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June June2014 2014——Issue Issue11

Where’s the beef?

Beef Cattle Short Course set for Aug. 4-6 PAGE 12

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Straight from Producers decide the on horse's statemouth. check-off program.

Straight Texas woos from California the horse's maker mouth. of siracha sauce.

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June 2014 — Issue 1

The Land & Livestock Post


News

W

hile searching for stories for this issue, I came across one about Sriracha sauce. The fact that summer finally is setting in and that I came across this story seemed like kismet to share my own tale of this potent pepper paste. I was in college, and my roommate had just started a job at a summer day camp. Toward the start of the summer, the camp had a hot dog cookout for the kids. The camp must have been run by college kids who had yet to have taken Econ 101 and did not yet understand supply and demand. It seems they purchased about four hot dogs

From the General Manager per kid. This left the camp staff with a surplus of hotdogs, and became a huge benefit to roommates of camp staffers. It was great at first, but there are only so many hot dogs you can eat before you don’t want to see another one. JESSE WRIGHT That is when our other roommate stepped in. I use the term “roommate” loosely because he didn’t really have a room and didn’t pay rent or bills very often and was really more of a guy-on-the-couch-

mate. But, his lack of contribution monetarily was completely made up by what he did. He invented the hot dog sandwich. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was a delicacy. Here is how a proper hot dog sandwich is made: • Slice three hot dogs in half lengthwise • Put three halves on a slice of bread • Drench the hot dogs in Sriracha sauce • Cover with a slice of processed cheese • Top with second piece of bread and mash in a George Foreman grill until toasted. Enjoy! It was great, because you had

to make two at a time, so you had the option of eating two or sharing the wonder of the sandwich with a friend. Now, the story we have in this issue about Sriracha sauce does not mention the culinary benefits of adding it to hot dogs, but it does mention the benefits that the company could bring to Texas agriculture, as well of some of the issues that arise involving moving such a business to Texas. We also have news about the upcoming Beef Cattle Short Course as well as other industry events and timely advice. Hope you enjoy it, and if you plan on serving hot dog sandwiches at your next gala event, they pair great with a cheap

domestic beer. You can thank me later. ’Til next time,

• For more information about content or advertising, contact Jesse Wright at jesse.wright@theeagle. com.

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News

Despite water woes, Texas says ‘pass the hot sauce’ I

By NeeNa Satija The Texas Tribune

RWINDALE, Calif. — Surrounded by blue storage drums, thousands of plastic bottles and chile grinders the size of refrigerators, a Texas politician this week urged a Southern California businessman to move his factory to someplace more hospitable — such as the Lone Star State. “We’ll take care of you,” state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, told David Tran, the founder and CEO of Huy Fong Foods, which makes the popular hot sauce sriracha. “I trust you,” Tran replied as the Texas flag flew outside his shiny, 650,000-square-foot facility. As the Irwindale City Council has made moves to clamp down on Tran’s factory because of itchy eyes and spicy smells, Villalba and other Texans have to tried lure the company east, arguing that such a dispute would happen only in overregulated California, not business-friendly Texas. The theme is one that has been trumpeted by other Texas politicians such as Gov. Rick Perry, who has toured the country to lure businesses from other states.

Agribusiness

But Huy Fong Foods, which is staying put for now, is different from Toyota and other companies that recently have been wooed or moved to Texas. It is an agribusiness, relying on thousands of tons of local fresh chiles to operate. And in rapidly growing Texas, where the population is approaching 90 percent urban, some farming advocates complain that agriculture is being left behind in the scramble to accommodate growth. That is especially true when it comes

