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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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Time to celebrate on Earth Day

Time to celebrate on Earth Day

By Gary Joiner

Earth Day is April 22. The effort actually began in 1970 as a “national day for the environment.”

The event now attracts more than one billion participants in some way. It’s the largest civic observance in the world. There are special activities and events here in Texas to commemorate the day.

The goal is to recognize the importance of protecting our natural resources. That’s a great goal. It’s a practice that farmers and ranchers honor every day.

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Growing Texas sustainably

Growing Texas sustainably

By Russell Boening
Texas Farm Bureau President

On the farm or in town, agriculture grows Texas. Sustainably.

From the fruit and vegetable farms in the Rio Grande Valley to the world’s largest cotton patch in the South Plains. Consider the nursery and landscape businesses in East Texas, combined with vast pastures in Central and West Texas. Farmers and ranchers are doing more with less.

They’re farming with an eye to the future. Texas’ future.

That’s sustainability, and it’s nothing new for farmers and ranchers. We’ve been doing it for five generations or more.

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They’re back! Now, how to sustain bobwhite quail in Texas?

They’re back! Now, how to sustain bobwhite quail in Texas?

By Gary Joiner

Have you heard? The bobwhite quail and its iconic whistle are back in Texas. At least for this season.

It’s been a jubilee year for the popular bird. Helped by favorable weather and improved habitat across the state, quail returned to the Texas landscape. That’s great news for farmers and ranchers and the small communities who enjoy bobwhites and the important economic revenue that they generate. Towns like Albany, Aspermont and Gail know when the birds are plentiful. Registers ring on Main Street.

Can the increased quail population be sustained? Wildlife biologists are hopeful.

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Everyday stewardship on the farm

Everyday stewardship on the farm

By Gary Joiner

I like green. It’s a color that epitomizes positive growth. Optimism.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the country proudly showcase the color.

Green is also associated with environmental stewardship. And this week’s National Ag Day had a healthy shade of the color with its theme of Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.

The stewardship reach and impact of our farmers and ranchers is nothing short of amazing.

Our state has 170 million acres of land. About 130 million acres of it is used in agriculture.

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