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Texas agriculture—responsible water users

Texas agriculture—responsible water users

By Billy Howe

Danny Reible’s op-ed in the Houston Chronicle on May 29 was a curious mixture of “right on target” and “Hey Danny, you’ve got to be kidding.”

First of all, agriculture is committed to efficient water use, and he is correct that a public investment in developing that technology would be very productive. However, Mr. Reible is way off the mark when he suggests agricultural irrigation, which is mostly groundwater, will be responsible for future water shortages in the high-growth areas of Texas.

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Know who we are dealing with

Know who we are dealing with

By Wes Ebeling

Growing up as the fifth generation to live and work on the family ranch in Central Texas, 50 miles west of Austin, my family has seen its share of good and bad times in the cow-calf business.

 I’ve seen grass stirrup high, moisture sponge out of the ground and cattle mud fat. On the other hand, there is the extreme of last summer where dust boiled, heat soared to record temps, springs went dry and cattle numbers dropped, along with the fat off their backs, in the drought. Needless to say, we have survived and strive to continue fighting the odds to help feed the world and perhaps grow a sixth generation or more on this land.

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Two-stepping our way out of a drought?

Two-stepping our way out of a drought?

By Nathan Smith

It’s two steps forward and one step back. Or is it one step forward and two steps back?

I was never much of a dancer, but with rain falling in some parts of Texas, cattlemen have to feel like they are in some kind of twisted two-step with Mother Nature.

Right now there are more questions than answers.

 First step forward: Rain is falling in parts of the state. But will it last? Will we see another summer like 2011? The U.S. Drought Monitor still has much of Texas underneath a “severe drought” category. Some climatologists say we are only at the front end of a drought and the rain could be short-lived.

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How do you spell farmer? O-P-T-I-M-I-S-T!

How do you spell farmer? O-P-T-I-M-I-S-T!

By Mike Barnett

2011 was a year of great contradiction for Texas Farm Bureau and Texas agriculture. As an organization, it was a year of great success. As an individual farmer or rancher, it was a year of bitter disappointment.

Through the hard work of our members, Texas Farm Bureau had the greatest legislative year in our history. True eminent domain reform, groundwater rights and a grain indemnity fund—as well as a host of other agriculture-related legislation—were achieved because of grassroots efforts.

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Drought in Texas reminds us that water controls our destinies

Drought in Texas reminds us that water controls our destinies

By Mike Barnett

The scars of this epic drought in Texas will run deep and serve as a reminder—long after the rain falls again—that water controls the destiny of the Lone Star State.

It’s been a year of records, all of which would better remain unbroken. We’re in the driest 10-month stretch since recordkeeping began. In my hometown of Waco, we saw the longest stretch of consecutive 100-plus degree days ever recorded. We’ve also suffered through the most 100-degree days in a year’s time, with another heat record set almost daily. There is no rain in sight.

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