4

to water policy, water planning specialists say. “One of the dominant water management strategies for meeting future water supply needs is a conversion away from agriculture” in Texas and most of the West, said Bill Mullican, a former state water planner in Texas who now writes plans for nearby states. With that in mind, he said, “if you’re going to bring agribusiness to Texas, I would think that you want to focus on those activities that were not waterdependent or at least heavily water-dependent.” State officials disagree, pointing out that voters just approved spending $2 billion to help finance water projects, and 10 percent of that money is reserved for rural communities. Several dairy businesses have moved to the Texas Panhandle from California in recent years because of lower costs and less regulation, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “We have a success story to share with this company on how other successful moves have been made,” Staples said. But agricultural lobbyists have complained that no one leading the Texas Water Development Board, the planning agency that will disburse the water fund money, comes from a solid farming background. Closings and losses And most of the stories of Texas agriculture recently have been about high-profile closings and economic losses in the midst of drought, including the loss of a Cargill beef processing plant that employed more than 2,000 people in the Panhandle and the decimation of the Gulf Coast rice processing industry. Some legislators have suggested that certain crops should

Photo illustration by Charlie Pearce

not be grown in Texas at all. As the reservoirs that supply both Austin and rice farmers downstream continue to shrink, Austin-area lawmakers argue that growing rice requires too much water, and that those who live and do business alongside the reservoirs have more economic muscle. Along the Brazos River basin, Texas regulators prioritized cities and power plants over rice growers when

See FUTURE, Page 15

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News Texas A&M AgriLife Research tops nation’s spending list fourth

By ALLEN REED allen.reed@theeagle.com

Texas A&M AgriLife Research spends more money on agricultural science than any other university or nation, according to new data from the National Science Foundation. The agency accounted for more than $176.4 million of the nearly $3.3 billion spent on agricultural research by more than 30 U.S. universities ranked in the report, which used fiscal year 2012 data. The University of Florida, the University of Illinois-UrbanaChampaign, the University of California-Davis and Purdue University rounded out the top five. The second highest Texas university was Texas Tech at No. 42, and the University of Texas came in at No. 137. A&M, which for years has hovered near the top of the ranking, increased its 2011 spending by nearly $ 5 3 m i l l i o n t o j u m p f ro m

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See RESEARCH, Page 14

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Ask the Vet Cattle need to be vaccinated against another bovine virus

L

ast month I discussed the many different disease syndromes of cattle caused by bovine viral diarrhea virus. The numerous ways that the virus can harm cattle makes bovine viral diarrhea vaccine the most important vaccine of cattle. Most bovine viral diarrhea vaccines also contain infectious bovine rhinotracheitis Dr. STEVE WIKSE virus because that virus is nearly as bad an actor. Both viruses are widespread in beef herds and can damage multiple organs. Also like bovine viral diarrhea, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus can exist in an arrested state and become active due to

stress resulting in shedding or even illness. The infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus mainly causes losses due to damage to the respiratory or reproductive tracts and causes lesser production losses by eye or brain infections. It’s important for ranchers to be aware of all the different disease conditions of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus infection. I’ll describe them in today’s column.

Respiratory Tract

The infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus got its name when it first was isolated from cattle with signs of inflammation of the nose (rhinitis) and trachea (tracheitis). Affected calves or adults have general signs of all infections: fever, depression, poor appetite, plus signs specific to the upper respiratory tract including

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A cow displays one of the signs of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus. heavy nasal discharge, a red or crusty muzzle and cough. The muzzle may be bright red in early stages, hence the common name “red nose.” Small to medium-sized white spots on the nasal mucosa just inside the opening of the nose are specific footprints of the virus. Affected cattle usually recover within a week unless

See VIRUS, Page 10

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Ask the Vet Virus, from Page 8 the nasal mucosa just inside the opening of the nose are specific footprints of the virus. Affected cattle usually recover within a week unless they become simultaneously infected by other infectious agents resulting in more severe disease, such as bacterial pneumonia. This virus is an important player in outbreaks of stocker and feedlot calf pneumonia. The damage it does to the nasal passages, trachea and bronchial passages of the lung allows bacteria, especially M. haemolyticum, to initiate pneumonia. Thus, it’s critical to vaccinate against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis in pneumonia prevention programs. Occasionally, adult cattle that are severely stressed develop a hemorrhagic tracheitis due to pure infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus infection. These cattle are desperately ill, have trouble breathing with bloody froth flowing from their nostrils, soon become unable to rise, and die. I have seen this form of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis in transported dairy cows.

