Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cattle Trails Cow-Calf Conference Jan. 14 in Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS - Coming out of the drought and returning to fundamentally sound production will be the focus of the Cattle Trails Cow-Calf Conference Jan. 14 in Wichita Falls. The event is a joint effort between the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. This annual conference provides cow-calf producers the most up-to-date information on topics that influence cattle profits, said Stan Bevers, AgriLife Extension economist in Vernon.

The slogan of the annual conference is “Driving your operation to profits,” but Bevers said the last few drought-influenced years have made it pretty tough to generate any profit. However, many areas of northern Texas and southern Oklahoma have received enough moisture for ranchers to consider re-stocking and returning to normal production practices. “Returning to ‘normal’ production will require a new level of understanding and pencil pushing,” Bevers said. The conference, which alternates between Texas and Oklahoma each year, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the MPEC Center, 1000 5th St. in Wichita Falls. Registration is $25 per person and includes educational materials, a copy of conference materials, a noon meal and refreshments. Additional information can be obtained at

Conference topics and speakers will include:

  • External Parasite Control for the Cow Herd – Dr. Justin Talley, Oklahoma State University associate professor and Extension livestock entomologist, Stillwater, Okla.
  • Merging Supplement Nutrition with Pasture Conditions for Optimal Performance, Dr. Ted McCollum, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Amarillo.
  • Getting All You Can: What the 2014 Cattle Markets Hold, Dr. David Anderson, AgriLife Extension livestock marketing specialist, College Station.
  • New Insurance Products for Cattlemen, Bevers.
  • Evaluating Replacement Female Alternatives for Your Herd, Jason Pace, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension economist.
  • Biosecurity: What Every Rancher Should Know and Do, Dr. Tom Hairgrove, AgriLife Extension program coordinator for livestock and food systems, College Station.

“Ranchers are ready to get back to being ranchers,” Bevers said. “They should start preparing their response to improving weather.”

Industry sponsors also will have their products on display during the event.

Producers are encouraged to preregister by contacting their local AgriLife Extension county agent, or Allison Ha at 940-552-9941, extension 225 or

Save the Date for Step Up & Scale Down

This is the time of year when everyone seems to be saying to themselves “as soon as I get through the holidays, I am going to start eating better and exercising.”  I encourage you to go ahead and commit to that New Year’s resolution of a healthy lifestyle, by contacting the Wise County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Just after the New Year, we are launching our 2nd Annual Step Up & Scale Down, a 12-week weight management program to help Wise County residents in their efforts
            The series will kick off Tuesday, January 7 at the Decatur City Hall meeting room.  Classes will be held from noon to 1:00 pm for twelve consecutive Tuesdays.  “Step Up &Scale Down is a great program to do with a friend or family member.  It is always easier to reach your goals when you have additional support.
            The program will consist of weekly lessons to help participants move toward a healthier weight and will include a weekly weight check-in, weekly challenge to “stay the course,” Dinner Tonight! healthy recipes and tips, exercise resources, and a weight-loss planner.   JRob’s Sports and Fitness will be teaming up with us for the class series by offering workout tips and strategies for success.
            The Step Up & Scale Down program is based on the USDA 2010 Guidelines, which is intended to help Americans choose a healthful eating plan.  Step Up & Scale Down is a researched based program that has proven success in weight management and building healthy lifestyle habits.
            Cost for the 12-week program is $25 which includes all course materials.    Pre-registration is available until January 3 by contacting the Extension office at 940/627-3341 or  Educational programs of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age or national origin.  The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Meeting Scheduled

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association has scheduled a meeting for Thursday, December 12 at 6:00 pm at Catfish O'Harlies in Decatur and the meal is "dutch treat". 

Dan Childs with the Noble Foundation will be discussing: 
  • Opportunities in the Cow/Calf Sector;
  • Highest Prices in History; and
  • What Now?
Call the Extension office at 940/627-3341 for more information.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Talking Turkey

