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Putting food prices in perspective

Putting food prices in perspective

By Gene Hall

Here in Texas, we nervously watch the skies and the weather reports to see if we can get a clue as to how much rain we’ll get soon and even later on. When a Texan tells you, “What a beautiful day!,” chances are it’s raining.

What does this mean for food prices? I get asked that all the time, and the truth is, I don’t know. It won’t surprise you that I do have an opinion. I think we’ll be okay. Not perfect, but okay.

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Water in Texas: Top 10 irrigation facts

Water in Texas: Top 10 irrigation facts

By Mike Barnett

I’ve been writing a lot about water in Texas lately with good reason.

The drought brought home the reality of water shortages in our state and accusations are flying over who is using water and how much. Many of them are aimed at irrigated agriculture. Expect the finger-pointing to increase as we get ready for a new legislative session in Austin.

The Texas Water Resources Institute recently released a study on the status and trends of irrigated agriculture in Texas.  It completely blows out of the water allegations that Texas agriculture is a “water waster” and that irrigated agriculture is “stealing water” from urban areas.

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Farm bill, crop insurance too important for political games

Farm bill, crop insurance too important for political games

By Gene Hall

A lot of the public and more than a few politicians don’t pay too much attention to the farm bill, crop insurance or agricultural policy.

Once in a while, though, you get a “teachable moment.” That moment is the drought that currently grips the Midwest, threatening grain crops like the epic drought of last year devastated livestock and other crops in Texas and the Southwest.

The extremes of both political parties dislike what is often called the farm bill. There are very few legislative packages in the history of the republic that have worked as well, but it still pulls in some hate.

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The Time It Rained In July

The Time It Rained In July

By Mike Barnett

Mother Nature must be confused. That’s all I can figure out because it’s the middle of July and  I poured 4.75 inches of rain out of my gauge the last week and a half. That normally doesn’t happen unless we have a hurricane or tropical storm.

Now all parts of Texas aren’t getting the rain and even some places where it’s falling aren’t getting much. But then you go down to the Upper Coast around the Harris County area and they’re crying ‘Uncle.’ Some parts of South Texas were subject to flash flooding.

 Texas Rain

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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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