Farm and Ranch Living July 2020

Page 1

July 2020

No fake burgers in Canada Horace McQueen See page 3

David and Goliath of television Baxter Black See page 5

Game Warden Field Notes Texas Parks & Wildlife See page 8

Taking five with Kade Callaway By PennyLynn Webb


Palestine Herald-Press

ountry music singer Kade Callaway, a 2020 graduate of Elkhart High School, is the winner of the Texas Future Farmers of America State Talent Contest. All three of Callaway’s Ag/ FFA teachers, Jordan McInnis, Ashlea Crosby and Haley Estep are proud of Kade’s accomplishment, especially since this was his first time to compete in the competition. The teacher trio released this statement with regard to Kade’s win: “We are very proud in all that Kade has accomplished and he is very well deserving in winning this title. We cannot wait to see where his music career takes him.” Each school district is allowed to send one participant for this contest held during the District Convention. The winner of that contest then competes at Area. The Area winner then competes at the State Convention. This year the conventions and competitions were all done virtually. Kade was chose first out of seven other students at District and first out of four at Area. He received his state title in early July. Kade is no stranger to the stage. With plans to make music his future, he began performing professionally in 2019 under the tutelage of his father, Backseat Molly frontman Steven Callaway and has already garnered See CALLAWAY on Page 3

They’re here

Armyworm infestations spotted in Cherokee County By Aaron Low

Cherokee County Extension Agriculture Agent, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


rmyworm infestations have recently been spotted in Cherokee County. Though we have been blessed by recent rainfall and cooler than normal temperatures those blessings have encouraged an unwanted pest to begin invading Agriculture producers pastures and hay meadows. Livestock and hay producers should start scouting fields for possible infestations. The following is a very good article that details the life cycle of the fall armyworm, along with some tips on scouting for these pest and controlling them. The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a common pest of bermudagrass, sorghum, corn, wheat and rye grass and many other crops in north and central Texas. Larvae of fall armyworms are green, brown or black with white to yellowish lines running from head to tail. A distinct white line between the eyes forms an inverted “Y” pattern on the face. Four black spots aligned in a square on the top of the segment near the back end of the caterpillar are also characteristic. Armyworms are very small (1/8 inch) at first, cause little

plant damage and, as a result, often go unnoticed. Larvae feed for 2-3 weeks and full-grown larvae are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Given their immense appetite, great numbers and marching ability, fall armyworms can damage entire fields or pastures in a few days. Once the armyworm larva completes feeding, it tunnels into the soil to a depth of about an inch and enters the pupal stage. The armyworm moth emerges from the pupa in about ten days and repeats the life cycle. The fall armyworm moth has a wingspan of about 1 1/2 inches. The front pair of wings is dark gray with an irregular pattern of light and dark areas. Moths are active at night when they feed on nectar and deposit egg masses. A single female can deposit up to 2000 eggs and there are four to five generations per year. The fall armyworm apparently does not overwinter in north Texas but survives the winter in south Texas. Populations increase in south Texas in early spring and successive generations move northward as the season progresses. Management. Fall armyworm outbreaks in pastures and hay fields often occur following a rain which apparently creates favorable conditions for eggs and small larvae to survive in large numbers. Hay fields with a dense canopy and vigorous plant growth are often more susceptible to armyworm infestations than less intensely fertilized and managed fields. Irrigated fields See ARMYWORM on Page 3

Chinese seeds could pose serious threat By Shelli Parker


Athens Review

exans and others from across the country have been receiving mystery seeds in the mail that appear to be from China. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, they are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and other state and federal agencies to investigate. According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, these packets have been mailed to multiple states, falsely labeled as jewelry. They are urging anyone receiving the unsolicited package to immediately contact their state agency. Commissioner Sid Miller issued a warning on July 27: “Do not plant these seeds, it is actually illegal to plant them because of the major havoc invasive species.” “I am urging folks to take this matter seriously,” Miller said. “An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. TDA has been working closely with USDA to analyze these unknown seeds so we can protect Texas residents.” The TDA went on to add, “If you receive a foreign package containing seeds do not open it or plant the contents. Keep contents contained in their original sealed package.” Invasive plants are species not native to a particular region and according to the TDA they can destroy native crops, introduce disease to local plants and may be dangerous for livestock. The possibilities are endless, but they could potentially harbor disease or insects. Currently the USDA is investigating and inspecting them to find out what they are. See SEEDS on Page 3


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July 2020

Athens Community Gardens Open to anyone and growing with time By Anne Adams

Special to the Athens Review


any Athens and Henderson County residents enjoy growing vegetables and other items and this is certainly the case at the community gardens located at Athens’ First United Methodist Church located at 225 Lovers Lane. Begun a few years ago by several church members, the garden has nearly 20 beds of various sizes that are leased by members of the community who harvest the produce for their own use but also donate to the local food pantry. The community gardens began in 2013 when church members Dr. Mark Abadie and Dr. Richard David proposed the idea and then were joined in accomplishing it by several other church members. “It began with 16 raised beds that are available to anyone in our community for $50 per bed per year,” Abadie said. “In 2016, a grandson of church members built eight more beds as a part of an Eagle Scout project. Then in 2018, we added three 12 foot by 12 foot beds, one of which is for the youth and in the others we grow corn, melons and beans for all garden participants,” he said. There have been added improvements over the years, including a garden shed, automatic irrigation and gravel paths between the beds. In the future there are plans for more beds, particularly those elevated for gardeners

who cannot comfortably stoop. Other plans are for a composting area, a gazebo, fencing and adding flowers. However, the project involves more benefits than just what is harvested. The gardeners share not just their efforts but also their ideas of what to plant, and thus are able to create a larger and varied garden than they could accomplish individually. Also, they are able to

create a space that can include various aspects of local culture. For example, according to Abadie, Rob Risko, history professor at Trinity Valley Community College, has planted several types of plants with an historic angle. “We have had bean and corn varieties grown by the Navajo prior to the arrival of Europeans to this continent, barley from Orkney Island near Scotland and various

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heirloom tomatoes.” Abadie said. The garden also provides the community with nutritious and fresh produce during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and resulting limitation of activities, and with possible grocery store shortages. Yet the gardeners involved make an effort to maintain the organic approach. “Rather than a lot of chemical fertilizers we

use mushroom dirt from the mushroom farm in Madisonville,” Abadie said. With it you don’t need a green thumb to grow beautiful vegetables. They donate an 18 wheeler load to us every year, charging us only the delivery cost. We use crop rotations and natural products like Neem oil for pest control.” At present the produce grown in the leased sections is reserved for the individual gardeners and

for food pantry donation and is not at the time available to the public without permission. To inquire about leasing a garden bed contact church administrator Wes Akin at the church at 903-6755161 or for information about the garden contact Dr. Abadie at mgasail55@

July 2020

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McDonald’s nixes fake burgers in Canada


t took less than six months for McDonald’s to say “no more” to their fake meat burger in Canadian test markets. Called a “PLT”—for plant, lettuce and tomato—the concoction didn’t get raves from customers. Buyers wanted the real thing—a beef burger. The hamburger chain says they have no plans to bring the imitation burger back to their menus. Some good news also from the chicken front! Ronny Snow, backed by many of his friends and neighbors who live in a rural area of Henderson County near Malakoff won their court case

against poultry giant Sanderson Farms and Huynh Poultry Farm. Snow and his neighbors finally got fed up with the putrid smells, dust and noise from a nearby 16-house poultry operation built nearby. After months of trying to get action from the poultry operators and Sanderson Farms, nothing changed. The Huynh family and Sanderson Farms refused to clean up their operation and continued to “pollute” the neighborhood, Snow and his neighbors said. So, the legal action began. A jury listened to evidence from both parties for three

weeks and reached a decision against the poultry grower and Sanderson Farms. Judgment was a eye-catching six million dollar damage award to Snow and his allies. Like all things legal—or said to be—in today’s litigious society, Sanderson and Huynh Farm will appeal the verdict. Meanwhile, the court ruled Sanderson and the poultry operation can continue to raise chickens pending the appeal. A real catch in the verdict is that Sanderson Farms had to post a $4,800,000 bond in order for the farm to continue operations until the appeal is heard. If the poultry

operator, and Sanderson Farms, loses their appeal, Snow and his neighbors will also receive the proceeds of the hefty bond. Ronny Snow says the appeal is expected to take 18-24 months. Several other landowners in our part of East Texas are having their difficulties as well with Sanderson Farms and their poultry raisers. So far, Sanderson avows they and their growers operate within the law. This court ruling by a sitting jury shows that our rural dwellers have the right of enjoyment of their properties without disruptions from nearby poultry farms.

