Daily Newspaper and for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Living Off the Land
Tuesday, September 23, 1997
Living Off The Land, Monthly supplement to the Pecos Enterprise, 324 S. Cedar St., Pecos TX 79772, Telephone: 915-445-5475, Fax: 915-445-4321, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.pecos.net/news. Compiled by Rick Smith, For advertising call Christina Bitolas.
29th Cotton USA Orientation Tour- Sept. 22- Oct. 3, Lubbock, Tx. - The U.S.
cotton industry will showcase its world class fiber to textile manufactures from Asia,
Latin America and Greater Europe. Call T. Cotton Nelson or Vaughn Jordan at
202-745-7805 for information.
45th Annual West Texas Agricultural Chemicals
Conference - Sept. 24, Lubbock, Tx. - Environmental regulations, the federal food quality act and the roles
of biotechnology and computers in today's food and fiber production will be featured.
For more information call Joe Bryant at 806-746-6101.
5th Annual Farmer-Stockman Show - Oct. 7-9, Lubbock, Tx. - The largest
outdoor working farm and ranch show in the southwestern United States, boasts 800 acres
of showsite with 54 acres of stationary exhibits and 600 acres of crops for
field demonstrations. Call 806-747-7134 for information.
Reeves County Fair - Oct. 10-11, Pecos, Tx., Reeves County Civic Center.
Longhorn Cattle Drive - Oct. 11-13, Presidio, Tx. - Big Bend Ranch State Park
offers persons seeking a true tast of Texas's Western heritage an opportunity to take part in
the ranch's fall longhorn cattle drive on Columbus Day weekend. Cost of the
three-day cattle drive is $600. For more information contact David Alloway at 915-229-3416.
Cattle, crops show improvement
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Texas feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or
more totaled 2.31 million head on Aug. 1, up 14
percent from a year ago. According to the monthly
report released by the Texas Agricultural Statistics
Service, the estimate was down 4 percent from the July 1
level. Producers placed 460 thousand head in
commercial feedlots during July, up 12 percent from a year
ago and up 7 percent from the June, 1997 total.
from estimates this time last year
Texas commercial feeders marketed 540 thousand head during July, up 15 percent from a year
ago. Monthly marketings were up 15 percent from the
June, 1997 total.
On August 1 there were 1.85 million head of
cattle and calves on feed in the Northern High Plains,
80 percent of the state's total. The number on feed
across the area increased 15 percent from last year but
was down 6 percent from last month.
July placements in the Northern Thins totaled
366 thousand head, up 5 percent from last month. Marketings increased 20 percent from last month,
to 437 thousand head.
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughtermarket
in the United States in feedlots with a capacity of
1,000 head or more totaled 8.79 million head on August
1, 1997. The inventory was 16 percent above August
Placements in feedlots during July totaled 2.0 mlilion, 14 percent above 1996. During
July, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than
600 pounds were 360,000; 600-699 pounds were
379,000; 700-799 pounds were 644,000; 800 pounds and
greater were 612,000. Marketings of fed cattle during
July totaled 2.11 million, 6 percent above 1996.
Feeders in the historical seven monthly states
with feedlots having a capacity of 1,000 head or
more reported 7.56 million head on feed August 1, up
19 percent from last year and up 2 percent from
August 1, 1995.
July placements totaled 1.75 million head, 18 percept above last year and 25 percept above
1995. Marketings during July, at 1.83 million head, were
up 9 percent from last year and t3 percent above 1995.
Record production of corn and peanuts is
expected from the Sept. 1 production forecast of
spring-planted crops released by the Texas Agricultural
The 1997 Texas corn production is forecast at a record 243 million bushels, up 21 percent from
last year and 12 percent above 1995. Based on Sept.
1 condition, statewide yield is expected to average
a record 135 bushels per acre, 23 bushels more than
in 1996, but unchanged from the Aug. 1 forecast. Harvested acreage is expected to be 1.8 million,
the same as last year.
Texas peanut production is expected to be up 16 percent from last year, to 796.5 million
pounds. Statewide yield, at a record 2,700 pounds per acre,
is 100 pounds above last year, while harvested
acreage is up 11 percent, to 295 thousand acres.
Irrigated peanuts have made good progress across the state
this year, but dryland peanuts suffered from some
dryness during August.
Upland cotton crop is expected to total 5.4
million bales, up 400,000 from Aug. 1 and 24 percent
above 1996. Harvested acreage is estimated at 5.3
million acres, 29 percent more than last year. "Except for
some lateness, growing conditions have been generally
good across the state," according to State Statistician
Dennis Findley. The yield is expected to average 489
pounds per acre, compared with 509 pounds last year.
Sorghum production is forecast at 104.1 million hundredweight(cwt), 2 percent above last year
but unchanged from last month. Harvested acreage
is estimated at 3.15 mlilion acres, down 17 percent
from last year when sorghum replaced some lost
cotton. Yield, at 3,304 pounds per acre, is expected to be
616 pounds above last year.
