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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Living off the Land

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 1998

Slowed cotton crop now thriving

Contributing Writer
Agriculture in Reeves County has taken its licks from the
extremely hot weather in early summer. Some crops,
especially produce, received a degree of damage and suffered
loss of quality at market.

The Reeves County cotton crop, with an aggregate total of
approximately 8,000 acres standing, may have weathered the
heat better than other crops. Although the plants were
slowed in growth in June, according to Reeves County
Agricultural Extension Agent, C.W. Roberts, they seem to
have made a reasonable recovery.

Taken from statistics published by the Texas A&M
Agricultural Research Station at Pecos, the average yield
for Reeves County cotton stands at 1.5 bales per acre. The
boll count this year, according to Roberts, would indicate a
possible increase. However, any increase would be so
miniscule as not to offer a significant consequence to the
farmer, he said.

A high percentage of genetically altered cotton
(approximately 80 percent) was planted in Reeves County this
year. Known as Bt cotton, genes have been added to the
varieties to allow the plants to produce their own toxins
for the control of some insect species.

According to Dr. Rex Friesen, Integrated Pest Management
Agent with the Texas A & M Agricultural Extension Service,
serving Pecos, Reeves, and Ward Counties, the genetically
altered crop is performing very well.

"The Bt varieties have been 100 percent effective at
controlling pink bollworm and about 80 percent effective
controlling Cotton bollworm," says Friesen. "Very few fields
have required treatment for these pests."

Friesen also stated that upland and pima cotton, for the
most part, have required insecticide treatment for cotton
bollworm and pink bollworm. All varieties, including Bt,
have had some incidence of stinkbug infestation which
required insecticide application. Isolated cases of beet
armyworm have been treated as well.

Overall, Friesen says it has been about an average bug year.
The genetically altered cotton varieties have had a positive
impact on insecticide use.

Due to wide-spread drought conditions cotton acreages have
been depressed this year in parts of this country and around
the world. Bob Bickley, Executive Director of Trans-Pecos
Cotton Association, said that farmers cannot expect to
profit from the misfortunes of those areas. World production
of cotton is forecast to be down this year, but so are
cotton prices.

"I'm not sure I can explain why that is," says Bickley. "It
stands to reason that if the supply is less, the price
should go up. However, that is not necessarily true in the
world cotton market. As it stands now, that's not the case
this year."

Faced with ever increasing costs of production, the cotton
farmer continues to seek relief from competitive pressures.
Research has introduced more tolerant varieties of cotton
plants. Advanced marketing practices have increased cotton
sales. Improved farm machinery and management skills have
allowed the farmer to produce more cotton for the same
costs. The costs, however, of irrigation water, farm
equipment, fertilizers, insecticides, labor and taxes
continue to go beyond the farmer's control.

A reconciled estimate of costs to produce cotton in Reeves
County puts the per acre average at $475. This figure is
based on an approximation, derived from figures quoted from
various in-county sources. The average annual yield of 1.5
bales per acre, multiplied by the projected cotton price for
this fall, undoubtedly leaves the farmers with the hope that
they are above average and will remain so.

The maturing crop is now in need of hot, dry weather to top
the plants and cause the bolls to crack. A cool spell with
damp weather can damage the quality of the crop.

Defoliation will begin around the first of October. Not only
does this facilitate the harvesting of the crop, it also is
a means of helping to control insects. The longer live
plants remain in the field, the more insects, such as the
boll weevil, have a chance to increase their over-wintering

"We have seen an increasing boll weevil population each year
in our area since 1995, except this year, due to the warm,
dry winter," says Friesen.

"Boll weevil captures this week have increased
significantly, but the numbers are still lower than last
year," Friesen said.

Friesen also said that killing the fruited plants early
helps to limit infestation for the next season.

Cotton harvest is expected to begin in late October. It will
continue through November, and wind down in December,
barring bad weather.

Two cotton gins currently operate in Reeves County. A saw
gin for processing upland cotton is located on State Highway
17, near Saragosa. A roller gin for pima cotton is in the
Alamo area. Both are operated by Don Kerley of Balmorhea, as
Alamo-Kerley Gins.

Kerley said he expects to gin the first upland cotton around
October 10. Pima cotton will come toward the end of October.