CALLAWAY, continued from page 1

ARMYWORM, continued from page 1

attention from local venues and booking agents. Graduating during the COVID pandemic, Kade plans to work and save his money until it ends and then hit the music scene hard to make a name for himself. With his star on the rise, we decided to ask Kade five questions about his music, the contest and his future. Q: How long have you been singing and did you have any formal training? A: I’ve been singing all my life, but I knew it was something I wanted to pursue as a career around my sophomore year in high school. I haven’t had any formal training, but I have had pointers from my pops. Q: What made you decided to compete the FFA Talent Contest? A: Competing in the talent competition took a lot of convince for me, from my peers, teachers and family. I knew I wanted to do it when I realized it would be my last opportunity. I’m very glad that I made that decision. Q: What was the contest like? A: The contest was something else, let me tell you. It was a blast to say the least, but it was a little bit of a let down to not play the a live performance. I competed against kids from schools from across the state and I’ll be the first to tell you, there are some really talented folks in Texas. I played two songs for each round, but for state I played songs by Ryan Bingham and Parker McCollum. Q: How do you feel about winning? A: Winning the competition was crazy for me. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today and it feels like people are coming to recognize that and that’s amazing. When I found out I won the competition, I was working with my dad in Arlington. I got a phone call from all of my Ag teachers together and I can still hear everyone screaming over the phone. Q: What are your plans now that you’ve graduated? A: Now that I’ve graduated, I’m going to use COVID-19 to my advantage and work to save money for when it all ends. When it does, I plan on hitting the music scene hard and make a name for myself. I put a lot of effort into making it this far and a pandemic isn’t gonna stop me.

SEEDS, continued from page 1 If you receive them, it is recommended that you do not open the plastic bag containing them, place the bag inside a zip-loc baggie and seal it. Make sure the original bag and baggie are completely sealed. Then contact the TDA or USDA immediately. If you have already planted them, dig them up immediately, take the seeds or plants and put them in a sealed baggie. Do not compost them or

throw them into the trash loose. Do not burn or grind them. Grinding can release fungal and plant diseases. The Texas Department of Agriculture can be contacted by phone at 512-215-5385 or by email at awinash.bhatkar@texasagriculture. gov. You can also report unsolicited seeds to

are also susceptible to fall armyworm infestations, especially during drought conditions. Also monitor volunteer wheat and weedy grasses in ditches and around fields which may be a source of armyworms that can move into the adjacent crop. Look for fall armyworm larvae feeding in the crop canopy during the late evening and early morning and during cool, cloudy weather. During hot days, look for armyworms low in the canopy or even on the soil surface where they hide under loose soil and fallen leaves. A sweep net is very effective for sampling hay fields for fall armyworms. When fields are wet with dew, armyworms can stick on rubber boots worn while walking through the field. Small larvae chew the green layer from the leaves, creating a “window pane” effect and later notch the edges of leaves. The key to managing fall armyworms is frequent inspection of fields to detect infestations before they have caused economic damage. Once larvae are more than ¾ inch long, the quantity of foliage they eat increases dramatically. During their final 2-3 days of feeding, armyworms eat 80 percent of the total foliage consumed during their entire development. The density of armyworms sufficient to justify insecticide treatment depends on the stage of crop growth and value of the crop. Seedling plants can tolerate fewer armyworms than established plants. Infestations of more than 2-3 armyworms (1/2 inch or longer) per square foot may justify an insecticide application. If practical, apply insecticides early in the morning or late in the evening when armyworm larvae are most active and therefor most likely to encounter the insecticide spray. If the field is near harvest, an early harvest, rather than an insecticide treatment, is an option. Always read and follow all label instructions on pesticide use and restrictions. Information below is provided for educational purposes only. Insecticides labeled for fall armyworm in pasture, grasses, and hay. Parasitic wasps and flies, ground beetles, and insect viruses help suppress armyworm numbers. However, these natural enemies can be overwhelmed when large numbers of migrating moths move into an area and weather conditions favor high survival of eggs and larvae.


July 2020

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The tomatoes were delicious. What now? M

ost of us have come to the end of our delicious spring and early summer gardens. This was a glorious year for tomatoes, and I have some salsa canned to show for it. But what now? What is your next gardening step? For our pantry’s sake, it is good that we have a long warm season. It allows us ample time to grow a second warm season crop. Squash, for example, can be planted in April, June,

and July for successive harvest. So, when should you plant? Use a planting guide to help you decide what to plant and when to plant it (here is one for Cherokee County that will work for most of East Texas: http:// ) Was there an area that gave you problems in the garden? Blossom end rot on your crops? Or poor yield? Now is the best time

to take a soil sample to find out exactly where your soil stands regarding nutrient needs and pH values. When you are fertilizing according to the true needs of your soil, there is balance, and the yield increases. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office in your county will have soil test containers for your use and can explain to you the best ways to take your soil sample. The soil test results will also reveal the state of your macronutrient levels, including calcium which is the primary contributing factor for blossom end rot. When the fruit is in its earliest developmental stages, lack of calcium causes cell wall deficiencies which show up later in the season as the blossom end rot. Either there was a lack of calcium in the soil, or a lack of water to get the calcium from the soil to the developing fruit. This is why consistent watering is so very important. For us here in East Texas, the week when we go from

getting plenty of rain to needing supplemental water for our crops can hit at exactly the right (or wrong, depending on how you look at it) time for the tiny developing fruit and they may miss the calcium they need. Adding lime to your soil is a very efficient way to assure plenty of calcium, but only if you are aware of your pH levels, since adding lime increases pH and once your pH is above 7, yields decrease due to lack of other nutrients. Another question that comes up is where to plant your next crops. Should

you put the late squash where the early squash was? Definitely not! It is very important to rotate your crops seasonally. If you plant the late squash in the same place, the squash bugs and vine borers will be more than ready to devour your crop, so it is important that you move your plantings. Put fall tomatoes where your spring squash was, and put something from the brassica family like greens, cabbage, or kale where your tomatoes and egg plants were. For true rotation that will benefit the garden, you should not rotate a plant in from the same family. The diseases and pests often will prey on members of the same plant families, so making a complete change is the best way to go. Instead of planting a second season of warm crops, you can also use this window of heat for soil solarization to kill weeds, seeds, and dormant eggs from your garden area.

Kim Benton

Cherokee County Horticulturist Two layers of clear plastic held in place by rocks or pegs will keep the garden area weed-free and make easy preparations for your cool season crops. For best solarization, the plastic should be kept down for 6-8 weeks. For more details on soil solarization, download this document: https://agrilifeextension. ) Now is your problemsolving season. Your planning season. Time for you to be the change you wish to see in your garden.

