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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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What to believe these days

What to believe these days

By Gary Joiner

Don’t confuse public opinion with public understanding.

This is especially evident when it comes to food and science.

Recent polls show that 80 percent or more of consumers support labeling GMOs. It’s likely most know little about the issue.

Case in point. A survey conducted in January on food preferences by Jayson Lusk of Oklahoma State University asked more than 1,000 Americans about an absurd hypothetical policy mandating labels for foods containing DNA. Eighty percent supported the idea, he said.

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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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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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Animal care is a farm and ranch priority

Animal care is a farm and ranch priority

By Gary Joiner

Record flooding in Southeast Texas reminded me again of just what great risks farmers and ranchers will take to care for their livestock. Tragically, a Central Texas rancher recently lost his life trying to save his cattle from a rising creek that engulfed his property. The accounts of personal sacrifice and commitment are remarkable. But I’m not surprised.

Animal care is a priority for farmers, ranchers and the American food supply. It’s personal for farmers and ranchers. They care for their animals 24/7, 365 days a year.

Still, a national conversation about animal care in agriculture continues.

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