Both gins are modern equipped facilities. The saw gin has a
capacity of 18-20 bales per hour, and the roller gin handles
14-15 bales per hour.

"We have operated the gins for 10 years, now," says Kerley.
"We look forward to serving our customers again this season.
We expect a good year."

Farmers start weevil containment

Extension Agent
Pecos and Reeves-Loving Counties
Once again, the boll weevil is making its presence known to
cotton growers in the Trans-Pecos. 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 was observed. The USDA has funded the
trapping program for 1996-present, with this season to be
the last under this project.

This season we have seen a significant decrease in boll
weevil captures in every location compared to 1997,
primarily due to spraying last fall and a very warm, dry
winter. Economic losses due to boll weevils were experienced
by some growers for the first time last year. Although
economic losses due to boll weevils are not expected this
year, the continued presence of weevils in the Trans-Pecos
has prompted many growers to take action against them. The
Texas Agricultural Extension Service is assisting with
coordination of efforts and education.

A meeting was held in Pecos last Thursday, Sept. 18, to
discuss current weevil trapping results, the potential
seriousness of the problem, and options for action. Growers
unanimously agreed that something must be done again this
season. Dr. Rex Friesen, Extension Integrated Pest
Management agent for Pecos and Reeves Counties, reviewed
strategies and recommended steps to reduce the boll weevil
dispause population this fall to help growers next year.

The plan that was implemented last season called for
treatments on designated dates in those fields which: 1)
registered boll weevil captures, and 2) had squares or small

Last year chemical treatments began on Oct. 1. Growers
wanting to implement a more aggressive approach for this
year could initiate treatments earlier, starting on or near
Sept. 24, for example, or they may continue to treat beyond
the presence of small bolls (as a "clean-up" type of

Considering the area-wide "explosion" of weevil captures
that just occurred this past week, one of the more
aggressive approaches is recommended. The explosion in
weevil captures is suspected to be due to the storm that we
experienced last week, in which the strong winds from the
north probably brought the weevils with them.

The Plains, including Gaines counties and farther north,
are currently experiencing very heavy numbers of active boll
weevils and weevils are well known to be able to travel
great distances in the fall.

Fall chemical applications against boll weevils are termed
fall diapause treatments because they target the boll
weevils as they fatten up for winter diapause. Since boll
weevils require about ten 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

The two keys to success are area-wide participation and the
simultaneous application of insecticides 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. However, if growers
decide to defoliate, it is recommended for them to add an
insecticide to kill weevils present in their fields to
prevent their moving to neighboring fields.

Because the Trans-Pecos is currently not involved in a
weevil eradication or suppression program (although one is
the works to start next year), any efforts by growers will
be voluntary and, as a result, cooperation may be difficult
to achieve. However, cotton growers are encouraged to talk
to their cotton-producing neighbors to enlist their

Since cost of insecticides and application costs affect the
total costs to the growers, growers are encouraged to
contact chemical representatives and local aerial
applicators about the possibility of "bulk" or "group rates"
to purchase chemicals and or treat large acreages at one
time. If cotton growers have any questions about this
treatment plan, contact me at 336-3163.

Oil show exec gauges success by deals

ODESSA, TX. - Growing up worlds away from drilling rigs and
pumping units, it would have seemed improbable at best for
John Allan Dinger to imagine that one day he would preside
over the largest inland oil and gas exposition on the face
of the planet.

Yet here he is, president of the 1998 Permian Basin
International Oil Show, overseeing preparations that will
culminate in ribbon-cutting ceremonies to open the 24th
biennial exposition Oct. 20-22 at the Ector County Coliseum

Dinger was born and raised in the rural community of Decorah
in the north-eastern corner of Iowa, where the mettle of
young men was often as not tested in the corn field in
summer months and on the wrestling mat in winter. Today he
is owner and president of Slough Equipment Company on the
western end of 42nd Street in Odessa, smack dab in the heart
of the fabled oil fields of West Texas. Here, nearly
everything turns on the fortunes of oil and gas, and high
school heroes wear football helmets instead of headgear.

For sure, the Permian Basin seems a mighty long way from
Decorah. Then again, it is a great deal farther from western
Germany, where Dinger met the woman who first connected him
with the Midland-Odessa area-even, in fact, with the company
he now owns.

