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Where Cotton Is King, Controversy Erupts Over Rail Yard

If it seems like you’re spending more time in Houston stuck waiting at railroad crossings, there’s a reason. Compared to just five years ago, there are hundreds of thousands more railcars crisscrossing Texas. Demand from the oil & gas industry is a big factor. To keep up, railroad companies are building more tracks. But not [...]

Ranchers Approve Added Charge for Cattle Sales in Texas

Every time a cow is sold in Texas, a dollar of that sale goes to industry groups that use it to promote and research beef. It’s part of a national program called the “beef checkoff,” and that charge will now rise to two dollars in Texas after a statewide vote by cattle owners. The vote [...]

Beef “Checkoff” Vote Sparks Debate on How Beef is Taxed, Promoted

Forget the governor’s race. All across Texas people are voting over beef. Friday is the final day for ranchers and others who deal in cattle to vote on implementing a Texas beef checkoff, a tax charged each time a cow is sold. There’s already a national beef checkoff that levies a one dollar assessment on [...]

West Texas Seeing ‘Driest Such Period in Over a Century’

Conditions ‘Remain Dire,’ Outlook Says The drought that began in October 2010 has been the driest such period in over a century for much of West Texas, putting it on par with the drought of record in the 1950s. That’s according to a new outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and it [...]

What Drought, Cattle and Crimea Have to Do With Texas Cotton Farming

Every year Texas farmers are faced with a choice: should they focus on growing corn, cotton, or sorghum? Gaylon Morgan has an inkling what kind of year 2014 will be. “I think we’ll see an increase in cotton, just due to the price difference,” Morgan, a cotton specialist at Texas A&M, tells StateImpact Texas. It’s simple economics. The [...]

Feral Hogs Got You Down? There’s an App For That

The SXSW Interactive conference, also known as the week that launches a thousand apps, begins today. Start-ups will be pitching their app as The One to Out-Social Them All, whether it’s an app that helps you avoid humans, or, in case you’ve encountered too many humans, an app that can help you get tested for [...]

Primary Results: Runoff for Ag Commisioner Gets Kinky

It’s possible that come November, voters will get to choose between a pro-weed Jewish troubadour and a horse scandal-plagued businessman with Ted Nugent as his treasurer in the race for Agriculture Commissioner. Both primaries for Agriculture Commissioner are headed for a runoff on May 27. On the Democratic side, poll watchers were surprised to see Jim Hogan, a cattle rancher [...]

All About the Texas Ag Commissioner: Farms, Gas Pumps and School Lunches

When Texans – mostly farmers and ranchers – sat down to write the state constitution in the 1800s, they didn’t see the need for an elected Agriculture Commissioner. That oversight was quickly remedied. Texas agriculture, crops and cattle are known across the country and around the world. Its “Go Texan” campaign can be seen in [...]

Is Texas Ready to Get Kinky About Hemp?

He’s run for office three times and lost. But here he is again, the novelist and troubadour that made a name for himself by turning country clichés into satiric social commentary. Richard “Kinky” Friedman (he got the nickname for his hair) is running as a Democrat for Agriculture Commissioner, and he has a plan to [...]

Should Texas Ranchers Worry About Anthrax?

A map of reported Anthrax cases in Texas, by county. Map by Michael Marks Texas is cattle country: there are nearly 13 million cows wandering through Texas, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. That’s over 14 percent of the country’s total cattle population. And our bovine friends have some company: there are also approximately 1.3 [...]

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