Rice producers expect to harvest 14.8 million
cwt. down 20 percent from 1996. Yield is forecast at
5,700 pounds per acre, 500 pounds less than a year ago.
The 1997 Texas soybean crop is forecast at 10.8 million bushels, up 54 percent from last
year's production. Harvested acreage is expected to jump
by 48 percent, and yield is expected to average
27.0 bushels per acre, compared with 26.0 last year.
Boll weevil making move into Trans-Pecos
By REX D. FRIESEN, Ph.D
Extension Agent-IPM Pecos, Reeves-Loving Co.
There is a new insect pest in our region that is making its
presence known to local cotton growers. Nearly everyone has probably
heard the name "boll weevil" before, but few people in the Trans-Pecos
know much about it because it has been a stranger to these parts until
What is the boll weevil?
The boll weevil is a small (1/4"), light brown beetle with a
long, downward-pointing "snout" that is typical of most weevils. There
are many species of weevils, but this one is particular to cotton.
Both the adult beetles and their immature larval grubs are
damaging to cotton. The adults feed by puncturing the flower
buds ("squares") or young bolls with
their long snout. The snout, which has their jaws at the tip, enables them to
reach deep into the fruit to feed on the developing pollen or seeds.
After mating, mature female boll weevils lay their eggs inside a
feeding puncture in the square or boll and then seal the hole with a small
"plug" to keep the fruit from drying out.
Females may lay around 100 eggs. The boll weevil larva is a small
white, legless grub that feeds inside cotton squares and bolls. When the grub
has completed development, it changes into a pupa and several days
later emerges from the boll as an adult weevil.
Boll weevils go through several generations in a year and may
go from egg to egg-laying adult in as few as 18 days in mid-summer. As
the nights begin to cool in mid-late September, and as cotton crops
begin to finish up, the weevil population begins to switch from a
normal, reproductive mode into a winter diapause, or "winter sleep" mode.
As they do so, they begin to search for good host fields that still have
squares and young bolls to feed on and fatten up for the winter. This
searching leads to long distance migrations that disperse them region-wide.
Once they have fed for about two weeks and have built up their fat
reserves, they search for places to pass the winter. These winter sleep sites
are usually under duff end leaf litter, but if infested fields are close to
urban areas, they may also include under roof shingles or any other place
that will afford them protection from the cold.
After passing the winter, the spring rains and warming weather
wakes them from their sleep and they hungrily search for cotton fields
to feed in, thus beginning the whole cycle over again.
Boll weevils have been associated with cotton production for
many years in the deep south, requiring up to 20 applications of insecticide
per season for control of weevils alone (growers in our area typically
apply 1-5 insecticide applications by comparison). Boll weevils are also
a serious problem in the Panhandle and east of us.
As a result of their growing problems with boll weevils,
growers there entered into an extensive program to eradicate
(eliminate) them region wide with the help of the USDA and cotton
grower organizationsa key to success with boll weevil eradication
or suppression is area wide cooperation. Intensive trapping of adult
boll weevils was carried out to identify infested fields and
insecticide treatments were mandatory on all cotton acres where boll weevil
trap captures were made. All growers were charged fees to cover costs
of treatments. Widespread controversy and court cases in 1996
effectively closed down the program, which has left growers there on their
own to fight the problem.
Our problems with boll weevils began in 1995, when
a few traps in our area (Coyanosa) registered captures in
late September following a northern cold front that passed
through earlier that month. By the end of November, over 4,000
boll weevils had been captured and some grubs had been
found. Scattered captures were also made throughout Pecos,
Reeves, and Ward counties.
The USDA took notice of our local grower reports and
funded a trapping program in the three counties to determine
the distribution of boll weevils in the Trans Pecos. By placing traps
in nearly every cotton field in the region and monitoring
them every 1-2 weeks, early season captures in some areas
indicated that boll weevils were probably established here, but
numbers remained low until the fall and no economic damage
The USDA again funded the trapping program for 1997,
and this season we have seen a dramatic increase in boll
weevil captures in every location compared to 1996.
A boll weevil action meeting was held in Pecos Sept. 12, to discuss
the seriousness of the problem and options for action.
Growers unanimously agreed that something must be done.
Dr. Chris Sansone, Extension Entomologist from San
Angelo discussed strategies to reduce the boll weevil diapause population this
fall to help growers next year. A plan was agreed on to treat on or
near designated dates those fields having squares or small bolls.
These types of treatments are termed fall diapause
treatments because they target the boll weevils as they fatten up for winter
diapause. Since boll weevils require about 10 days to two weeks of feeding to
fatten up, several well-timed insecticide treatments applied at
approximately 10-14 day intervals will
significantly reduce the number of weevils successfully going into diapause
and therefore reduce the numbers coming out in the spring.
As Dr. Sansone emphasized, "it is all a numbers gamewhich do
you want, a million weevils going into diapause or a thousand?"