"After high school, I left Iowa for the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point (he was a collegiate wrestler in the
167- and 177-pound weight brackets, and was captain of the
Army team his senior year). "After graduating from West
Point in 1969, I went through several merit badge schools,
including Airborne, Ranger and office basic course," Dinger

His first assignment was at a U.S. military base in Germany,
on the fringes of the Iron Curtain. There, he was soon
introduced to Sunnye Fitzgerald, who had been hired by the
Department of Defense to teach the children of military
personnel stationed in the region. A native of the Permian
Basin, Sunnye's father, D.N. Fitzgerald, operated Slough
Equipment Company at the time.

John and Sunnye Dinger were married in Midland in 1971. The
couple then returned to Germany. Within a year and a half,
Dinger had been reassigned to a station in Korea, and his
wife had returned to Midland to await his return. "Our first
son Scott was born in 1973 while I was serving in Korea.
After five years in the military, I decided to join Sunnye
and Scott," he reflects. "That is when I started my oil
field career in the Midland-Odessa area."

Entering The Oil Field

To be exact, Dinger's oil field career began on May 1, 1974,
his first day on the job at a blowout preventer repair shop
in Odessa that was owned by Loffland Brothers Drilling
Company. "I worked there for a while trying to get some
exposure to the domestic oil field. Then, when a
roughnecking job opened on one of the Loffland rigs, I went
to work on a deep (20,000-foot) drilling ring," he recounts.
"After gaining some experience on the big rig, I went to
work for Tom Brown Drilling on a small rig that drilled
4,000-foot holes and moved every fifth day."

A few months later, Dinger says he went to work at Slough
Equipment Company, first in sales, then management, and then
purchasing 50 percent ownership in the company in 1978. He
bought the remaining 50 percent in 1983, just as the great
boom was about to turn into the great bust. All of a sudden,
"Things changed from when they were rigging up a drilling
rig on every street corner, and they stopped rigging any
rigs up anywhere," he recalls.

Things looked pretty bleak for a time, as they did
everywhere else then, but over the years Dinger says his
company has carved a niche for itself as a specialty house
catering to drilling contractors. Among its product lines
are Goodyear belts and hoses, T.B. Woods sheaves and hubs,
Hydril rubber products, and Lewis Manufacturing brake blocks
and rig housings. The company also has a section that
specializes in electrical sales and service, providing
generators, lighting equipment and electric hookups.

"Although we have historically served the drilling end of
the business, our motto is, 'If you need it, we will get it
for you.' That applies to all types of oil field equipment,"
he insists.

Like Father, Like Son

Always a family business, Dinger is now introducing a third
generation to the enterprise. After graduating from the
University of Oklahoma, Scott Dinger joined his dad's
company as a member of Slough Equipment's sales staff.
Dinger's youngest son, Jeff, will be a junior this fall at
Texas A&M studying architecture.

"My family has always been very important to me. Both boys
have been active in athletics, and I have followed and
supported them," he comments.

When not minding the store or spending time with his family,
Dinger says his free time is devoted to music (he plays both
guitar and harmonica), woodworking (he is in the process of
building a cabinet for one of his sons), and hunting.

Since his introduction to the oil patch 24 years ago, Dinger
has seen both the best and worst of times. He suggests that
the key to longevity and success in oil field supply, or any
other oil and gas venture for that matter, is learning how
to ride out the inevitable ups and downs in the marketplace.

"One of the things I have learned is that the oil business
is very cyclical," he explains. "Historically, the industry
seems to cycle about every 10 years, but when the cycles
occur is not as important as simply understanding that they
do occur. That means you have to take advantage of
opportunities, yet remain cautious of the pitfalls. Optimism
during the good times can get you into trouble by
over-extending and not being able to recover when the cycle
turns the other way. It can happen quickly, as we have
recently observed."

Despite the volatility, Dinger says the same principles that
apply to doing business in other industries hold true in the
oil field. "I do not believe that conducting business in
this industry is very different from any other industry. If
you treat people fairly, take responsibility, and are
responsive to their needs, you can be successful."