Reproductive tract

Abortions are the most important reproductive losses caused by infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus, but it also causes inflammation of the external genital tracts of males and females. Abortion storms where up to 40 percent of pregnant cows lose their calves sometimes happen in non-immune herds. Abortions can occur during an infectious bovine rhinotracheitis respiratory outbreak or in the nextone to two months. The virus can reside in the placenta of pregnant cows for weeks to months and finally infects the fetus in late pregnancy resulting in third trimester abortions. Retained placenta is common.

10

Modified-live infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus vaccines can cause abortion when given to non-immune pregnant females. It took veterinarians quite a while to prove that because, as with abortions following a respiratory outbreak, there usually is a long lag period between infection due to vaccination and abortion.

Conjunctivitis

Outbreaks of inflammation of the mucous membrane surrounding the eye can occur in calves with no other clinical signs or the conjunctivitis can occur during a respiratory infectious bovine rhinotracheitis outbreak. Affected cattle have a discharge usually from both eyes that starts very clear and later thickens to pus. Footprints of the virus infection, the multiple small white spots described above, can be seen under the eyelids of affected animals. Recovery occurs spontaneously within a week or two, but abortions can occur up to three months later. Some strains of the virus seem to replicate in only one organ and cause only one form of disease. When infectious bovine rhinotracheitis conjunctivitis is seen alone, it can be confused with pinkeye, which is caused by the bacteria Moraxella bovis. The main difference is that in pinkeye, a single white ulcer forms in the center of the cornea and in infectious bovine rhinotracheitis conjunctivitis there are very small white spots on the periphery of the cornea. Conjunctivitis due to infectious bovine rhinotracheitis has been called “winter pinkeye” because it can occur any season while classical pinkeye usually occurs in summer when flies transmit M. bovis.

Brain disease

During outbreaks of conjunctivitis, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus may invade

the brain of calves younger than 6 months. Calves with encephalitis have uncoordination, depression or excitement, and convulsions. These signs may mimic those of rabies. Rarely, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus invades the brain of calves or young adults and causes fatal encephalitis. This usually happens following the stress of weaning or transportation.

Fatal calf disease

Occasionally, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus spreads throughout the body of newborns younger than 10 days old, rapidly causing death. This form of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis only occurs in nonvaccinated herds. Cows under those conditions have no antibody to infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus in colostrum. The calves have zero resistance to infection. Affected calves suddenly develop fever, salivation, nasal discharge and runny eyes. They commonly show the signs of encephalitis described above and also may have diarrhea. Large white rough spots can be found under the tongues of some calves, a tell-tale sign of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus infection.

Bottom Line

Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus is a constant threat to beef cattle herds. The virus is capable of causing many different disease syndromes that can rob a cattle operation of profits. Vaccines against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus are considered highly effective when properly administered and have nearly eliminated severe outbreaks of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis respiratory disease. Your local veterinarian is the best person to design a successful vaccination program for your herd.

Oregon ranchers wonder if cattle greater sage grouse can coexist BROTHERS, Ore. (AP) — The greater sage grouse has Oregon ranchers talking about a different bird. “I don’t think people are far off saying it is the ‘spotted owl’ of the ranching community,” Runinda “Nin” McCormack, 53, told The Bend Bulletin during a recent drive around her ranch north of Highway 20 near Brothers, Oregon. The 1993 listing of the spotted owl as a threatened species hurt the logging industry, and the economies of towns that relied on mills. McCormack and others worry an Endangered Species Act listing for the sage grouse could similarly impact ranching communities. The sage grouse has been in decline over the past century because of the loss of sagebrush, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 18 months to decide whether it deserves protection. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, the federal agencies that manage the public land which ranchers lease to graze cattle, are working on revising land management plans to ward off the listing. Angela Sitz, a Fish and Wildlife biologist in Bend, said cattle and sage grouse can coexist, but much depends on how the ranchers manage grazing. “It all depends on timing, intensity and duration,” Sitz said. The McCormack ranching operation has about 1,200 cows