Note to all Wise County residents, did you realize that Thanksgiving is just around the corner?  It’s time to give thanks and feast on turkey with family and friends.  Texas AgriLife Extension, Wise County wants to make sure that the turkey you serve produces only compliments, and not complaints, by encouraging you to follow four simple steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Before you begin working with poultry, or any potentially hazardous food item, one of the primary rules of food safety is to keep everything CLEAN by washing hands with warm/hot soapy water before preparing food, and after your hands have come in contact with raw turkey.
After purchasing, take your turkey home and store it in the freezer or the refrigerator.  Never store the turkey on the counter top, or any other place where the temperature reaches above 40 degrees F.
The safest place to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator.  Depending upon the size of your turkey, it may take up to 2-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator.  Place your turkey on a tray in the refrigerator to prevent its juices from dripping on other foods.   
As a rule of thumb, it takes approximately 24 hours to thaw every 5 pounds of turkey in the refrigerator.  If the turkey is thawed in the microwave, it should be cooked immediately because areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook.  Follow the instructions on the package for thawing.
A turkey that is 8-12 pounds will take approximately 3 hours to cook.  12-14 pounds will take 3 to 3.75 hours, 14-18 pounds will take 3.75 to 4.25 hours, 18-20 pounds will take 4.25 to 4.5 hours, and 20-24 pounds will take 4.5 to 5 hours to cook.
To safely cook the thawed turkey, tuck the wing tips under the shoulders of the turkey and place in a roasting pan with ½ cup water.  For safety, stuffing should be cooked separate from the turkey.  A tent of foil can be loosely laid over the turkey for the first 1 to 1.5 hours and removed for browning.  Place the turkey in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees F.
Turkey meat will be safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F; however, the meat may still be slightly pink. Some people prefer cooking turkey to a higher temperature (whole turkey to 180°F in the innermost part of the thigh; turkey breasts to 170 degrees F in the thickest part). For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving.

If you are stumped on the best way to thaw, prepare or cook a turkey, concerned about food safety, you can call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-674-6854 or send an Email to: web page link for Hotline. The hotline will be staffed with food safety specialists on Thanksgiving Day from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central Time to answer your turkey questions. 
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pesticide Applicator 5 Hr. CEU Program

All TDA Pesticide Applicator license holders who need to obtain CEU’s for their Applicator license need to be at the Decatur Civic Center, Thursday, December 12, 2013.  Participants will receive 5 hours of CEU’s consisting of 1 hour of Laws and Regulations, 1 hour of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and 3 hours of general.  The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will run until 3:00 p.m.

This year we will have high quality speakers and diverse topics:

· Brush Management Options for Today’s Times - James Jackson, Extension Program Specialist, Range Management, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension,  Stephenville
· Back to Basics Land Stewardship  - Ricky  Linex- USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Weatherford, TX
· Laws and Regulations -  Henry Krusekopf - Texas Department of Agriculture, Inspector, Dallas
· Resistant Weeds What You Should Know and Why You Should Care -  Todd Baughman, Ph.D.  -  Program Support Leader, Oklahoma State University, Institute for Agricultural Biosciences
· Fundamentals of Lawn Care  -  Hennen Cummings, Ph.D. , Associate Professor and Director of Turfgrass Management, Tarleton State University

The registration fee for the program will be $40, due no later than December 6, 2013.  Lunch included.  Checks need to be payable to: Extension Livestock Committee and sent to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 206 S. State Street, Decatur, 76234. 

For more information call the Extension Office at 940-627-3341.  The event is sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Wise County Extension Forage and Livestock Committee.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Smart Nutrition Choices

While we’re overfed, we’re undernourished, and new research shows that many Americans are not meeting their average daily needs for key nutrients.  The solution is to eat nutrient-rich foods, like high quality lean protein to provide you with the essential vitamins and minerals you need to fuel a healthy lifestyle.  The new definition of healthy eating is not just about counting calories, but making your calories count more.  Eating nutrient-rich foods satisfies the body, helping you feel full longer, while providing much needed nutrients.  Following is an example from the Cleveland Clinic:
A glazed doughnut has almost exactly the same number of calories as a bowl of high-fiber multigrain cereal with nonfat yogurt and blueberries. So you can eat either one, right? Nope. The cereal choice has about a quarter of the fat — and six times the fiber! Eat the doughnut and you’ll be hungry in less than two hours; eat the cereal and you’ll find you eat less all day long.
During the upcoming holiday season, consider trying this recipe idea for fruit salad. It comes from our recent Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dinner Tonight cookbook:

Fruit Salad with Honey-Yogurt Dressing
Serves 4

1/2 cup sliced grapes
1 cup large apples, diced
1/2 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Honey-Yogurt Dressing

1/4 cup French vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Combine grapes, apples, carrot, raisins, and pecans in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine all the ingredients for the honey-yogurt dressing in a small bowl and stir well. Pour the dressing over the fruit mixture and toss gently to combine.
Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving. The salad may be served in a lettuce-lined salad bowl.

Nutrition facts per serving: 127 calories, 5g total fat, 19mg sodium, 0.5mg cholesterol, 27g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 1g protein