Brahman-type cattle may require less nitrogen By Kay Ledbetter Texas A&M AgriLife


recently funded Texas A&M AgriLife study will determine differences in nitrogen requirements between Brahman type cattle and other cattle. Measuring these differences may allow cattle producers to reduce the protein in cattle diets by allowing for precise diet formulations. “Implementation of precision diet formulation in cattle diets can be the answer to producing a more affordable beef with a smaller environmental impact,” said Tryon Wickersham, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research, scientist and associate professor in the Department of Animal Science in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We believe development of feeding systems that account for differences in cattle type will reduce over and under supplementation, allowing us to optimize growth, reproduction and animal health outcomes,” Wickersham said. “Additionally, precise feeding systems will reduce the environmental footprint of beef production.”

Different cattle subspecies, different nutritional needs Cattle are divided into two subspecies,

Bos taurus taurus, which generally have no hump and originate from Europe, and Bos taurus indicus, generally having a hump and originating in India. “These cattle were selected under very different conditions and have developed the capacity to thrive under different conditions,” Wickersham said. “These adaptations affect the way they perform and have not been well accounted for in current beef cattle feeding systems, increasing the environmental and economic cost associated with beef production.” Wickersham’s study is designed to address the relationship between urea recycling, microbial nitrogen capture and supplementation strategies in both types of cattle consuming low-quality forage. “Cattle provide a valuable service to society by converting low-quality sources of nutrients such as grasses, crop residues and byproducts into beef, which is a high-quality source of amino acids, minerals and vitamins,” Wickersham said. “However, there is room to improve the efficiency of this conversion to reduce the environmental effects of beef production and increase consumer access to these vital nutrients,” he said, “thus allowing more people to consume a diet meeting their requirements.”

nitrogen excretion from cattle by approximately 22 pounds per head per year or 704 million pounds for the U.S. beef industry per year,” Wickersham said. “The potential savings, on a soybean meal-equivalent basis, is $1.4 billion per year.” Wickersham’s latest research project, supported by an almost $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture, is titled “Enhancing sustainability of beef production by elucidating subspecies differences in urea recycling in response to supplementation.” “We are doing this research because improper supplementation to cattle has environmental and economic cost, which ultimately decreases the affordability of beef for consumers,” Wickersham said.

The role of supplements and their effects Growth, reproduction and health of cattle are affected by the grass and hay they consume — and at times supplements are provided to improve their ability to thrive on their diets, he said.

“Supplements are expensive and represent an increased use of nutrients,” Wickersham said. “By developing feeding systems that account for differences in cattle type, we can reduce the effects of cattle production without compromising the animal’s nutritional status.” Completion of the proposed project will provide data allowing for precise delivery of supplemental nitrogen for cattle grazing low-quality forage across a wide array of production systems, he said. Capturing data in both subspecies enhances the global utility of these projects for meeting the increasing demand for animal proteins. Wickersham chose to address the problem of over and underfeeding of protein in cattle diets by elucidating the differences in nitrogen utilization and recycling to improve the capacity to describe urea recycling and microbial capture of recycled nitrogen, both essential to precision diet formulation. “Ultimately, we believe precision diet formulation will reduce both overfeeding and underfeeding of nitrogen and increase the environmental, economic and social sustainability of beef production,” Wickersham said.

Increasing productivity “We believe reducing the over provision of protein by 10% potentially reduces

Texas AgriLife Extension photo

Ag graduate students, Merritt Drewery and Kyle Weldon, collect duodenal samples from a Brahman steer.


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July 2020

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David and Goliath of Television R

ichard Blinco, of Idaho, said “The farmer has always been a peasant.” When the market crashed in 1975, Richard had a ranch, feedlot, dairy, potatoes, alfalfa and a packing house. Here we sit 45 years later and not much has changed. Today less than 1.3% of the American population, (and 7% in Canada), is involved in production agriculture. We, who are left with the responsibility of feeding the ever-growing population that now stands at 331 million people. We do it. It is lots of work. We have an enormous amount of scientific, technical, medical, and mechanical research and dedication looking over our shoulder as we break the ground, plant the wheat, brand the calf or drive the truck. Imagine a ‘Nóngmín’ bent over in a rice field a thousand years before Christ

came, not much different than a farmer bent over a furrow, feeling the soil today. What is our motive…inspiration? Do we say, “We’re feeding the world”? “I’ll get famous!” “The big money”? No. It is as simple as “It’s what I do.” There are people who have a deep heart, have a conscience, are dedicated to those we work for, are close to God, maybe have guilt, or just kindness and care. They don’t think ‘money first’. Occasionally, the consumer has a chance to make farmers’ lives easier, nicer, more satisfying. Let me suggest…their own television channels. Television waves are controlled by a handful of global companies. They have brought wonderful communication worldwide with hundreds of channels. 99.9% are dedicated to the majority polled, which are suburban folks.

The ag rural television, which is not ‘about us’ but ‘for us’, are limited to pillars like US FARM REPORT and Orion Samuelson and some local weeklies that are an hour long. RFDTV Channel is the only exception; RFDTV contents are exclusively rural and agriculture, 24 hours a day. They are leading the effort to have Congress vote on HR 2682 that would ensure at least one percent, 0.1…1%, is devoted exclusively to the ag rural market. Like ag publications and ag radio, ag television is part of what holds all of our ag community together. To those of us in ag media, it’s not just a job. I think it has something to do with our souls. If you want to help, contact your Representative or Senator about passing HR 2682.

HR 2682: Agricultural News and Rural Content Act of 2020 This bill requires certain video programming distributors, such as cable providers, to use at least 1% of their channel capacity to transmit channels of programming that serve the needs and interests of rural areas.

Great American Outdoors Act

Trump signs $3B-a-year plan to boost conservation, parks by Darlene Superville

Associated Press


resident Donald Trump signed legislation Tuesday that will devote nearly $3 billion a year to conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands following its overwhelming approval by both parties in Congress. “There hasn’t been anything like this since Teddy Roosevelt, I suspect,” Trump said, comparing himself to the 26th president, an avowed environmentalist who created many national parks, forests and monuments that millions of Americans flock to each year. Supporters say the Great American Outdoors Act is the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. Opponents countered that the money isn’t enough to cover the estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on federally owned lands. The Great American Outdoors Act requires full, permanent funding of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund and addresses the maintenance backlog facing national parks and public lands. The law would spend about $900 million a year — double current spending — on the conservation fund and another $1.9 billion per year on improvements at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and range lands. Trump in the budget proposals he has sent to Congress had previously recommended cutting