Face-To-Face Business

Perhaps the one characteristic that most distinguishes doing
business with Permian Basin oil and gas-related companies is
the reliance on face-to-face communication. Forget
electronic mail, satellite transmissions and video
conferencing: A deal is still not a deal unless it is sealed
with an old-fashioned handshake, Dinger says. "It is a very
personal industry," he confirms. "You need to see people,
talk with them in person, and do businesses man-to-man and

That, naturally, is where the Permian Basin International
Oil Show comes in. Every other year, the PBIOS puts
exhibitors offering all varieties of equipment in front of
the tens of thousands of industry professionals who visit
the show, and gives them three days to get to know one
another and conduct a little business. "Our mission at the
PBIOS is to get the exhibitors eyeball to eyeball with those
who buy their products and services," he says. "We have an
outstanding group of exhibitors this year, and expect a
great show."

Dinger was initiated into the PBIOS fold in l976, when
Slough Equipment Company began participating as an
exhibitor. "My first exposure to the show was as an
exhibitor," he points out.

He joined the PBIOS Board of Directors in 1986, and was then
nominated to the Executive Committee in 1988. As is
customary, Dinger has served as a vice president during the
last three oil shows. "We have three vice presidents, and
each vice president progresses toward the year when he is
president. That is the normal sequence, so that every
president has gained experience during three prior shows,
and can better understand the functioning of the show and
make good decisions."

Dinger says his tenure as president has been enjoyable as it
has been enlightening. "It has been a fun experience I have
developed an appreciation for how much work goes into each
show. The PBIOS does not simply happen; it takes a lot of
planning, dedication, and hard work by a lot of people," he
relates, adding that one of those people is PBIOS Executive
Director Jay Alvey. "Jay deserves a lot of recognition for
doing the footwork, identifying the decisions that must be
made, and handling the day-to-day details. He is the key to
the show's success."

One of the things Alvey has been busy with is taking the
PBIOS into cyberspace. This spring the oil show made its
debut on the Worldwide Web at The
PBIOS home page provides a directory of exhibit grounds and
buildings, a history of the show, and a complete listing of
exhibitors, complete with "hyperlinks" to each exhibitor's
Web site. "We continue to try to improve the show each year,
and going on the Internet is just one example of that,"
Dinger comments.

Continuous Improvement

Although less visible, there are other examples. In fact,
Dinger notes that the underlying objective of all the
various PBIOS committees is to make this year's show better
than any before it. "The committee chairmen work to
continually improve the work their committees do, and all
the chairmen are very, very capable and experienced people
who have done several shows. But as president of the show, I
darn sure try to help them address any challenges and work
with them to improve on what has been done in the past," he

The structure of the PBIOS and the well-honed skills of
those who lead the committees are a perfect fit with
Dinger's personal style of leadership. "I stay aware of the
details and always know what is going on, yet I prefer to
find good people willing to take responsibility, and then
try to make sure they are able to do their jobs to the very
best of their abilities," he offers. "I am here to support
them and back them up."

One detail the PBIOS no longer has to concern itself with is
attracting exhibitors. Once again, this year's exhibition is
a complete sellout. "All the exhibit spaces are sold, and we
have 75 companies on a waiting list that will take any
available space," Dinger reports.

"At a meeting in June, I informed the Board of Directors
that our job was half done-that is, the selling of exhibit
space and the arrangement of the exhibitors was complete,
but now we needed to turn our attention to making sure as
many visitors are able to get to the show as possible," he
continues. "That is our goal between now and Oct. 20, when
the show opens. It is going to be another record show, and I
welcome anyone who is interested in the oil business to

When it is all done, and the PBIOS '98 banner comes down and
his hitch as president is relegated to the history books,
Dinger says the most gratifying aspect of his service will
be knowing that the show he presided over fulfilled its
primary mission, and put the purveyors of the latest oil
field technologies in touch with those who needed them. In
many aspects, Dinger says the success of the show can be
measured by the deal.

"We always talk to our exhibitors after the show concludes,
and if they are satisfied, then we will have accomplished
our objective of providing a time and a place for the
exhibitors to show their products to the appropriate people
in the industry," he concludes. "As big as the show has
gotten, and with so much going on, we cannot lose sight of
the fact that that is what we are after. If we accomplish
that goal it will personally be very satisfying."

West Texas growers tour Far West farms

MEMPHIS - The Producer Information Exchange is celebrating
10 years, and the 1998 program hosted its fourth tour when
13 Southwest cotton producers observed innovative farming
systems in Arizona and California Aug. 22-28.