A key to success is applications put out as close to the treatment
dates as possible so that survivors cannot "hopscotch" over to untreated
fields to escape. Initiation of treatments will begin on or near Oct. 1, and
second and third treatments on Oct. 11 and Oct. 22.
Applications of defoliants, which cause leaves and young fruit
forms to fall off, may substitute for insecticide treatments on any of
the above dates.
Because the Trans-Pecos is not involved in any formal
weevil eradication or suppression program, any efforts by growers will
be voluntary and cooperation may be difficult to obtain. Cotton growers
are encouraged to talk to their cotton-producing neighbors to enlist
Since cost of insecticides and application costs affect the total
costs to the growers, local aerial applicators have agreed to offer
a reduction in price to put on these treatments if large acreages
are committed within an area. Bulk purchases of chemicals are also
being negotiated to reduce costs. Total cost to growers is expected to be
$12-15 per acre for the 3 targeted applications.
If cotton growers have any questions about this treatment
plan, contact me at 336-3163.
Children are at risk around agriculture
It is impossible to know the exact number of children who
are seriously injured or killed on our nation's farms and ranches
each year. Estimates range from 100 to 300 deaths and from 100,000
to 250,000 injuries each year. While we don't know the exact
number of injury events, there are many things we do know about
children, production agriculture, and injuries.
* From one-third to one-half of nonfatal childhood
agricultural injuries occur to children who do not live on farms.
* The highest farm injury rate is among boys 14-17 years of age.
* Tractors are associated with the greatest number of deaths
to children on farms.
* Nonfatal farm injuries are often associated with livestock,
falls, small tools, building structures, and moving machinery parts.
In order for a farm to be a safe place for a child to live and/or
visit, the farm must first be a safe environment for adults.
All standard safety measures and practices should be in place
on any farm where children are present. Adults should keep in mind
that they are responsible for maintaining the safety of any child
or adolescent who may be present on the farm worksite.
When assessing when and where a child should be present on
a farm worksite, the owner/operator and parent should consider
the fact that farming is one of the most hazardous occupations in
the U.S. and the worksite holds dangers that are comparable
to construction workers and miners.
For every hazard present on a farm, there should be a barrier that
protects children and other visitors from that hazard.
What can farmers and parents do to protect their children from danger?
First of all, it is helpful to know what types of injuries occur most
frequently to children in the local region; that is, different types of injuries are
associated with different types of production agriculture. Once adults are aware of
the primary agents of injury, decisions should be made regarding
the appropriateness of having children watching or participating in the
work environment. These decisions should be made far in advance of any
work requirements that may tempt the adult to have children observe or help
Young children are subject to potential problems associated with
exposure to dusts, vibration, noise, and other physical hazards in the
worksite. Therefore, they should have limited exposure to the farm worksite. As
children age and mature, their presence and participation in the worksite should
be adapted to their physical and cognitive skills. There are several
educational resources that will help farmers and parents determine if, and when,
their child is ready to participate in farm work.
In addition to safety education, specific steps can be taken to
minimize risk of agricultural disease and injuries to children:
1. Create barriers on farms to prevent children and other
visitors from entering particularly hazardous areas.
2. Work with farming organizations at all levels to develop
programs which could provide adequate child care for children of farm
families and farm laborers.
3. Work with safety specialists and farming organizations to
develop standards regarding age- and developmentally -appropriate
guidelines for children's work in agriculture.
4. Prohibit adolescents from operating farm tractors and
machinery before they have received formal training and safety certification.
Never allow children to be riders on tractors.
5. Ensure that hired workers understand the risk of
disease transmission or chemical exposures to children if they fail to
practice cleaning procedures when going home from the worksite.
Farms and ranches are beginning to look more like factories
and warehouses than the quiet farmsteads of days gone by. So, rather than
letting the farm be a giant playground for kids, let's think of it as an educational,
but potentially dangerous worksite that should include children in
The National Safety Council encourages all farmers and ranchers to
take the first step and put an emphasis on safety during National Farm Safety
and Health week and throughout the year. It will take a team effort to
prevent injuries to children on the farm and other farm and ranch injuries.
Farming among most dangerous occupations
AUSTIN, - In an effort to emphasize safety awareness
and education for everyone involved in agriculture,
Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry announced that the week of Sept.
21 - 27 has been declared Farm Safety and Health Week in Texas.
This year's theme is "Safety and Health: the First Step
Toward Sustainable Agriculture."
"It is important for everyone involved in agriculture
to promote safety awareness and follow safe work practices,"
Perry said. "The health and safety of all our agricultural workers
is vital to Texas."
Farming is considered among the most dangerous
occupations in the United States. The Texas Department of
Agriculture stresses safety year-round through its Farm and Ranch
Safety Program. The program provides friendly tips and reminders
for producers and their families.