June 2014 — Issue 1

and covers more than 230 square miles. It owns about 33,000 acres. The rest is leased land, with about 58,000 acres leased from the Bureau of Land Management, about 20,000 acres from the Forest Service and about 39,000 from private landowners. Jeff McCormack said he already has taken steps to improve the habitat for sage grouse, from clearing juniper on 5,000 acres to tapping into more water springs. “We’ve changed our grazing patterns,” Jeff McCormack told the newspaper. “Some places that we used to winter graze, we now spring graze. We try to rest our public ground; every third year we’ll rest one of those pastures so that it has regrowth and nesting material.” Dan Morse, conservation director for the Oregon Natural Desert Association, said there isn’t one specific thing a rancher can do to improve habitat. Restoration, he said, will come through sitespecific, science-based work. He said the conservation group doesn’t have a strong preference for how protections are put into place — as long as the protections work and sage grouse numbers recover. “I think it is a matter of finding smart management on the landscape that will allow for sage grouse to thrive and ranching to continue,” Morse said. • Information from: The Bulletin, www.bendbulletin.com.

The Land & Livestock Post


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June 2014 — Issue 1

11


News

Meating the future Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course scheduled Aug. 4-6 By Blair Fannin Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

“C

attle production in Texas has certainly been a sea of change over the past five years,” said Jason Cleere, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist in College Station, Cleere is coordinator of the 60th Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course scheduled Aug. 4-6 at Texas A&M University in College Station. “We think beef short course attendees will want to learn more about what is ahead of us in terms of cattle inventories and how quickly we might rebuild cow herds,” Cleere said. “And, of course, we certainly are keeping a close eye on the cost of production and how we can fine tune our operations to improve the bottom line.” The short course has become one of the largest and most comprehensive beef cattle educational programs in the U.S., Cleere noted. R.C. Slocum, former Texas A&M head football coach and Central Texas rancher, will be one of the featured speakers during the general session on Aug. 4. Slocum will discuss winning and losing in the cattle business, giving first-hand perspectives on the challenges of ranching in today’s economic climate. The cattleman’s college portion of the short course provides participants with an opportunity to choose workshops based on their level of production experience and the needs of their ranch, Cleere said. “These concurrent workshops will feature information on introductory cattle production, retiring to ranching, forage management practices, nutrition and reproduction, record keeping, genetics, purebred cattle, landowner issues and much more,” he said. In addition to classroom instruction, participants may attend one of the popular demonstrations on the morning of Aug. 6. “There will be demonstrations on fence building, chute-side calf working, cattle behavior,

12

Eagle photo by Stuart Villanueva

Donnie Robertson, left, of Normangee, speaks with Rex Swearingen, an exhibitor with ADM Alliance Nutrition, during the trade show at the 59th Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course last summer. penning and Brush Busters,” Cleere said. “These provide an opportunity for ranchers to see beef cattle production practices put to use. “The goal of the short course each year is to provide the most cutting-edge information that is needed by beef cattle producers.

See COURSE, Page 13

Special youth program to be offered at 60th A&M Cattle Short Course By Blair Fannin Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

C

OLLEGE STATION – Youth can learn more about the beef industry during a special hands-on program held in conjunction with

June 2014 — Issue 1

the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course Aug. 4-6 at Texas A&M University in College Station. The youth program will feature a variety of educational

See YOUTH, Page 13

The Land & Livestock Post


News Course, from Page 12 “We think we have information for everyone to take home and apply to their operations.” Participants can receive the Texas Department of Agriculture private pesticide applicator’s license training during the short course and can earn at least seven pesticide continuing education units if they already are licensed, Cleere added. An industry trade show will be held during the event, featuring more than 120 agricultural businesses and service exhibits.

Youth, from Page 12 sessions, ranging from beef evaluations and grading to beef advocacy, said Jason Cleere, conference coordinator and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist in College Station. “This will be a unique experience for youth who have interests in beef cattle production,” Cleere said. “Youth participants will be able to attend the general session as well as the live demonstrations on Aug. 6. Competitions will be held for the students to exhibit their beef knowledge skills and awards

