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Rain can be blessing, curse for Texas farmers

Rain can be blessing, curse for Texas farmers

By Mike Barnett

Mother Nature is a fickle lady when it comes to moisture. Especially for Texas farmers and ranchers.

Too much. Not enough. Just right.

The third is the least common scenario.

This year, rain has been wild, unpredictable, devastating and wonderful. Sometimes all in the same area.

The season kicked off with abundant moisture in South and Central Texas. Spring came and it rained, rained and rained. Planting was delayed. The wheat crop suffered. Farmers kept looking for a break. And more rain came. Many farmers in South, Central and North Texas never fully recovered. Crops were stunted. Lost. Or never planted.

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Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

By Kenneth Dierschke
TFB President

I read recently that climatologists are predicting a 70 percent chance for El Niño to develop this year in the Pacific Ocean. I hope they are wrong. What we need is a 100 percent chance.

El Niño is the warming of the central and eastern Pacific Oceans. It alters the jet stream flow across the United States and helps bring wetter-than-normal weather to Texas.

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Big rains put only small dent in Texas drought

Big rains put only small dent in Texas drought

By Mike Barnett

Blessed rains fell over much of the state this week, but Texas is still in hot water in terms of drought and water resources.

Rains statewide—which ranged from a trace up to 6-8 inches in parts of Central and West Central Texas—were a short-term fix for Texas farmers and ranchers.  Hot temperatures are forecast to return this week, and two to three weeks without rain could pretty much put us back where we started.

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Federal stay prevents flight of Texas water rights

Federal stay prevents flight of Texas water rights

By Regan Beck

We know that Texas water is a precious resource. We’ve watched our pastures dry up and crops wither following the epic drought we’ve just endured (and continue to see, in many parts of the state). But one U.S. District Court judge wants to restrict our water even more.

U.S. District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack recently sided with an environmental group in its case against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the San Antonio River Authority, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and the Texas Chemical Council. The case accuses the agencies of water management practices that led to the deaths of 23 whooping cranes.

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5 things you should know about HB 4, Texas’ water funding bill

5 things you should know about HB 4, Texas’ water funding bill

By Mike Barnett

The Legislature took a significant step last week toward meeting Texas’ future water needs as the House Committee on Natural Resources passed a bill to jump start water projects in Texas, as reported in Texas Farm Bureau’s Austin Newsletter.

 The multi-year drought that caused over $7.6 billion in agricultural losses in 2011 alone and is drying up water sources for many Texas towns and cities has drawn the attention of our lawmakers in Austin. HB 4 by Representative Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) proposes that $2 billion be used from the Rainy Day Fund to create a revolving loan program so communities can begin working on projects outlined in the State Water Plan.

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