Perry offered the following steps to promote safety and health:
1. Equip tractors with an approved rollover
protective structure and wear seat belts;
2. Operate tractors and equipment without
carrying passengers or extra riders;
3. Inspect your farm or ranch and equipment for any hazards
and correct them;
4. When operating equipment, follow safe work procedures
described in the operator's manual or safety publications; Wear personal
5. Attend farm safety, first aid and defensive driving courses.
TDA is involved in education with safety booths at fairs,
livestock shows and trade exhibitions. In addition, the agency works
extensively with the Texas Safety Association's agricultural committee on farm
For information on TDA's Farm and Ranch Safety Program,
contact Lola Lemmon, safety coordinator, at (512) 475-1611.
The National Safety Council reminds residents that
this is National Farm Safety and Health Week. The
theme for the week is "Safety and health: the First Step
Toward Sustainable Agriculture." It is important that
everyone involved in agriculture promote safety awareness
and follow safe work practices. A Farm Safety and
Health Week packet can be obtained from the National
Safety Council for those interested in the future promotion
or teaching of farm safety.
Call 1-800-621-7615, ext. 2087, to get a copy.
Kids and grain: A dangerous combination
Digging his son out of a grain wagon was one nightmare an
Iowa farmer didn't think he'd ever repeat. He did, however, about a dozen
years later when he rescued a neighbor's child who was buried in grain.
Luckily, the farmer worked quickly and both children
survived. This story shows how easily such accidents can happen. The lesson
is that while grain acts in predictable ways, children don't.
"Children are fascinated by grain and a wagon load of corn might
look like a giant sandbox and not a life-threatening situation," says
Charles Schwab, an Iowa State University Extension safety specialist. "A
young child can be buried within seconds if the auger is running and the child
falls or jumps into the wagon. Even when the auger is not on, gravity and
any kind of movement pull the child deeper into the grain."
Schwab says many grain suffocations occur when the
operator isn't aware that someone's in a wagon or bin and begins to unload
it. Equipment noise makes it difficult to hear cries for help or notice
when someone disappears from the area.
"The operator may not even be aware there's problem until a hat
or shoe comes out in the grain," he adds. "By that time, the person is
buried and probably is having trouble breathing or already has
In the Iowa incident, the farmer's son had been sitting on top of
the wagon watching his mother unload it when he decided to slide down
into the grain. In the later incident, the child crawled on the wagon
and apparently fell into the slow-moving grain while the farmer had
stepped away from the area for a few moments. Both times the
farmer worked against time and the force of grain to keep the children alive
until they could be rescued.
"Grain has a tremendous force that most people don't understand
unless they've experienced it," Schwab says. "Parents may think they can
pull a young child out of two or three feet of grain, but it's very difficult if
Schwab says that to rescue a 53-pound child caught in
knee-deep grain, an adult must be able to lift 71 poundsthe weight of the child
plus the frictional force of the grain. The strength required to lift the
same child out of shoulder-deep grain can be 240 pounds, more than most
men can handle.
He adds that even if you could lift that much, the child would be
injured. As a person gets caught deeper, grain exerts more force, sometimes
as much as a small car.
Contrary to popular belief, Schwab says it requires just as
much strength to pull someone out of stationary grain as it does
flowing grain. The only difference is that a person is being buried deeper in
grain that is moving.
He recommends these precautions, especially
during harvest activities:
Never allow children to play in grain and keep them
out of areas where grain is being handled.
Check inside the bin or wagon before turning on
power to the auger.
Before entering a bin, always disconnect the power
to an unloading auger or lock the unloading gate.
Always know where other people are in the work
area, and never leave the area unattended while grain is
being loaded or unloaded.
Make sure all family members and employees understand grain hazards.
Explain dangers to younger family members in terms
they can relate to, such as comparing grain to
quicksand, and remind them about family rules.
Model safe behavior yourself, such as never climbing into a grain
wagon while it's being unloaded.
The National Safety Council encourages all farmers and
ranchers to take the first step and put an emphasis on safety during
National Farm Safety and Health week and throughout the year. It will take
a team effort to prevent grain handling injuries to children and other
farm and ranch injuries.
# # #
Prepared by: Dr. Charles V. Schwab, Extension Safety
Specialist, Iowa State University, 206A Davidson Hall, Ames, IA
50011-3080. Tel. 515-294-6360. Fax: 515-294-9973.
E-mail: email@example.com. National Safety Council Agricultural
For more information on farm safety and health, please
contact Terry L. Wilkinson, Ph.D., CSP, Manager, Agricultural Safety at
the National Safety Council, Itasca, Ill., (800) 621-7615, Ext. 2087.
Sharing the road safely with farm vehicles
If you've driven on rural roads, you know the spine-tingling chill when you pop over a hill and come upon
a slow-moving tractor. Only a split-second reaction can save you from a collision.
About 47 percent of all deaths from unintentional injuries are caused by motor vehicles. According to
the National Safety Council, this represented 43,900 deaths in 1995. Motor vehicle collisions with farm
vehicles contribute to the number of unintentional injuries each year. These vehicle collisions can be prevented.
By understanding how they occur, motorists can take defensive driving steps to avoid becoming a statistic.