money allocated to the fund, but reversed course and requested full funding in March. Interior Secretary David Bernardt said the law will help create more than 100,000 jobs. The maintenance backlog has been a problem for decades, through Republican and Democratic administrations. The House and the Senate cleared the bill by overwhelming bipartisan margins this summer, including significant support from congressional Democrats. No Democratic lawmakers attended the ceremony and Trump, in his remarks, credited only Republicans. Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen Asked why Democrats President Donald J. Trump signs H.R. 1957- The Great American Outdoors Act Tuesday, Aug. 4, in weren’t recognized, White the East Room of the White House. House press secretary monuments, and I signed it Ivanka Trump, the “For all of us who’ve congressional champions Kayleigh McEnany said it before the march,” Trump Republican president’s fought for years to protect are Republican Sens. Cory was because Democrats said of the executive daughter and adviser our public lands and Gardner of Colorado and and Republicans order he signed June 26. who supported the invest in our outdoor Steve Daines of Montana. — including the “We announced it at a legislation, described recreation economy, Both are among the administration — have yet news conference that it at the ceremony as a today is a historic win for to agree on extending now- Senate’s most vulnerable you go to jail for 10 years “great legacy” for the America’s beloved shared incumbents, and each one expired coronavirus relief if you knock down a administration as well as spaces,” Cantwell said in represents a state where payments and protections. monument, and the march the country. a statement that criticized the outdoor economy and Her answer focused to Washington never Trump also claimed environmental and public tourism at sites such as on Senate Democrats’ happened. I don’t know — an executive order health rollbacks by Trump the Rocky Mountain and rejection of a proposal that’s strange how that all highlighting the threat of Yellowstone national parks that benefit the oil and gas by Sen. Martha McSally, works. Isn’t it, though? Isn’t up to 10 years in prison industry. play an outsize role. R-Ariz., for a one-week that a beautiful thing?” for defacing federal The law’s mostly Daines and Gardner extension of a special The Rev. Al Sharpton monuments was the reason Republican opponents persuaded Trump to federal unemployment is planning a march on a march to Washington complained it would not support the legislation, benefit. She ignored Washington for Aug. 28, for the sole purpose of eliminate an estimated which Gardner has made that Senate Republicans the anniversary of the destroying statues was $20 billion maintenance the cornerstone of his themselves are divided 1963 march in the nation’s canceled. backlog on 640 million reelection campaign. over how to proceed on a capital led by Martin People protesting racial acres (259 million Democratic Sens. Maria larger relief package. Luther King Jr. injustice after George hectares) of federally Cantwell of Washington “The only thing we’re ___ Floyd’s death in police owned lands. The state, Joe Manchin of West recognizing about Associated Press custody in May began legislation authorizes $9.5 Virginia and Tom Udall congressional Democrats writers Matthew Daly, toppling monuments billion for maintenance of New Mexico all were right now is how appalling Kevin Freking and Deb around the country of over five years. instrumental in getting it is that there are Riechmann contributed to Confederate and other Lawmakers from the bill passed. Cantwell Americans who are going this report. figures considered racist, Gulf Coast states also without paychecks because has spent years working ___ but no such march to complained that their to reauthorize and fund they refused to partner This story has been Washington was ever states get too small a share the Land and Water with Martha McSally, corrected to show the area planned. of revenue from offshore Conservation Fund, and Republicans and the with the maintenance “They were having a oil and gas drilling that she worked with Gardner president in ensuring that backlog is 640 million march on Washington is used to replenish the and Daines to make it those payments go out.” acres, not 640 acres. to knock down a lot of conservation fund. happen. Among the bills’

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July 2020

Athens’ Askey clinches bull riding title


he July 16-18 Ute Stampede in Nephi, Utah, drew numerous world class Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competitors. One of them was threetime Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Jeff Askey who clinched the bull riding title with a score of 89.5 aboard a bovine named Countin Cards, which is owned by the Flying U Rodeo Co. Askey, who lives in the Eustace and Athens area, also came in fourth at the July 17 Herriman City

Xtreme Bulls tour stop in Herriman, Utah, with an 85. After all that, he’s ranked No. 8 in the PRCA’s 2020 bull riding title race, according to prorodeo. com. Meanwhile, Dustin Boquet, a 2019 National Finals qualifier who lives in the Athens area, clinched the bull riding title at the July 17-18 Westcliffe Stampede Rodeo in Westcliffe, Colorado. Boquet is ranked No. 3 in the PRCA’s 2020 bull riding standings.

Cutting horse update Thoroughbred horse racing fans were elated to witness the running of the Belmont Stakes last month despite challenges from the coronavirus pandemic. The Belmont Stakes is the third jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series. The cutting horse industry also features a Triple Crown Series and its third jewel is the Metallic Cat National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular 4-year-old open division finals in Fort Worth. Cutting horse fans also were thrilled to watch the Summer Spectacular’s 4-year-old open division finals on July 19 at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum during this challenging time when COVID-19 concerns abound. A firstyear competing stallion named Sanctus and rider Rodrigo Taboga clinched the title with a score of 226. The victory earned the horse’s owner, Scott Durham of Fort Worth, the $25,633 prize. Taboga said Sanctus arrived at the Summer Spectacular with lots of momentum after faring well at recent aged event

shows on the NCHA circuit. “My horse came to this show with a lot of courage and confidence,” he said. Taboga, 30, is a native of Brazil who lives in Fort Worth. He’s a professional trainer/rider with success in Brazil and he also works for high-profile NCHA competitor Beau Galyean of Fort Worth. Adan Banuelos of Granbury and Twice In Santiago finished as the reserve champion with a 223. The horse’s owner, the Double Dove Ranch of Fort Worth, earned $22,484. Tag Rice, a former NCHA Triple Crown winning rider from Godley, finished third with a 222 aboard Champayne Dreams and owner Scotty Rice of Weatherford earned $19,336. But Scotty Rice also pocketed a $100,000 bonus because Champayne Dreams was the top eligible finisher in the open finals who was sired by former NCHA Futurity champion Metallic Cat, a high-profile breeding stallion that’s owned by Fort Worth businessman Bobby Patton. When Metallic Cat won the 2009 NCHA Futurity with Galyean in the saddle, the horse was owned by

Alvin and Becky Fults who are from the Amarillo area. Patton, a Los Angeles Dodgers part owner, purchased Metallic Cat in 2017. All three jewels of the NCHA’s Triple Crown Series traditionally are in Fort Worth. Numerous cutting horse competitors participated in the sport’s first jewel, the December Futurity, which was not affected by COVID-19. But they were denied competing in the second jewel, the Super Stakes in April, which was canceled because of coronavirus concerns. Only three horses and riders have won the NCHA Triple Crown. They are Smart Little Lena and rider Bill Freeman (1982-83), Docs Okie Ouixote and Joe Heim (1983-84) and Chiquita Pistol and Tag Rice (2002-2003).

Steer roping update World class steer ropers were in Torrington, Wyoming, on July 19-20 to compete in the PRCA’s National Circuit Finals Steer Roping. Two-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier Ora

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at

Taton of Rapid City, South Dakota, clinched the 2020 NCFSR title. Sixteen-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier Vin Fisher of Andrews finished second in the title race. Trevor Brazile, a Decatur cowboy who has a record 25 PRCA world titles (in multiple categories), came in third. According to, Brazile is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2020 steer roping world title race. Tuf Cooper, who has homes Weatherford and Decatur, won four of the six preliminary rounds. He’s ranked eighth in the PRCA’s steer roping world standings. He’s also ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s world all-around title race.

PBR update

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative


The Professional Bull Riders tour is scheduled to come to Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena on Aug. 29-30. The PBR WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational is part of the Unleash The Beast, the PBR’s top tier tour. The Fort Worth tour stop will help competitors qualify for the PBR World Finals, which is scheduled for Nov. 4-8 at T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Eight-time Professional Bull Riders World Finals qualifier Fabiano Vieira suffered a skull fracture and underwent brain surgery on July 2 following injuries he sustained the previous day at the 90th annual Texas Cowboy Reunion in Stamford, according to Vieira underwent surgery at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. He remains hospitalized. Stock contractor Renato Teixeira and his family created a GoFundMe for Vieira.

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July 2020

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

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Texas vineyards resilient West Nile Virus found despite tough 2020 in Texas mosquitoes


Staff Reports

exas A&M AgriLife Extension Service viticulture specialists reported early fruiting and overall good wine grape conditions were the norm across most of the state. But Texas’ top wine grape region expects half its average yield following an early freeze in 2019. Michael Cook, AgriLife Extension viticulture specialist, Denton, said 2020 presented another unique growing season due to weather in some areas and vineyard and wineries navigating COVID-19. Harvest was ramping up about 10-14 days earlier than typical, he said. “Wet and warm weather woke the grapes up early this year, but they are growing very well,” he said. “Some areas of the state had severe issues with frost and hail, but 2020 looks to be another great year for most wine grape growers when it comes to quality and yields.”