The producers visiting from Oklahoma and Texas sought to
gain insight about farming techniques from their Far West

The P.I.E., which is managed by the National Cotton
Council's Field Services staff, is made possible through a
grant from crop protection product supplier FMC Corporation
to The Cotton Foundation.

Ted Pierce, a Buckeye, Ariz., producer and Foundation
president, said that 419 producers have participated in the
P.I.E. program.

"This internal sharing of information among producers across
the Cotton Belt is helping U.S. cotton producers increase
their efficiency and their ability to compete in the world
marketplace," he said.

Ed Charry, FMC's manager, government regulations and
agribusiness affairs, Washington, D.C., said, "this program
gives producers the opportunity to see technology that could
improve their operations. The more they learn, the better
they are at their business, and FMC is happy to help provide
an opportunity for continuing education."

In celebration of the 10th anniversary, the Far West tour
hosted cookouts at Elks Lodge in Buckeye, Ariz. and at the
home of Don Gilkey in Corcoran, Calif.

The Far West tour began with a visit to Sundance Farms in
Coolidge, Ariz. The next day, they toured Accomazzo Farms
and several other local farms in the Tolleson area to
discuss conventional Arizona cotton production.

On the 25th, the group toured the Salt River Project before
traveling to Bakersfield, Calif. for an overview of
California cotton by Earl P. Williams, president and CEO of
California Cotton Growers & Ginners Association.

Then they learned about the USDA Plant Protection &
Quarantine programs, visited the Shafter Cotton Research
Station and heard a report from Hal Crosley, manager of the
Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District on the California
water delivery system. The group also toured a carrot
processing plant in Buttonwillow.

Winding up the tour, the group visited Gilkey Enterprises
and other growers in the Corcoran area and Curti Farms Dairy
for a cheese and butter production tour.

Other 1998 P.I.E. tours have included the southeastern
producers touring the mid-south, the western producers
touring Texas and the mid-south producers touring the
southeast. Participants are chosen through a selection
process conducted by state and regional producer


If someone were to ask you, "What is a herb anyway?" Part of
your answer may be found in Webster's Elementary Dictionary:
herb 1: a plant with soft stems that die down at the end of
the growing season 2: a plant or plant part used in medicine
or in seasoning foods. You can also use the dictionary to
answer the oft asked question: "Do you pronounce it \urb or
hurb\? And the answer is \urb\ is used most, but \hurb\ is
okay even is it is the second choice. In fact, I find that
most of the time I use the pronunication \urb\ (with the
soft vowel sound). However when folks ask me if I mean
\hurb\, I politely say yes.

But no matter the pronunciation, herbs are wonderful plants
to grow and there are many reasons to grow herbs; Most folks
think that herbs are cultivated only to add flavor to our
meals. Some grow herbs because their low maintenance
requirements. Others grow herbs for the old medicinal
remedies of another time. And we would not have spearmint
gum or mint juleps if someone had not grown Mentha spicata.
Herbs are also grown for accents of color throughout the
flower garden and for making lovely dried flowers for use in
flower arrangements, wreaths and scented pillows. Herbs are
also used in wonderful craft projects such as flavoring

Origanum (oregano) is the herb we will talk about today
Oregano is hardier and has a sharper flavor than Origanum
majorana (marjoram). O.vulgare subs.hirtum known as Greek
oregano is the top choice for Italian cuisine such as pizza
and pasta. Also the fresh or dry leaves can be used in
Mexican dishes as well as in sauces, cheese, tomatoes and
eggs. Oregano dried leaves may also be used to make teas as
well as sachets.

There are about 24 species of oregano, so choosing a plant
by the name oregano does not tell which oregano species you
are purchasing. The botanical name of some of the oreganos
will help in recognition of the kind of plant you want.

Oregano vulgare (common oregano) is often called wild
marjoram. However don't confuse the purple flowered
aggressive wild marjoram with the white flowered true
oregano. In another time this plant was used for healing.
Use in pizza and Italian dishes but your will find it has
little flavor. The above mentioned Greek oregano is the best
choice for cooking.