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News Research, from Page 6 A&M’s total was more than $25 million higher than any other of the top five universities in the last four years. “I think the whole university in research, academics, sports and everything else is on a 45 degree trajectory to the top,” said System Chancellor John Sharp. “I think A&M is experiencing more momentum right now, because of the great folks who work here, than any place in the state. “Quite frankly, our competition is no longer in the state of Texas. Our competition is the top universities in the world and that’s where we’re headed.” The amount of research expenditures is important, because it correlates to the amount of work being done at A&M, which translates to better ways to care for people and animals, said Craig Nessler, AgriLife research director. Those dollars have fueled projects such as wheat varieties used

across America’s breadbasket, disease prevention in livestock, colon cancer protections and novel drugs for tuberculosis. The funding, largely secured through grants, is specifically spent on researcher salaries and supplies. “What we look for in our research is good science that has an impact on people’s lives, whether it be as consumers or producers,” Nessler said. “So the more funding, which indicates how much money is being spent on research, the more we see the more impacts we will have.” Nessler said AgriLife reached the national peak by helping “fulfill the faculty’s passion to make new discovery” by connecting them with funding sources and corporate partners. “You can’t be good at spending research dollars and doing research if you don’t have the best researchers,” Nessler. “It’s really a reflection of the quality of people we have here.”

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News Future of water availability may stiffle agribusiness growth From Page 4 the river’s users were asked to cut back. “You already hear in the political realm, ‘Well, agriculture uses 95 percent of the water. We just need to turn the irrigation wells off,’” said Darren Hudson, an agricultural economist at Texas Tech University. “Those conflicts are going to just intensify.” Villalba has suggested that the red jalapeño peppers needed to supply Huy Fong could be grown in the Rio Grande Valley. But the water rights system there, the result of a court case from the 1950s, prioritizes municipal use over agriculture. “Agriculture is basically the user of last resort. They get what water is not for cities,” said Ray Prewett, the executive vice president of the Texas Vegetable Association, which is based in the border city of Mission. Even before the drought, agriculture in the region had suffered because of dwindling water supplies and urbanization, Prewett said. Farmers have found it more profitable to sell their water rights to growing cities, and to shift to dryland farming, which pays more in crop insurance.

Water plan

Water for cities is also much more highly valued than irrigation water, according to the 2012 state water plan. The plan forecasts a shortfall of 260,000 acre-feet of agricultural water in the Rio Grande region by 2060, resulting in a loss of $48 million and 655 jobs. The water deficit for municipal users in the region is slightly above that, but its estimated impact is much greater — $2.2 billion and 54,000 jobs lost.

“Yes, we need food,” said Dan Hardin, a senior water planner for the state, pointing out that water for irrigation is important. But “unfortunately, we still don’t pay a lot for food in this country,” he said, “so the value of the product per acre-foot is a lot lower in agriculture.” While chiles are a relatively drought-tolerant crop, requiring far less water than rice, other issues the agricultural industry faces could create problems. Ben Villalon, a wellknown horticulturalist from Texas A&M University dubbed “Dr. Pepper” for his expertise in growing chiles, said chiles are largely gone from Texas because of higher labor costs and the difficulty of finding farm workers. Most Texas Republicans favor immigration policies that could further tighten the farm labor supply. “It’s a sinking boat,” Villalon said. “They’ll never make it. The money’s just not there. It’s not profitable anymore.” Huy Fong’s pepper supplier has used mechanization and other techniques to cut costs, and in 2011, chile yields per acre were almost 10 times higher in California than in Texas. Still, a single grower with a steady contract can prove more profitable for farmers. And Gene Hall, a spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau, said agriculture’s water situation in the state is “just fine.” After all, Hall pointed out, the farmers won their protest against state regulators who pushed them aside when restricting water use on the Brazos — although they had to go to court to do so. “We know where the courthouse is,” Hall said, “and we’ll go there again if we have to.”