· One of the most common collisions happens when a motorist tries to pass a left-turning farm vehicle.
A tractor that appears to be pulling to the right side of the road to let motorists pass instead, may be preparing
to make a wide left turn. Check the left side of the road for gates, driveways or any place a farm vehicle might
turn. Watch the farmer's hand and light signals carefully.
· Rear-end collisions with farm vehicles also are common because the large difference in speed. It can
be difficult to judge traffic speeds from a distance, so slow down as soon as you see a tractor or slow
moving vehicle emblem (an orange triangle outlined in red). Stay a safe distance behind farm vehicles.
· Another common type of collision happens as motorists pass farm equipment. This equipment may be
extra-long, so be sure you can see the farm vehicle in your rearview mirror before you get back in your lane.
· Be patient. Even if you have to slow down to 20 miles an hour for a tractor for two miles, it takes only
six minutes of your time, about the same as waiting for three stoplights.
Rural roads can be used safely by everyone. To help you enjoy your time on country roads or make your
work commute safer practice these defensive driving tips.
A farm operator's most dangerous job
Moving billions of bushels of grain to storage and market
could be a farm operator's most dangerous job all year, says an
Iowa State University (ISU) Extension safety specialist.
"Hauling grain might not seem risky compared to working
with augers or powerful machinery, but when you do it in traffic on
state highways and county roads, farm operators are
very vulnerable," says Charles Schwab,
associate professor at ISU's Department of Agricultural and
Biosystems Engineering. About 47 percent of all deaths from
unintentional injuries are caused by motor vehicles. According to the
National Safety Council, this represented 43,900 deaths in 1995.
Motor vehicle collisions with farm vehicles contribute to the
number of unintentional injuries each year. The three most common types
of farm vehicle collisions are left-turn collisions that happen as
motorists pass left-turning tractors; rear-end collisions, when motorist fail
to slow down for slow-moving tractors; and collisions as
other motorists try to pass extra-wide or long farm vehicles.
"This shows the importance of having good lights
and signage on all farm equipment, especially wagons," Schwab
says. He adds that motorists also may be unfamiliar with the outline of
farm equipment, especially at dusk when operators are returning from
fields. Unfamiliarity can cause a split-second delay in reaction that,
in many cases, leads to a collision.
Schwab offers these defensive driving tips for rural roads this fall:
· When you travel at speeds less than 25 miles an hour, display
a slow-moving vehicle emblem (an orange triangle outlined in
red). Make sure it is mounted properly and is not faded.
· Be sure to signal your intentions before you turn. Use
the turn signal on new tractors, or a hand signal for older tractors.
· Scout out your route before traveling it. Look for an
alternate route with less traffic, or choose a different time for
transporting equipment that is not during peak traffic.
· Check with your local sheriff or department of
transportation for regulations about farm vehicles using public roads.
The National Safety Council encourages all farmers and
ranchers to take the first step and put an emphasis on safety during
National Farm Safety and Health Week and throughout the year. It will take
a team effort to prevent injuries from roadway collisions with
farm equipment and other farm and ranch injuries.
4-H searches for alumni
COLLEGE STATION, - Many role models for today's youth were once proud members of the Texas 4-H
program. This list includes such individuals as former Dallas football player Chad Hennings, football legend Don
Meredith, country singer George Strait and actress Sissy Spacek.
A "4-H Heritage Search" is on to locate as many former 4-H members and friends as possible to join The
4-H Friends and Alumni Association of Texas. The search will run through Dec. 31.
Dr. Bonnie McGee, assistant to the director of the Texas A&M University Agricultural Extension Service,
said alumni have shown their consistent support for 4-H in many diverse ways over the years. The 4-H Friends
and Alumni Association of Texas is being established to strengthen the Texas 4-H Youth Development Program
and recognize alumni.
"Today's Texas 4-H remains the state's largest youth organization with more than 600,000 young people
enrolled in the program," McGee said. "It will help 4-H to more concisely coordinate ways to let members know what
is transpiring as new developments are made in the state. More importantly, development of the new organization
will allow people to maintain support and enable members to help youths learn valuable life skills."
The 4-H Heritage Search will provide young people with the opportunity to assist county agents in locating
former members and friends. The project will also allow youths the chance to collect 4-H historical information for
A one-time payment of $500 is required for a lifetime membership in the organization. Charter memberships
are available until Dec. 31 for $100. In subsequent years, a charter member pays an annual fee of $25.
Some additional membership types are also available, such as joint, $45; regular, $25; and collegiate, $15.
A special category is designated for corporations/organizations as well.
For more information about The 4-H Friends and Alumni Association of Texas, contact your local county
extension agent or the Texas 4-H Foundation at 409-845-1213.
Hunters safety course offered by
A Hunters Safety Course will be given Saturday, Oct. 4 and
Sunday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Texas-New Mexico Power
Room, 1126 Stafford Blvd., in Pecos.