Grapes in North Texas Growers in North Texas were harvesting white varieties and a few reds now and will harvest most reds in coming weeks, he said. Texas weather was “erratic” for North Texas vineyards with a significantly earlier than average killing frost on Nov. 8, a very wet fall and spring, and an extremely late spring frost between Steph​ enville and the Red River on April 16. Primary shoots and crops of early budding grape varieties such as chardonnay were wiped out where frost occurred, he said. The frost negatively impacted individual growers, but in other areas rain promoted canopy growth and fruit development, and crop quality and quantity were looking good. Cook said established vines showed more resilience against the fall and spring frosts, but that younger vines in newly planted vineyards or expanded acreage were damaged to the trunk, making vines susceptible to diseases like crown gall. This was a setback for many new growers as they will have to either rogue and replant infected vines or retrain vines that do not exhibit crown gall infection, to which there is no cure, he said. Disease pressure remained elevated during the wet spring, but most growers were successful in applying preventative measures during critical times, he said. “Our main challenge from a management standpoint this year was the cold snaps and some wind,” he said. “The wind damage wasn’t serious, but leaf tatter had growers on edge. It can impact young vines, but mostly it just looked bad and had growers worried it might be something more serious.”

Central Texas grapes Brianna Crowley, AgriLife Extension viticulturist, Fredericksburg, said vines in Central Texas experienced a standard bud break and no late-spring freeze. Fruit sets were average to above average, she said. Some vines may have required some thinning of fruit. Vineyard managers also dealt with average disease pressure, including black rot and Phomopsis on vines that weren’t treated soon enough. Weather patterns delivered average moisture until mid-May, she said. Those last few rain events in May also brought damaging hail.

Crowley said dime-sized to plum-sized hail was reported over multiple days and caused severe damage to individual vineyards. “It was one of those storms where you can see the distinct lines in the areas it covered,” she said. “You could also see the directionality of the storm row to row. Grapes on one side if the vine were hit hard whereas grapes on the other side had little to no damage.” Crowley said one vineyard reported losing 60% of its crop while vineyards near Kerrville reported 40%-50% losses despite putting up hail netting. Vineyard managers treated vines after hail to prevent diseases from entering vines via wounds and to promote regrowth. Drought followed the hailstorms, she said. But the lack of rain has not negatively impacted early varieties being harvested now. Brix counts, which is the measurement of sugar in fruit, and pH levels have been average to above average, so far, she said. Grape quality at harvest for AgriLife Extension trial plots in Fredericksburg were excellent. “The pH levels were up due to drought for some varieties, but we had brix counts at 25 and 3.6 pH for others, which is spectacular for winemaking, in those trial plots,” she said. “But overall, I am hearing growers reporting quality grapes. Fruit looked clean where it was properly managed.” Crowley said growers are waiting for late-season varieties and deeper reds to mature, and that rains generated by Hurricane Hanna, could affect brix and pH levels, especially in southern parts of the state.

Marketing amid pandemic On top of crop and vine losses, Texas wine grape growers have been faced with challenges associated with COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and fluid state regulations on wineries, Cook said. Wineries and vineyards have struggled through the pandemic but are finding clever ways via social media and delivery and pick-up options to market their wines. Elaborate annual harvest parties have been scaled back or cancelled. COVID-19 restrictions have impacted retail aspects of vineyards, but most operations have moved employees to manage the grapevines, he said. Smaller groups of workers worked shorter shifts to manage grapevines and during harvest. “Wineries have been hit really hard by the shutdowns, but the vineyards have never looked better,” Cook said. “It’s been a challenge, but vineyards have gone virtual to survive, and they’re finding creative ways to promote their wines and keep a connection with consumers.” Hillin said he will be interested to see how the tonnage losses in the High Plains effects wine grape prices. He suspects they will climb, but said COVID-19 may dampen demand following two bumper crop seasons in a row. “Prices are going to go higher on certain varieties, but it remains to be seen because many wineries have full tanks from the previous year,” he said. “There are different challenges every year. The weather, freeze damage and now the shutdowns. But resiliency doesn’t even begin to describe these growers. As with most things, Texas has some of the best. They are not giving up, and I haven’t heard anyone who is throwing in the towel because of setbacks this season.”


By Sally Boswell


Associated Press

s if the coronavirus isn’t enough to worry about, residents of Texas are now being advised that West Nile Virus is making an appearance in the state. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported last week that West Nile Virus, which can be lethal in rare cases, has been found in mosquitoes trapped in several counties across the state. The DSHS also reported that the first case of West Nile Fever in a human has been recorded in Tarrant County. That case was an elderly patient with underlying medical conditions who later died. Mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found in about a dozen Texas counties, including Tarrant and Dallas counties, Denton and Collins County and Hunt County in North Texas. In Lamar County, public health officials have reported no cases of West Nile Virus, either in mosquitoes or in humans. “I do not have any information to report at this time,” said Gina Prestridge, executive director of the Paris-Lamar County Health District. “I have not been receiving any correspondence from anyone at DSHS or any other of my counterparts across the state regarding West Nile.” Prestridge said recent mosquito abatement activity in Paris has been handled by city workers, who use a larvacide to treat standing pools of water around the city to help eliminate mosquitoes before they take to the wing and begin to feed. All mosquitoes require water for most of their life cycle and infection control experts say eliminating or treating standing water is an important step in the battle to control mosquitos. “City workers are putting out larvacide every day, especially after it rains,” said Michael Smith, the city’s director of Public Works. “Water and Sewer workers are out in every quadrant of the city working on sewer problems and water leaks and we see where the water is standing and we treat it.” Smith said the familiar solid larvacide “dunks” also come in other shapes including pellets that can be sprinkled around and into standing water, a form preferred by city workers. The larvacide is also available in liquid form, which requires more storage and must be handled differently than the solid forms and requires cleanup if spilled. Larvacide is available commercially to private landowners and those outside the city limits at a variety of retail outlets, including farm and ranch, hardware and department stores. In previous years, the health district, in cooperation with the city, used fog machines to dispense an aerosol insecticide, but studies found that method to be largely inefficient and it is no longer used in the city. “Fogging has a very small window of effectiveness, and a small range,” Smith said. “Unless the mosquito flies through the fog almost immediately, it isn’t going to work. The larvacide in standing water is the best way to control mosquitoes.” State health officials urge Texas residents to follow these tips to avoid mosquito bites: Wear long sleeves and pants when outside; apply an EPA-registered repellent, containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus/p-menthane-diol; and remove standing water from any outdoors container to deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce. West Nile Virus causes no problems for most people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Possible symptoms include fever, headache, aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and a rash. Serious cases produce neck stiffness, confusion and high fever, which can last several weeks and, in rare cases, it can be deadly. While West Nile Virus in humans and the Covid-19 virus share some similar symptoms, Covid-19 can not be spread through a mosquito bite because it is not a blood-bourne disease, experts said. West Nile Virus can only be diagnosed through a blood test. If you experience symptoms, see a health care provider.

