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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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Grilling beef in the Land of Oz

Grilling beef in the Land of Oz

By Gary Joiner

Television viewers were once again taken to the Land of Oz.

But this time the yellow brick road led to a place where misinformation spewed about U.S. beef production. Behind the curtain was Dr. Mehmet Oz, a surgeon and host of the syndicated program, the Dr. Oz Show.

The episode explored grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef. It suggested that grass-fed beef is healthier because of the way the animals are raised. Conventional production practices were largely criticized throughout the show.

No surprise here. The great Oz often denounces how conventional food is raised.

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GMOs are saving Hawaiian farms and forests from extinction

GMOs are saving Hawaiian farms and forests from extinction

By Joni Kamiya

More evidence is cropping up all the time to support the environmentally friendly nature of biotech seeds and crops. As we’ve learned in Hawaii, GM papayas are a great example of how biotechnology keeps forests intact and decreases the amount of pesticides needed to grow marketable fruits. I call this “GMOrganic” because it’s earth-friendly, farmer-friendly and good for the consumer.

Our three-generation farm has been growing papayas since the 1960s and continues to grow this delicious, highly sought after Hawaiian staple. The papaya is a fruit that many locals buy religiously, every week for years. But for a long time, this local favorite was under constant threat.

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