Reeves County Extension Office
Preregistration for the class is Sept. 29 by calling the Reeves
County Extension Office at 915-447-9041, or come by the office located at
700 Daggett-Suite E. A fee of $10.00 per person will be required, and
you are asked to have the correct amount with you when you come Oct. 4.
The Reeves County Game Warden, Jim Allen, will be conducting
the classes. Following are some of the criteria for taking the course:
- Anyone can take the Hunters Safety Course, but if you are
under the age of 12, you will not get credit for the course, and will have to
take it again when you reach age 12
- If you are age 12-16 and have passed the Hunters Safety
Course, you can hunt without adult supervision
- If your birth date falls on or after Sept. 2, 1971, you are required
to have taken and passed the Hunters Safety Course in order to hunt.
If you have questions, please contact Allen at 915-445-7487.
Permanent identification protects horse investment
By C.W. ROBERTS
CEA/AG Reeves-Loving Counties
Branding or marking horses in not mandatory under a new state
law, but permanent identification of horses is a wise idea, according to
Dr. Pete Gibbs, horse specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
The new law - which targets horse thieves - went into effect Sept.
1, 1997. A $5-per-head fee will be charged for each horse arriving at
the slaughter plant. Of that fee, $2 will go through the Extension Service
for educational programs and material development and $3 will be
remitted to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA)
to pay for the group to inspect horses sold for slaughter.
Approximately 50,000 to 70,000 horses will be harvested for pet
food and for meat exported for human consumption in 1997, according to
Horse identification is not mandatory in Texas.
"We hope horse owners will realize that there are many
methods available of permanently identifying horses," Gibbs said.
"We hope people will do a better job of getting photographs and
written materials that describe the color, the markings, that sort of thing on
Any permanent identification of a horse needs to be first
registered with the county clerk.
Gibbs said it is not easy to get a handle on the number of horses
stolen each year in Texas because such records simply are not kept.
"Some horse thefts, unfortunately, are never reported and added to the
total count," Gibbs said.
Tracking of stolen horses can be difficult because of the
frequency and locations whereby horses change hands. Most counties in Texas
have private auction groups that conduct "trader sales" at least once a
month. Therefore, horses may change hands several times before ending up
at their final destination, whether that is a slaughter plant or
For individual horse owners, permanent identification will, in
itself, have a positive impact on decreasing horse theft, Gibbs said.
According to the TSCRA, theft is essentially impossible to prove
unless identification is absolute. Gibbs said, "Possession holds a certain
amount of power and people currently are under no obligation to prove they
own a horse. Rather, somebody must be able to prove that a horse in a
person's possession is stolen."
Some of the marks put on horses to identify them include hot
branding, freeze branding with irons, stencils or kryo kinetics (an alpha angle
code), acid branding, hoof branding and upper lip tattoos.
Natural physical marks that may be used to identify horses
are signalment, or the horse's natural color and marking; chestnuts, or
night eyes; trichoglyphs, or whorls or cowlicks.
Owners may also prove ownership with electronic implants in horses.
Labeling of imported foods and the dairy price crisis
WASHINGTON,D.C.-Labeling of imported foods and the dairy
price crisis were two of the main issues addressed by Farmers
Union members to the Clinton Administration and Congress
during the organization's annual Washington fly-in Sept. 7-10.
are important to producers, consumers
Farmers Union members renewed their call for
country-of-origin labeling of imported foods during
the fly-in. Recent outbreaks of hepatitis from Mexican
strawberries, cyclospora in Guatemalan raspberries, and the recent recall
of ground beef by Hudson Foods due to an outbreak of E.coli have
raised concerns among consumers regarding the countries where
their food is produced. Canada, Australia, Japan and European nations
require country-of-origin labeling for imported meat and produce.
Other consumer products, such as automotive and clothing,
have country-of-origin labeling.
"Quite frankly, the food I consume is much more important than the
car I drive," said Texas Farmers Union President Wes Sims of
Sweetwater during his visits with members of Congress. "Mandatory food
labeling will allow me as a consumer to choose what I feed
Several bills have been introduced in Congress which would
require country-of-origin labeling on imported meats, fruits or vegetables.
Commenting on the meat labeling bill, Brian Chandler of Midland
said, "It's ironic that we have in place a law disallowing state-inspected
meat processing plants that meet or exceed federal meat inspection
standards from shipping their meat across state lines, yet imported meat moves
freely throughout the United States."
American dairy farmers experienced a 30 percent plunge
in the Basic Formula Price they received between August, 1996
and last June, despite the fact that demand for dairy products has
increased faster than production during the past several years. Even though
prices plunged to the farmer, consumers did not see any significant savings at
the grocery store. Low prices are driving out as many as 75 dairy
operations per day in the U.S. Texas is losing an average of 26 per month.
Farmers Union and other participating organizations
presented thousands of signed petitions from dairy producers and other
concerned persons to President Clinton, Secretary of Agriculture
Glickman and key members of Congress, calling for a temporary floor price
of $14.50 per hundredweight on fluid milk until permanent dairy
policy reforms are made by 1999, as mandated under the current farm
bill. "Sense of the Senate" and "Sense
of the House" resolutions were introduced Sept. 9, which call
for temporary floor price.
