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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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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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