The Land & Livestock Post

Basic prescribed burn training workshop set for Aug. 14-16 By Kay LedBetter Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

SONORA — The Academy for Ranch Management is offering a basic prescribed burning workshop Aug. 14-16 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Station on Texas 55 between Sonora and Rocksprings. The basic course is open to those who would like to learn about the benefits of controlled burning and the basics of planning and carrying out a prescribed burn, said Ray Hinnant, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research senior research associate in College Station. The workshop also constitutes the first half of the Texas’ Prescribed Burn Board-approved course required for Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Manager licenses by the Texas Department of Agriculture, Hinnant said. A license holder has the ultimate authority and responsibility when conducting a prescribed burn, according to department rules, Hinnant said. The burn manager must meet the minimum standards of training and experience and maintain required insurance. There are three types of certified and insured burn managers: private, commercial and not-forprofit. Individual registration is $395 for the workshop, plus a $45 facilities-use fee due upon arrival. Persons interested in attending should go to agrilife.org/arm/ for a registration form. For more information, call Hinnant at 979820-1778 or Jeanne Andreski at 979-862-2128. This basic workshop provides information on the history and benefits of prescribed burning, weather, fuels and fuel moisture, and the equipment that is used on a burn, Hinnant said. Developing a burn plan and coordinating a burn also will be discussed.

June 2014 — Issue 1

The workshops provide information on burning, as well as the utility of prescribed burn associations for those who want to pursue a private or association certificate, he said. A teaching burn also will be conducted if possible. The Academy for Ranch Management has been providing annual prescribed burn training since 2001, Hinnant said. The AgriLife Research station at Sonora has a long history of prescribed burning research, and participants will be able to look at short- and long-term burns to evaluate their effectiveness and observe ecosystem restoration in progress. “Charles ‘Butch’ Taylor, superintendent of the research station

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and a lead instructor, is a pioneer in the use of summer fires to control prickly pear and cedar, as well as the development of and rapid increase in prescribed burn associations, which is based on the neighbor-helping-neighbor premise, in Texas and throughout the U.S.,” Hinnant said. Hinnant, also a lead instructor for the workshop, was one of the first Commercial Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Managers licensed through the Texas Department of Agriculture. Both instructors have years of experience training prescribed burn association members and working with them to conduct large- and small-scale prescribed burns on individual ranches, Hinnant said.

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News

Texas rancher’s power line battle gains attention By Jim malewitz The Texas Tribune

A North Texan’s battle to budge the power line that he says was built in the wrong place on his ranch is gaining attention from landowners and utilities as Texas regulators prepare to decide the line’s fate. This week, the Public Utility Commission of Texas will consider a complaint lodged against Oncor by Johnny Vinson, an 82-year-old rancher. Oncor is the state’s largest transmission operator. The case concerns this question: After landowners sign off on a power line routes, can a transmission company install it somewhere else? Vinson says a 345-kilovolt power line stretching across the northwest corner of his Wise County ranch should run 150 feet north of where it does — atop an older, 69-kilovolt line. That is where Oncor originally mapped it, but not where the company built it. The change left Vinson with what he says is an unusable 11-acre gap between two power line easements. Power line routes commonly move slightly after regulators approve them, but no state regulations address precisely how much leeway transmission companies have. Landowners rarely are warned that approved routes might shift. Vinson’s complaint, filed in November 2012, originally drew scant attention from those outside of the dispute. But less than a month after The Texas Tribune reported on it, a state lawmaker, several landowner groups and several of Texas’ largest utilities have submitted comments to the Public Utility Commission addressing the issue. “It reflects that this issue is of the highest importance to everyone — including landowners and utilities,” James Brazell, Vinson’s attorney, said of the flurry of last-minute comments to the commission. “And it really needs the commission to make a

16

Photo by Robert Hart

The Rolling V Ranch in Wise County is home to power transmission lines built by Oncor. The owner, Johnny Vinson, says one stretch of the new lines is not built where Oncor promised to build it. decision regarding how to fix this problem.” The case appeared on the agenda for the commission’s open meeting on May 16, when the three commissioners discussed whether to vote quickly or take more time to hear arguments on either side. In late April, state Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, asked the commissioners to give the issue a full hearing, saying the case could have “far-reaching effects.” “Due to the nature of this case and the possibility for statewide implications, I encourage the Commission to consider granting a full hearing,” King wrote in a letter to the commissioners. “Furthermore, if requested, I encourage the Commission to allow oral arguments to ensure the voices of both parties can be adequately expressed.” Oncor says it ran into engineering problems while designing the line — primarily the discovery of gas and water pipelines beneath the old power line that made building on the original path unsafe. Oncor argues that maps included in a company’s application to build a project on private land — called a certificate of convenience and necessity, or CCN — merely are “indicative” of where power lines will go, and that a company has the power to maneuver around constraints it discovers. Transmission companies across the state agree with that position. Last month, in a filing to the commission, a group of seven large transmission companies wrote that the transmission line development process “will change for the worse” if the commission sides with Vinson, requiring companies to