There are many ornamental oreganos. These oreganos have very
little flavor or scent. They are used in the landscape as
well as in dried arrangements. O. rotundifolium Kent Beauty'
has beautiful pink bracts (a leaflike plant part below a
flower or flower cluster) which remains on the plant after
it flowers. O.r. 'Barbara Tingley' has pink bracts and
purple flowers. O.x hybridum 'Betty Rollins' is a beautiful
green with small pink flowers O.x.h. 'Ray Williams' has
dainty long purple/lavender bracts and flowers O.x.h. 'Santa
Cruz' has reddish-purple flowers O. Iaevigatum 'Hopley' has
dark purple flowers 'Herrenhausen' flowers in cool
weather O. dictamnus, dittany of Crete, has thick,hairy
leaves and the most wonderful scent. (I have had one in a
pot outside for two years in the full sun and it uses about
one tablespoon of water per month.)

Next time we will talk about Origanum Majorana (marjoram).
Have fun.

Aphid check needed

Aphids are still growing in a number of fields, said Rex D.
Friesen, extension agent-IPM for Pecos/Reeves-Loving

"Remember that the Extension Service MUST document four
treatment failures in our district before Furadan will be
authorized for region-wide use in our region," he said.

"If you as an individual have a field that has already been
treated for aphids and the numbers are climbing again,
notify my office or the District Entomologist, Dr. Mark
Muegge, so that we can document the infestation and failed

After documentation, the grower can be authorized to use
Furadan in that field. Other options are Bidrin, Curacron,
Lannate and Provado.

Feedlot count shows increase

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter makert in Texas
feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 2.61
million head on Sept. 1, up 9 percent from a year ago.

The Texas Agriculture Statistics Service estimate is down 1
percent from the August level. Producers placed 510,000 head
in commercial feedlots during August, down 19 percent from a
year ago and down 4 percent from the July, 1998 total.

Texas commercial feeders marketed 530,000 head during
August, down 2 percent from a year ago. Monthly marketings
were up 6 percent from the July total.

On Sept. 1 there were 2.11 million head of cattle and calves
on feed in the Northern High Plains, 81 percent of the
state;s total. The number on feed across the area increased
10 percent from last year but was down 2 percent from the
August total.

Banks need leeway to work with producers

AUSTIN - Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry today urged
state and federal bank regulators to be flexible and use
common sense in working with Texas lending institutions
during the current drought. With Texas farmers and ranchers
facing their second major drought in three years, Perry said
that local banks should be provided greater flexibility in
working with agricultural producers.

"Such flexibility would allow Texas farmers and ranchers the
opportunity to pay off their debts over a longer period of
time, while keeping them a productive segment of the Texas
economy," Perry said.

"Current federal rules, which don't look at loans on a
case-by-case basis, could easily drag our producers into
severe economic hardship," Perry said. "And if our farmers
and ranchers are hit hard, it's a hit that will be felt
across all sectors of the Texas economy.

"Our local banks should be allowed to work with their
agricultural neighbors," Perry said. "All we're asking the
regulators to do is to show some flexibility and basic
common sense."

Perry urges Australian cattle investigation

AUSTIN - Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry today urged
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to conduct a
thorough investigation before issuing any permit for the
entry of a shipment of Australian cattle into this country.
Approximately 2,200 head of cattle from Australia are
currently waiting outside Juarez, Mexico for an import
permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The permit
would allow these animals to enter the U.S. Perry noted
questions have been raised regarding the movement of the
Australian-origin cattle which warrants a full review by

"With Texas cattle producers currently facing tough economic
times as a result of drought and low prices, we cannot
afford the risk of exposing our herd to any adverse health
risks," Perry said. "Our producers should also be confident
that international trade rules are followed."

In a letter to Glickman, Perry pushed for a comprehensive
disease risk assessment to determine whether the
Australian-origin cattle pose any health risk to Texas
cattle. Perry also asked for verification that all USDA
requirements for Australian and Mexican-origin cattle have
been met. An economic study to evaluate transportation,
health testing, tariffs, quarantine and feed costs of moving
livestock from Australia to Mexico and then into the U. S.
was also proposed to ensure no hidden subsidies are involved.

Perry noted that health requirements for Australian-origin
cattle differ from health requirements for Mexican-origin
cattle. Specific diseases screened for in Australian cattle
are not found in North American livestock.

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