Hog Hunting: Fresh peaches means fresh pork By Luke Clayton Outdoors Writer


or many years, I had access to hunt and fish on a couple hundred acres situated about three-quarters of a mile from my home. The place is an outdoor paradise, rough country with plenty of water and always an ample supply of wild hogs that I dearly love to hunt, butcher and turn into tasty meals. I lost access to my hog hunting paradise a year ago but fortunately one of my great friends has a place with even more porkers where I now hunt. I figured I had hunted my last ‘close to home’ porkers but recent developments might just prove otherwise! This past week, while mowing on the few acres where we live, I noticed some serious wild hog rooting along the edge of a 50 yard wide strip of woods and brush that I leave for wildlife habitat. On closer inspection, I discovered where hogs had ‘roto tilled’ the ground inside the

wooded area, their rootings extended outside the heavy cover on to the edge of the yard. Being a serious hog hunter and having a working knowledge of wild hog patterns, I knew there was some reason the wild porkers had traveled from the remote area they called home, to my place. We have neighbors within a few hundred yards of our small acreage and it’s just not ‘wild’ enough for wild porkers. At least that’s what I’ve though the two decades we’ve lived here. When I pulled our area up on Google Earth, I discovered the wet weather creek that traverses the boundary of our place leads through heavy cover and ultimately to a couple of stock tanks that I never knew existed. From the stock tanks to the woods I used to hunt is a heavily wooded area and only a few hundred yards away. Obviously, the hogs had found something that drew them to my strip of ‘habitat’ and a safe route to get there. But what? After much head

scratching and following hog sign, I found the answer to the riddle! We have a pear tree not far from the edge of the woods and squirrels have been dislodging the pears, leaving many on the ground. I’m sure the smell of a rotting pear can be detected a long way by hogs. In the fall, I am amazed at how hogs instantly locate isolated persimmon trees when they begin to drop their fruit. They will come from a great distance to eat the fruit, immediately after it hits the ground. On close inspection, I noticed not one rotting pear was on the ground. A closer look divulged hog tracks, tracks that appear to have been made by ‘eater’ size hogs weighing somewhere around 75 pounds. Hogs are smart, they wait till the squirrels pick the pears during the daylight hours and them drop by in the cool of the evening to scarf them up! More on this topic later, after a couple days monitoring that trail camera!

CHANGES IN CATFISH REGULATIONS ON THE TABLE Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is considering changes in the catfish regulations that will not only benefit the individual fisheries but also streamline and simplify the currently somewhat complex regulations. Hopefully, this will make it easier for the angler keep track of his catch during the course of a fishing trip and for the wardens whose job it is to enforce the fish and game laws. Fishing for trophy class blue catfish has become very popular in recent years on lakes such as Tawakoni, Texoma and others. Proposals being considered will insure the brood fish are protected but also allow those of us that are more interested in a fish fry will continue to have the opportunity to catch plenty of ‘eater’ size catfish. In June a group of catfish anglers were invited to participate in a series

of online webinars and hear presentations from TPWD staff regarding possible changes to the state’s catfish management plan. The fishermen were given the opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback to TPWD. Several proposals are being considered and in a couple weeks, TPWD will offer an online YouTube presentation focusing on the proposals. To stay on top of developments, visit the TPWD website. The public will have opportunities to voice opinions and the final decision will not be made until early next year.

FISH THE SALMON RUN IN COLORADO! Many folks think that in order to fish a major salmon run, a trip to Alaska is in order but not so. One of the largest Kokanee salmon (landlocked Sockeye) occurs each year around Gunnison Colorado when 4 year old salmon make the 24 mile run from Blue

Mesa Reservoir back to the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery in the East River where they were hatched. The fish hatchery stocks around 3.5 million Kokanee salmon each year, which travel downstream to Blue Mesa, the largest lake in Colorado, to spend most of their lives. Fishing is very good in the river from about mid August through October the peak of the run usually occurs around mid September. The Gunnison area has for many years been my favorite destination in Colorado. Fishing guide Andy Cochran (www. says trolling for Kokanee is very good right now in Blue Mesa and good numbers of eater size lake trout are being landed as well. For more information, visit the website. To learn more about what the Gunnison area has to offer, visit the Gunnison Crested Butte Association website www. Contact outdoors writer Luke Clayton via his website www.catfishradio. org


East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

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July 2020

Game Warden Field Notes The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

Bare Necessities While patrolling near Lake Sam Rayburn, a Sabine County game warden noticed a naked man running across the road from the water into a makeshift tent. The man soon emerged wearing an oversized pair of pants. The warden then contacted dispatch, who advised that the subject was wanted on three felony warrants out of Sabine County. The man’s actions and demeanor led the warden to ask a female subject with the man for consent to search their vehicle but was denied. A canine officer was called and upon arriving to the scene quickly alerted to the presence of narcotics. Meth, along with the man’s wallet, was located inside a pair of pants in a bookbag found in the bed of the truck. He was arrested and taken to Sabine County Jail. The case is pending.

Having a Baaaad Day Game wardens were conducting water safety patrols of Lake Amistad when they encountered a baby goat in the water near shore. The goat had fallen into the lake and due to a broken leg was unable to get back out. The game wardens found the goat in the nick of time and saved it from potential starvation or drowning.

Grin and Bear It A Titus County game warden and a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist responded to a call about a black bear that had been photographed from a homeowner’s back porch. This was one of five bears that had been photographed in the northeast Texas region this season alone.

Pier Pressure Two Polk County game wardens were patrolling Lake Livingston when they began watching a vessel as it approached a boat ramp nearby. Onboard, the male operating the boat switched places with a female subject before switching again once they approached the dock. When the wardens contacted the male subject, they detected a strong smell of alcohol. A standard field sobriety test was conducted, and the male was arrested for Boating While Intoxicated. His charges were enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor due to this being his second intoxication offense. Charges are pending.

Whiskey River While patrolling the Neches River, a Hardin County game warden stopped a small aluminum boat for not displaying navigation lights. Three men were in the boat, one of whom was passed out on the floor of the boat. The warden performed a water safety inspection and in addition to there not being enough life jackets on board, the warden found beer cans and whiskey bottles strewn about the boat. The boat’s operator admitted that he had consumed several beers, and had taken a couple of shots of whiskey, prior to operating the boat. The warden conducted a standard field sobriety test once the subject was on shore. The man operating the boat was placed under arrest for Boating While Intoxicated and then booked into the Harden County Jail. His case is pending.

Up to the Gills in Trouble After observing signs of possible illegal gill netting activities along the Nueces River, game wardens patrolled the area for two days before observing two men launching a small paddle boat into the river. The men had no fishing poles but instead had two large buckets with lids. The wardens walked the shoreline, following the boat for over a mile, obtaining video of the individuals actively gill netting from the concealment of brush. The men attempted to hide the gill nets in the buckets upriver, prior to loading up the boat. Once the boat was loaded, one of the subjects returned to retrieve the buckets. Wardens contacted the men and found 200 yards of gill net along with six large alligator gar. The boat and illegal fishing devices were seized. Multiple cases were filed including Over the Daily Bag Limit on alligator gar, Illegal Means and Methods and Insufficient Number of PFDs. One of the men had been caught by wardens before for the same violations.

Tell Tailed Sign After an initial complainant of a Felon in Possession of Firearms and Taking a Deer in Closed Season, a Williamson County game warden obtained a search warrant on a local residence. Assisted by wardens from Travis County, Bell County and Milam County, the team executed the search and secured the house. They located a .410 shotgun with 15 boxes of ammo, meth, three deer antlers and deer

meat in the freezer. A white-tailed deer carcass was also dug up in the backyard of the home. Two of the wardens received information of the suspect’s possible location along with a description of the suspect’s girlfriend’s vehicle. Wardens intercepted the vehicle and conducted a field interview. The girlfriend confessed that she had dropped her boyfriend off nearby and that he had recently shot a white-tailed deer and a feral hog. The Williamson County warden obtained a felony arrest warrant for the suspect and the case is still under investigation.

