents a proactive attitude and perspective. Instead of reacting to a possible wildfire that scurries beyond the reach of control, a planned fire is coordinated and choreographed.

Range scientists say the presence of fire on a landscape determines its future. It acts as a reset for Mother Nature. Fire rejuvenates the system, replenishing all of the soil nutrients. The outcome is a positive cycle of productivity and overall sustainability.

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Private land conservation worthy of a star

Private land conservation worthy of a star

By Gary Joiner

Private landowners make it happen in our state. Their efforts in habitat management and wildlife conservation, though, often go unrecognized. That’s alright. The stewardship ethic is strong. It doesn’t crave notoriety. Those who contribute every day to natural resource conservation and management do so because they love and respect the land.

Occasionally, we learn some of the stories of accomplishment. The spotlight is called the Lone Star Land Steward Awards. The program brings attention to the best of the best. They are farmers, ranchers, foresters and other land managers with exceptional achievements. This year features seven honorees from across the state. They join more than 200 landowners in the last 21 years who have been honored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for conserving more than three million acres of fish and wildlife habitat.

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