See POWER, Page 19

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June 2014 — Issue 1

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June 2014 — Issue 1

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News

Texas ranchers to vote on state beef marketing program AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas ranchers will vote this month on whether to establish a state-level program to promote and market beef in the nation’s leading cattle-producing state, a move intended to supplement funding from a similar U.S. plan. The push to establish a state checkoff of $1 a head came from Texas cattle producers and is necessary because too little money flows back to the state from the national program that was established in 1988, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association spokeswoman Carmen Fenton said last month. “Frankly, that dollar just isn’t worth much anymore — particularly considering the rise of inflation, more Texas shoppers to market to, and the fact that the

If approved, the $1 assessment will begin Oct. 1. The Texas Beef Checkoff program would be managed by the Beef Promotion and Research Council of Texas, with council members being selected by Agriculture Commissioner Todd

HOW TO VOTE The referendum will be held by physical balloting. Ballots will be available at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county offices beginning June 2. Eligible producers may vote at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county offices June 2-6 during each office’s regular business hours. For a list of AgriLife Extension Offices, go to counties.agrilife.org/. cattle herd is as low as it’s been since the ’50s,” she said. The U.S. program gets a dollar per head also, with the state getting half of that, Fenton said. Texas producers owning cattle in Texas from June 6, 2013, to June 6 of this year are eligible

to vote. Producers may vote June 2-6 during business hours at any Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office. A mail-in ballot from the Texas Department of Agriculture can be requested no later than June 2.

Staples. The dollar would be collected each time a beef animal is sold throughout its life. Those who don’t want to participate in the program still must pay the fee but can file to have it refunded.

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June 2014 — Issue 1

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News Power, from Page 16 complete detailed field surveys and engineering studies on every proposed power line route — regardless of whether each is chosen. “This would result in considerable additional expenditures of cost and of time in the [convenience and necessity] process, with a corresponding delay in transmission line development and increase of costs to all ratepayers,” said the group, which includes Cross Texas Transmission, El Paso Electric Company, LCRA Transmission Services, Lone Star Transmission, Sharyland Utilities, Southwestern Public Service Company and TexasNew Mexico Power Company. Vinson’s legal team called Oncor’s revelations about underground gas and water pipelines on Vinson’s property a “red herring.” The rancher says Oncor ran into difficulty with the original route after realizing it had failed to give notice of the convenience and necessity proceedings to Vinson’s neighbor to the northwest, whose property

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would have abutted the power line. That neighbor refused to give Oncor permission to survey his land for an easement. Oncor denies that those details played a role in its routing decision. Brazell said that siding with Oncor would give companies too much wiggle room to move projects without’ consent. “Today it could be five feet. Tomorrow, it could be 150,” he said. “Next day it could be 1,000. Then, a week from now, it could be five miles, because there’s no limit on it.” A group of North Texas landowners, including the city of Haslet, the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district and several homeowners associations support Vinson’s position. Vinson is fighting an uphill battle. Commission staff members support Oncor’s position, and in March, an administrative law judge ruled in the company’s favor, saying that “it was clear that Oncor followed good engineering practice” on Vinson’s property. That ruling is not binding but likely would play an important role in regulators’ final decision.