Noodle Over It Hill and Bosque County game wardens were hidden among trees while patrolling the Brazos River when an airboat approached. The two occupants, a male and a female, stopped along the shoreline to swim. One of the wardens watched the subjects with binoculars and it appeared that the two may have been noodling. The subjects then left the airboat, returning to the shoreline just below where the wardens were staged. Once the male subject walked back into the water, it became evident that he had a pole with a hook on it. The wardens approached and the man dropped the pole but admitted that he was noodling. Charges for illegal means and methods were filed.

On the Fence A Colorado County game warden received a call of a large alligator that had climbed the fence of a residential home and made itself comfortable in the backyard. The game warden, along with a DPS Trooper, were able to capture and relocate the alligator to a safe place outside of town.

Guard Gator In Cameron County, game wardens received a call regarding an alligator that was roaming around inside a detention center facility. A facility staff member had reportedly stepped on its tail while exiting his vehicle in the parking lot. With the assistance of the facility staff, the wardens were able to safely relocate the almost 11-foot-long alligator.

The Other Side of Nowhere A Big Bend Ranch State Park Police Officer and a Presidio County game warden were patrolling River Road at night through Big Bend Ranch State Park when the officers noticed a car parked in the Closed Canyon Trail parking lot after the park closed. In the car, they saw a park pass for that day, a car rental agreement, a jug of water and snacks, but the driver was nowhere to be found. The Closed Canyon Trail is short and stops at the Rio Grande after several steep pour offs. The last pour off is about 60-feet tall. The officers hiked the trail in the dark and far as they could safely go and called out for anyone still down there with no luck. The next morning, another park police officer was informed about a possible lost hiker. He checked the parking lot and saw that the car was still parked there undisturbed. The three officers headed back to the Closed Canyon Trail that afternoon with rappelling equipment to search farther down the trail. When they reached the first of the three steep pour offs, the officer called out for the hiker who excitedly responded for help. The park police officer was able to rappel down to the hiker who had descended all the pour offs and was at the riverbank. When they reached him, the hiker was dehydrated, exhausted and had injured his ankle. The hiker told the officers that he had gone down the trail alone in the afternoon, fell into a deepwater hole and was unable to climb out. Panicked, he decided to continue down the trail thinking it would lead him back to the parking lot. Temperatures that day were around 106 degrees and he drank river water to try to keep hydrated. He hiked along the riverbank but was unable to navigate the steep canyon walls of Colorado Canyon. The officers requested a helicopter to help extract the hiker, but due to bad weather it wasn’t available until the next morning. So, with the help of an additional game warden, two state park rangers, a U.S. Border Patrol agent and a Presidio County Sherriff ’s Deputy, the team of officers were able to assist the hiker to climb back over the pour offs and navigate the rest of the trail back to his car. Presidio and Terlingua Emergency Medical Services arrived and gave the hiker medical care and he was then taken to the local hospital for further treatment.

Unsynchronized Swimmers A Stephens County game warden received a 911 call from local dispatch involving four people who were stranded in the middle of the Hubbard Creek Reservoir and their boat had washed ashore. The caller was in the boat but was unable to get it started to reach the

stranded swimmers. The caller had never been on the lake before and did not know where she was to give directions to the warden. One of the occupants had gotten into the water while the boat was floating in the middle of the lake to swim without a life jacket and the boat floated too far away for her to reach. Then, her husband, unable to crank the boat, jumped in the water and swam to her with a small ring buoy. The boat continued to float further away when another occupant on board saw the couple struggling in the water and swam out to them to assist with no lifejacket. By the time he reached them, the boat had tripled in distance from the original swimmer. A fourth occupant from the boat decided to swim out to the three simmers trying to stay afloat with life jackets for them, however, the boat was now about 350 yards away and he was unable to reach them. When the warden arrived, he was able to get the location of the boat and swimmers thanks to landmarks on the lake. The boat was located aground near an island and the three stranded swimmers were about 450 yards away. The swimmers were exhausted and panicked, but all accounted for. Once they were on the boat, they found the fourth swimmer who had multiple lifejackets attached to him but had exhausted himself trying to get to his friends. Everyone in the water was worn out and frightened, but safe and refused medical attention. Once they were accounted for, the warden helped them get their boat back to where they had launched.

Lost and Found A recent game warden academy graduate was enjoying a weekend of camping and fishing at Fayette Lake before reporting to his first duty station later this month in Starr County. One Sunday morning, the new game warden came across a small aluminum boat that was

abandoned at the dam. He called local dispatch and gave them the boat registration numbers, then towed it back to the Oak Thicket boat ramp and secured it. When the local game warden arrived, a park worker told him that a boat had been stolen during the night from one of the campers. After talking to the campers, it became apparent their missing boat was the same one the new game warden had found on the other side of the lake that morning. The campers were overjoyed and grateful for the recovery of their boat.

Linked by Ink Two Liberty County game wardens completed an investigation that began in mid-February of this year when they were notified about some potential hunting without landowner consent. A hunting lease member contacted the wardens when they captured a picture of a man on their game camera and on their property without permission. The picture was clear enough to see the very distinctive tattoos the man had. After a few weeks of talking to local residents, the wardens were able to identify the name of a possible suspect. They ran the name through the Liberty County Sheriff ’s Department to check for priors and they discovered that he had been through the system and they had pictures of his tattoos on record. After a quick comparison of the tattoos, the wardens had enough probable cause to get an arrest warrant for the suspect. He was soon arrested on the Class “A” Misdemeanor charge of Hunting Without Landowner Consent and a brief interview was conducted at the Sheriff ’s department. During the interview, the suspect admitted to the crime. Case pending.

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

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400lb - 500lb

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

July 2020

Ranches, farms and small towns Bullard student The state needs rural Texas — and it needs to start planning among top three winners of Soil Stewardship I contest By Trent McKnight and Abel Castro Special to the Huntsville Item

conic ranches, farms and small towns sustain about 3 million Texans — a population larger than the City of Houston’s. The sense of community, plentiful open space and great quality of life — all found in places like West Texas and the Panhandle — have sustained families for generations. We also power the state’s economy, supplying energy, food and fiber to the world. Yet West Texas, and particularly rural West Texas, faces challenges that range from shuttering hospitals to inadequate infrastructure; these issues could spell trouble for all of Texas unless we come together as a state to address them head on. Many of these issues have been illuminated by the coronavirus. Shaping Our Future, the seminal strategic framework just released by the non-profit group Texas 2036, makes such challenges facing Texas even clearer. The two of us serve on the board of Texas 2036, which encourages long-term, datadriven planning at the state and local level to ensure Texas remains the best place to live and work a generation from now. The report, coupled with the pandemic, shows how badly West Texans need that kind of farsighted planning and preparation. The strategic framework notes that Texas is expected to add about 10 million people between now and 2036, the year of Texas’ bicentennial. But 90 percent of that population growth is expected to occur in urban areas. And while the number of jobs in Texas could grow by nearly 20 percent over the next decade, jobs in almost half of Texas’ counties — mostly rural counties — will


actually shrink unless action is taken. In the meantime, rural Texans struggle to access resources that their urban and suburban counterparts take for granted. Preparing the next generation is key, yet many students in rural communities have less access to postsecondary education. Nearly 60 percent of rural school districts do not offer Advanced Placement courses, and the distance from a high school to a higher education institution can stretch well over 100 miles. Rural Texans also lack access to health care and face worsening health outcomes. Texas ranks last among its peer states in rural access to care — 63 counties have no hospitals at all, and 35 have no primary care physicians. Obesity also is more common in rural regions, and rural Texans die of heart disease and stroke at rates far higher than Texans overall. Then there’s broadband internet access — which in recent months has offered a lifeline to millions of Texans through home offices, virtual school classrooms and telemedicine appointments with physicians. In Texas’ urban areas, 97 percent of the population can at least access broadband, but nearly one-third

of rural Texans cannot say the same. Fortunately, we’re Texans — more than that, we’re small-town and small-city Texans — and we’ve never shied away from a challenge. The truth is that every one of these numbers stands as an opportunity to make West Texas even more of a powerhouse than it’s ever been. The state just needs the backing of its people. Show your support by going to Texas 2036’s website — www. — and signing up to support rural Texas. The organization will keep you up-to-date on key issues facing rural areas and the rest of the state, and we’ll share opportunities to help Texas communities thrive. It’s always been easy to see Texas’ past in its rolling plains, small towns, farms and ranches. Look a little closer and you’ll see the future there as well. We simply need to come together as a state and grasp it. — Trent McKnight is a rancher in Throckmorton and former candidate for the state legislature, and Abel Castro is the immediate past chair of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