"This would not interfere with dairy exports. It should not
increase consumer prices," noted Wes Sims during a dairy news conference
Sept. 9, attended by several hundred dairy producers in front of the U.S. Capitol.
John Denton, a milk producer from Axtell took to Washington
milk stubs from 1981 to 1997, which showed that the prices in the
1980s were $14.75 (per hundredweight) to $15, whereas his last milk
check brought $12.41 (per hundredweight).
Denton said, "Dairy producers are going out of business all over
the United States at a record number, and something has to be done and be
During this year's fly-in, NFU officials presented USDA
Secretary Dan Glickman with a request that President Clinton appoint a
cabinet level commission to study concentration in all sectors of
"Monopolization of industries such as we are seeing today
at unprecedented levels, has destroyed free, competitive markets in
this country," Sims said. "It also empowers special interest
groups over individual citizens in our government's
Members also discussed improving safety net features of
the current farm bill, which would give producers more marketing
flexibility in the increasingly volatile marketplace. Farmers Union
is calling for removing the cap on commodity loan rates; extend
the loan period from the present nine months to 15 months; expand
the Crop Revenue Coverage program; and reauthorization of the
Farmer-Owned Reserve and keep it insulated from the market.
Farmers Union also urged Congress to reject
fast-track legislation because it prevents lawmakers from having any
direct involvement in trade agreement negotiations. Under fast
track, Congress can only vote to accept or reject an agreement with
no amendments allowed, and debate is limited to no more than 20 hours.
The Clinton Administration and some members of Congress want to reinstate fast track as a tool in their attempt to
expand the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to include several South American countries.
"The current NAFTA has many problems," noted TFU President Sims. "Imports have increased 44 percent
since NAFTA, yet, less than one percent of these products is inspected. This has led to the introduction of diseases in
this country such as the recent outbreak of Karnal bunt in our wheat. Let's slow down and fix the problems before
we think about expanding these trade agreements."
Farmers Union members attending this year's fly-in spent a half-day meeting with USDA leadership,
including Secretary Glickman, Farm Service Agency Administrator Keith Kelly, Rural Development Undersecretary Jill
Long Thompson, Marketing and Regulatory Programs Assistant Secretary Mike Dunn, Farm and Foreign
Agriculture Service Undersecretary Gus Schumacher and Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Undersecretary Tom
Hebert. The group also had the opportunity to discuss federal disaster assistance with James Lee Witt, director of the
Federal Emergency Management Agency. A number of Farmers Union members were also invited to participate in a
round table discussion with members of Congress.
TFU members participating in the fly-in included Wes Sims of Sweetwater, Joe Rankin of Ralls, Brian Chandler
of Midland, Charles Lindsey of China Spring, John Denton of Axtell and Billy Miller of McGregor.
Second cantaloupe crop not affected by recent rains
Recent rainstorms did not drop enough precipitation to delay
Pecos Cantaloupe Company's second picking this year, according
to spokesman A.B. Foster.
"We've had a few showers around here, and they haven't bothered
us," Foster said last Thursday.
"We'll start picking a few this weekend," said Foster.
He can't predict what the yield will be, although it will not be a
"We don't know" what the harvest will bring in, he said, because "it's
a late crop, and we don't have many acres."
Foster said that this is only the second year that the company
has produced a second cantaloupe crop, "so it's still an experiment."
Pecos Cantaloupe's bell pepper harvest will begin on time,
"around the first of October," Foster said.
The crop "looks good right now," he said.
Foster said that the bell pepper harvest should last until
early November. He can't predict how many peppers the harvest will
bring in though, because "we still have the weather factor."
Pecos Cantaloupe has about 150 acres planted with bell peppers.
Report offers insight into condition
of modern farm operators, households
What is the average gross income for U.S. farms? How many hours do farmers spend working off the farm?
How connected are they to electronic sources of information?
These are some of the questions answered in Structural and Financial Characteristics of U.S. Farms, 1994:
19th Annual Family Farm Report to the Congress. The report is based on farm operator responses to USDA's Farm
Costs and Returns Survey (FCRS), conducted annually in the 48 contiguous states. It describes the characteristics of
farms, farm operators, and farm operator households, and assesses their financial performance. This edition also
provides information on farm operators not previously available: their sources of farm business information, the criteria
by which they measure business success, and their business goals.
More than 2 million U.S. farms produced agricultural commodities that generated an average of $74,000 in
gross value of sales per farm in 1994. Still, 73 percent of farms had gross value of sales under $50,000
(noncommercial farms), although they accounted for just 11 percent of total U.S. farm sales.
Gross cash farm income (adjusted to exclude the share of production accruing to landlords and contractors)
averaged near $69,000. However, gross cash farm income for the nation's largest farms (sales $1 million or more)
averaged almost $2 million, so that less than one percent of farms accounted for 23 percent of gross cash farm income.
