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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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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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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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Texas farmers look at replanting options

Texas farmers look at replanting options

By Julie Tomascik

Too much. Or not enough.

It’s the never-ending challenge with moisture and agriculture.

And Mother Nature’s version of March Madness took a toll on some Texas farmers. Late winter and early spring rains were slightly unpredictable, devastating and just what the farmer ordered. Sometimes all at the same time.

But it’s the devastating part that really hurts.

Farmers across the state were in the field. Working long hours to get seeds in the ground. Praying for rain, sunshine and favorable growing conditions year-round.

Then the rains came. And came.

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10 signs you grew up on a farm

10 signs you grew up on a farm

By Julie Tomascik

Growin’ up country offers the biggest playground. Of fields that stretch for miles, open skies and backroads just waiting to be explored.

Farm and ranch kids take it all in. And grow a fond appreciation for independence and quality time with family.

Kicking up dust and learning life lessons. It comes with the territory. And a knack for finding trouble does, too.

It’s a childhood unlike any other. But there are a few things that come standard with it.

Here are 10 signs you grew up on a farm:

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