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News U.S. boosts grain exports to Mexico Special to The Post

COLLEGE STATION – U.S. exports of grain, oilseed and related products to Mexico averaged 22.2 million metric tons per year from 2008-2012, with an average annual value of $7.3 billion, according to a report by the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M University. The result is a 22 percent volume increase over the average of the early 2000s and two and a half times the value, according to the research findings. “Higher grain and oilseed prices on the world market were certainly one major factor,” said Parr Rosson, professor and head of the department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University. “The other factor was increased demand in Mexico for grain-fed beef, which has risen, especially in major cities across that country. Increased number

of cattle in feedlots resulted in not only more tonnage being fed, but higher prices as well. The third factor was a lower valued U.S. dollar during much of this time period, especially compared to historically high values over the past 20 years.” Yellow corn, most commonly used for animal feed and corn starch, was found to be the largest volume export of the product categories, accounting for 35 percent in 2011. Soybeans, crushed for meal and oil, accounted for 13 percent, while hard wheat used for human consumption and grain sorghum used for animal feeding accounted for 10 percent. Dried distillers grains, high fructose corn syrup and soybean meal were relatively recent introductions to the Mexico market, according to the report. The research study is available at cnas.tamu.edu/.

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News LIVESTOCK MARKET REPORT Buffalo Results of the Buffalo Livestock Market’s May 10 sale: Head: 1,139 Steers: 150-200 lbs., $255-$315; 200-300 lbs., $230-$305; 300-400 lbs., $225-$280; 400-500 lbs., $200-$230; 500-600 lbs., $185$215; 600-700 lbs., $170-$200; 700-800 lbs., $160-$185. Heifers: 150-200 lbs.,$225-$310; 200-300 lbs., $200-$280; 300-400 lbs., $185-$253; 400-500 lbs., $165-$227; 500-600 lbs., $155$217; 600-700 lbs., $150-$195; 700-800 lbs., $140-$175. Slaughter bulls: $100-$134.50. Slaughter cows: $65-$112. Bred cows: $975-$2,050. Cow/calf pairs: $975-$2,050.

Caldwell Results of the Caldwell Livestock Commission’s May 14 sale: Head: 152 Steers: 200-300 lbs., $230-$300; 300-400 lbs., $235-$270; 400-500 lbs., $214-$235; 500-600 lbs., $200-$215; 600-700 lbs., $180$205; 700-800 lbs., $176-$185. Heifers: 200-300 lbs., $200$265; 300-400 lbs., $225-$240; 400-500 lbs., $200-$230; 500-600 lbs., $180-$200; 600-700 lbs., $170-$180. Slaughter bulls: $114-$125. Slaughter cows: $85-$100.

Groesbeck Results of the Groesbeck Auction and Livestock Exchange’s May 15 sale: Head: 332 Steers: 300-400 lbs., $230-$285; 400-500 lbs., $210-$260; 500-600 lbs., $180-$225; 600-700 lbs.,

Marketplace

$175-$220. Heifers: 300-400 lbs., $185$240; 400-500 lbs., $175-$225; 500-600 lbs., $170-$215; 600-700 lbs., $170-$190. Slaughter bulls: $110-$131. Slaughter cows: $74-$115. Stocker cows: $1,150-$2,000. Cow/calf pairs: $1,700-$2,300.

Milano Results of the Milano Livestock Exchange’s May 13 sale: Head: 704 Steers: 300-400 lbs., $132-$259; 400-500 lbs., $120-$239; 500-600 lbs., $125-$217; 600-700 lbs., $120-$199. Heifers: 300-400 lbs., $130$259; 400-500 lbs., $125-$221; 500-600 lbs., $117-$209; 600-700 lbs., $111-$203. Slaughter bulls: $101-$108. Slaughter cows: $75-$115. Stocker cows: $1,050-$1,775. Cow/calf pairs: $1,300-$2,025.

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Navasota Results of the Navasota Livestock Auction Co.’s April 5 sale: Head: 1,493 Steers: 150-300 lbs., $175-$325; 300-400 lbs., $160-$275; 400-500 lbs., $150-$235; 500-600 lbs., $140-$217.50; 600-700 lbs., $125$197.50. Heifers: 150-300 lbs., $150$260; 300-400 lbs., $150-$240; 400-500 lbs., $140-$215; 500-600 lbs., $135-$210; 600-700 lbs., $125-$193. Slaughter bulls: $85-$125.50. Slaughter cows: $75-$107. Stocker cows: $1,000-$1,550. Cow/calf pairs: $1,350-$2,075.

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Milk doesn’t come from the grocery store.

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