Commodity sales accounted for 84 percent of total gross cash farm income, with government payments adding five percent
and other farm income 11 percent.
Acreage per farm, which has tripled over the last six decades, averaged 448 acres operated in 1994, but half of
all farms were under 180 acres. Livestock farms producing some combination of beef cattle, hogs and sheep
accounted for the largest share of farms grouped by farm type. Even though these farms had larger acreage than the
U.S. average, they had lower average gross cash farm income and gross value of sales.
Half of all farms cash rented or share rented some or all of the land they operated in 1994. Farm operators
who owned all the land they operated but had a rental arrangement for machinery, buildings, or livestock (five percent
of full owners) had income and sales five times as high as full owners who rented nothing.
More than 90 percent of farm businesses were legally organized as individual operations, while six percent
of farms were partnerships and four percent were corporations (most of which were family-owned). Farms organized
as individual operations averaged more than $50,000 in gross value of sales and had farm assets that averaged more
While 13 percent of all farm operators reported having some contractual arrangement for production and/or
marketing of farm commodities, farms with marketing contracts outnumbered farms with production contracts by more
than four to one. Use of contracting arrangements varied by such farm characteristics as sales class and type of
production. For example, more than 60 percent of poultry farms had production contracts.
Net cash farm income averaged $11,696 for farms nationwide, but ranged from negative for farms with sales
under $50,000 to more than $380,000 for farms with sales of $1 million or more. Farm assets generally increased with
To Get the Full Report...
The information presented here is summarized from
Structural and Financial Characteristics of U.S.
Farms, 1994: 19th Annual Family Farm Report to the
Congress, AIB-735, by Judith E. Sommer and others.
For a copy, call 202-219-0510 or 202-219-9054, fax your request to 202-501-6156, or e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
For additional U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service data and analysis, visit our web site
Texas monthly oil, gas statistics
AUGUST PERMITS TO DRILL
The Commission issued a total of 1,216 original drilling permits in August compared
to 1,057 in August 1996. The August total included 929 permits to drill new oil and gas wells,
42 to re-enter existing well bores, and 245 for re-completions.
So far in 1997, there have been 9,380 drilling permits issued compared to 8,270
recorded during the same period in 1996.
Permits issued in August included 455 oil, 296 gas, 400 oil and gas, 40 injection, and 9
AUGUST OIL AND GAS COMPLETIONS
In August, operators reported 318 oil, 387 gas, 24 injection and no other
completions, compared to 331 oil, 358 gas, and 27 injection and three other completions during the
same month of last year.
Total well completions for 1997 year-to-date is 6,142 up from 5,832 recorded during
the same period in 1996.
Operators reported 523 holes plugged and 128 dry holes in August compared to 588
holes plugged and 111 dry holes during the same period last year.
Texas preliminary June 1997 crude oil production averaged 1,300,966 barrels daily,
down from the 1,322,916 barrels daily average of June 1996.
The preliminary Texas crude oil production figure for June 1997 is 39,028,970 barrels,
a decrease from the 39,687,493 barrels reported during June 1996.
JUNE NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION
Texas oil and gas wells produced 444,088,028 Mcf (thousand cubic feet) of gas based
upon preliminary production figures for June 1997, down from the June 1996 preliminary gas
production total of 451,955,099 Mcf.
Texas gas production in June came from 162,627 oil and 50,847 gas wells.
Meat concerns prove need for market reforms
Recent events surrounding the Hudson Beef scare prove the
need for serious and immediate market reform, a coalition of
livestock industry leaders said today.
"American livestock producers dedicated to providing
consumers with the best products available are extremely frustrated by the
events surrounding the Hudson Beef situation," said Mike Callicrate,
a Kansas Feed Yard owner and chairman of the market
"The current market system virtually robs consumers of
the ability to select our products in the retail marketplace."
Callicrate and other industry representatives in the
coalition noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has so far been
unable to specifically locate the source of slaughter for the tainted
beef processed at the Hudson facility. Meat currently sold in the
United States is not required to list the country of origin.
Legislation now under consideration in congress
would implement country of origin labeling for livestock
products. That legislation has received strong backing from the industry
leaders involved in the Market Reform Coalition.
Wes Sims, president of Texas Farmers Union and member of
the coalition steering committee noted, "Consumers deserve the right
to choose between domestically-produced beef and
The coalition strongly criticized the recent acquisition of
Hudson Beef by IBP, Inc. IBP already controls 38 percent of the
nation's meat slaughter.
"The consolidation of the meat processing industry into a few
hands has done absolutely nothing to increase the quality of beef
delivered to the American public. Producers and consumers alike are ill-served
by the further consolidation in this industry," said Callicrate.
Roughly 50 livestock industry representatives meeting in
Jackson, Mississippi organized the Market Reform Coalition in early July.
The "Jackson Principles" adopted by the coalition include:
· Free, open, competitive markets with price disclosure
that reflects true market value; and
· Commitment to delivering high quality, safe, healthy products
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