Jacksonville Progress Staff Report

ullard FFA member Karlie Low recently was named among the top three winners of a statewide Soil Stewardship public speaking contest whose theme focused on “Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators?” The contest was held in conjunction with the virtual 92nd Texas FFA State Convention July 6-10, according to a release from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. It is sponsored by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, in cooperation with the Texas FFA Association. Lowe, a junior at Bullard High School, received a $1,000 scholarship. Other winners included first place recipient Caroline Bacon of the Harper FFA chapter, who received a $3,000 scholarship, and Caroline Lilly, a member of the Vista Ridge FFA Chapter, who received a $2,000 scholarship. ATSWCD president Rick Schilling said “the value of this initiative is that every student who participates in this program becomes an ambassador for agriculture and the soil and water conservation district program in Texas.” The speech is a platform in which both state associations “try to support agricultural education by providing a means through which students can develop leadership skills and real-world awareness to accurately speak about renewable natural resources issues and how to address them,” added Barry Mahler, chairman of the TSSWCB. “Furthermore, the program gives the student a better vision of the future of agriculture and how agriculture benefits the state and nation’s society as a whole.” The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, established in 1939, administers Texas’ soil and water conservation law and delivers coordinated natural resource conservation programs to agricultural producers through the State’s 216 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board is the lead agency for planning, implementing, and managing programs for preventing and abating agricultural and silvicultural nonpoint sources of water pollution. Learn more about the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board at, on Facebook, and on Twitter @ TSSWCB. For more information about the Soil Stewardship Public Speaking Contest visit: public-information-and-education/soil-and-water-stewardshippublic-speaking-contest

East Texas Fishing Report

By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

ATHENS - Water level is 2 inches high and clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Fishing guide Jim Brack says bass fishing has been slow. A few fish reported on on jigs worked along along outside grass edges in about 8 feet. School bass are active at first light, but not for long. Crappie are slow. Lots of short fish reported; keepers tough to come by. CEDAR CREEK - Water level is 5 inches low and stained. Water temp in the mid-80s. Fishing guide Jason Barber says white bass, hybrids and blue cat are fair on humps in 12-20 feet; blue cat are holding along the outer edges in deeper water and taking fresh cut shad. Trolling cranks, slabs and bottom fishing with shad are producing mixed bags of white bass and hybrids. Crappie are good on brush piles in 12-20 feet; a few on bridges, suspended 8-10 feet down. Black bass are fair around brush piles in 12-20 feet and docks in 6-10 feet with lots of shade. Texas rigs, shaky heads, Carolina rigs and cranks are paying off best. FORK - Water level is 7 inches low and clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Tony Parker at the Minnow Bucket says bass fishing has been good on topwaters at first light and late in the day on popper style baits, mostly on points, then switching to drop shot finesse worms around timber on points in 10-15 feet. Crappie fishing is good on brush piles in 25 feet of water using shiners or jigs; bridges are slow. Catfish are excellent over baited holes in 25 feet on punch bait. ’PINES - Water level is 3 1/2 inches high and stained to clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Jim Tutt is reporting excellent bass fishing at the lake’s north end, mostly on Flukes and frogs fished around shallow grass. Farther south, jigs and 6XD cranks are the tickets on points and channel swings. Crappie anglers reporting a few limits around bridges using small jigs. NACOGOCHES - Water level is 9 inches low and clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Bass anglers reporting a few solid fish early, late and in overcast conditions on topwaters and frogs. Also a few fish reported on light Texas rigs, spinnerbaits and swim jigs worked around shallow grass and pads. Brush piles and hard

bottom structure in 8-14 feet also giving up some decent numbers at times on Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and shaky heads. School bass have been sporadic. Crappie are fair around brush, mainly on shiners. PALESTINE - Water level is at full pool and stained to clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Fishing guide Ricky Vandergriff reporting decent bite for bass, keying on points in 3-8 feet early in the day, mostly on spinnerbaits, cranks and a few on top. During midday, drop offs on points in 10-16 feet are the ticket using Carolina rigs and deep diving cranks. Crappie are taking jigs and shiners around brush piles 16 feet, mostly along the river. Channel cat are excellent but lots of small fish being reported on night crawlers and punch bait. White bass are fair with the best action coming on points and old roadbeds using spoons and deep cranks. RICHLAND CHAMBERS - Water level is about full pool and fairly clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Fishing guide Royce Simmons says white bass are busting topwaters off and on during low light conditions, most along the south shore out of Fisherman’s Point. Also some fish taking ‘Traps and in-line

spinners. Crappie fishing has been good around brush piles and bridges in 20 feet; small shiners and jigs producing equally well a times. Blue cats are fair on the 309 Flats in 25 feet. Fresh shad is the ticket. No report on black bass. SAM RAYBURN - Water level is 1.33 feet low and clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Fishing guide Randy Dearman says crappie fishing has been slow; anglers reporting a few keepers around brush piles in 24-35 feet, suspended at 12-18 feet. Live bait is the ticket; a few on jigs. Black bass are good shallow, hitting waters, Texas rigs, frogs and a few moving baits around hydrilla edges and torpedo grass. The better quality seems to be coming deeper around ledges, drops and brush in 18 feet using Carolina rigs, Texas rigs and cranks. TOLEDO BEND - Water level is 1.68 feet low and clear. Water temp in the upper 80s. Keith Nabours at Keith’s Tackle says bass fishing has been fair with the best bite coming on Ol’ Monster worms worked on structure in 15-25 feet. Some decent numbers reported on drop shots, but not much size. A few fish shallow early and late on topwaters. Crappie fishing has been

fair around brush piles in 20-25 feet using shiners, suspended at 12-14 feet. Rhonda Shively at Bill’s Landing says catfishing has been fair on trotline and rod and reel. Some good quality blues in the 40-50 pound range coming on line sets along the river. Not much traffic. NACONICHE - Water level is at full pool and clear. Surface temp in the upper 80s. David Russell says bass fishing has been pretty consistent around submerged timber in 14-16 feet and off main lake points using bladed jigs, swim jigs and jerk baits. No report on crappie. HOUSTON COUNTY - Water level is at full pool and stained. Surface temp in the upper 80s. Crockett Family Resort says bass fishing has been been good to 8 pounds on lizards worked in 20 feet. Several fish in the 2-4 pound range reported on shad pattern cranks. Crappie are good on shiners soaked around brush piles. Bream are good around shallow shady areas and brush piles near drop offs using small worms. Catfish are good on rod and reel using night crawlers. Trotliners picking up some quality fish on cut bait.

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