Feral hog problem continues in Texas

In Southwest Farm Press

A war has been raging across Texas for a very long time, a man-versus-beast battle that rages across the plains, the Hill Country, the Blacklands, Pineywoods, the South Texas brush country, on sparsely populated rural lands and on open spaces and alleyways of larger cities.

The enemy in Texas runs in large numbers, stealthy at night when they do their greatest damage, and smart enough to often avoid traps and the growing numbers of hunters that pursue them.

And they can be very dangerous, and terribly destructive at their best. Continue reading

Lessons from Rodent Academy (from Insects in the City blog)

by Michael Merchant, Texas A&M AgriLife

Bobby Corrigan refers to himself professionally as a rodentologist, though he’s slow to admit as much to just anyone. He describes the typical conversation with someone next to him on a plane, or at a casual encounter at a party:

“So, what do you do for a living?” 

“I’m a rodentologist.”

“Oh, how nice!” [crickets]… End of conversation. Continue reading

Baskin Elementary in San Antonio receives $1,000 grant for pollinator program

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

Baskin Elementary School in San Antonio recently received a $1,000 grant to establish a pollinator garden on the school campus.

The money, provided from a Feed-A-Bee program grant by the Bayer CropScience Division, was part of a larger grant given to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to fund pollinator initiatives and activities throughout Bexar County. Continue reading

Labels, labels, everywhere! What do they all mean?

Organic. Natural. Hormone-free. Gluten free. Today’s consumers are assaulted with a variety of labels that companies are using to promote their products. However, a study by extension specialists at Texas A&M AgriLife shows that most consumers don’t have a clue what some of those labels mean, and some may make ill-informed choices based on the labels. They have created a new program called Path to the Plate to help debunk some myths and demystify labels for the curious shopper.

Most people who read labels do so to make the best choices for their own health or the health of their families. Many consumer lobby groups have taken their charge to the Internet or to social media to laud or vilify certain types of production practices. “Organic,” for instance, is praised, while “GMO” is criticized. As a result, many consumers concerned about their health look for organic, non-GMO products. Continue reading

Consumers be aware of unsuspecting insects in Christmas trees

NOTE: If you buy a real Christmas tree, you should also look for invasive pests such as hemlock woolly adelgid, balsam woolly adelgid, and pine bark beetles.

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

This holiday season, consumers should be aware of unwanted critters that may find their way into homes clinging to a freshly cut Christmas tree,  said a Texas A&M University entomologist.

Dr. David Ragsdale, head of the university’s entomology department in College Station, said it’s not uncommon for insects to sometimes make their way into homes after a tree has been purchased from a tree farm or retailer. Continue reading

Organic grain, soybean study establishes early production recommendations

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

After one year of studying organic grain and soybean cropping systems, Texas A&M AgriLife scientists say they know more about what not to do moving forward.

Three Texas A&M researchers are using a $475,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to study organic grain and soybean cropping systems over a three-year period. Continue reading

Fall Pest Management Seminar in Dallas

From Insects in the City

Registration is now open for the Fall Pest Management Seminar, sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. This is one of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to get your pesticide applicator CEUs in the Dallas area.  To register, go to our AgriLife Conference Registration site.  Early registration is still only $70, and includes lunch.

One big change this year is our location. This meeting, and all training meetings in the foreseeable future will be held at a new address, the Richardson Civic Center. It’s a very nice facility and no more hard yellow chairs!  We hope you’ll join us and check it out. Continue reading