Agriculture

Solar Farm
4:41 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Sheep Keeping Grass Under Control At OCI Solar "Farm" In San Antonio

The sheep have been effective so far, according to OCI Solar Power officials.
Ryan Loyd TPR News

OCI Solar Power thought of an idea that leaders there say is sheer genius. They've put sheep to work on the grounds of a solar farm on the far northeast side to keep the grass cut.

As solar panels soak up plenty of hot Texas sunshine, there's plenty landscaping work to do at the Alamo 2 Solar Farm off Binz-Engleman near North Foster Road. But instead of people, OCI Solar Power is employing lambscapers.

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Fronteras
12:42 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Texas Border City A Model For Solar Power

The Acacia Solar Plant in Presidio, TX has allowed this border city to put more power onto the electric grid than it takes off.
Travis Bubenik KRTS

Fronteras: The USDA has lifted a ban on inspectors working in Mexico, which could invigorate a cattle trade that has been hurt in both countries. We look at how one border city provides a model for solar power in Texas. State health officials have alerted the CDC about conditions in border facilities where thousands of Central American minors are being detained. Commentator Yvette Benavides takes us inside an immigration court room in San Antonio where these children and teens are making their cases.

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Agriculture
10:16 am
Mon July 7, 2014

AgriLife Extension Says Texas Pecan Yield Recovering From Drought

Pecan orchard. Image URL: bit.ly/1jgO6yT
Credit Flickr user Judy Baxter / cc

Agriculture forecasters at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension are predicting a medium-size pecan crop for the state in 2014. Experts say this year’s production will be better than the last three, but still under capacity.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service estimates farmers will produce between 50 million and 55 million pounds of pecans in 2014.

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Environment
11:24 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Harvard Study Advances Knowledge Of Colony Collapse Disorder, Honeybee Die-Off

Flickr user TexasEagle cc

A new study by Harvard University explains a little more about colony collapse disorder (CCD), the name given to the sudden and widespread die-off of the honeybees that our food supply depends on for pollination.

The findings may also explain why Texas bee hives are doing better than those in other parts of the country.

Scientists have suspected for some time that a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids is responsible for CCD.

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Fronteras
2:50 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

During A Traffic Stop, What Questions Do You Have To Answer?

Tom Michael KRTS

Fronteras: If you're questioned by law enforcement at a traffic stop, what are you required to answer? As demographics change across the nation and in Texas, there’s growing concern about Alzheimer’s disease among Mexican-Americans—a population that continues to age. More minors from south of the border are making the dangerous journey to the U.S. illegally and alone. We visit Joint Base San Antonio Lackland where many of those minors are being housed.

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Fronteras
1:53 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Will This Planned West Texas Clean Coal Project Be A Game Changer?

Construction on a coal-fired power plant equipped with carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) is expected to begin here in Penwell, Texas this year. One of two such plants in the U.S., the other is in Kemper, Mississippi.
Jason Lewis U.S. Department of Energy

Fronteras: The Democrat facing newly-nominated Republican Dan Patrick in the Texas lieutenant governor race says Sen. Patrick’s pledge to campaign in the minority community is “insulting.” New EPA rules to cut carbon emissions are expected to be unveiled soon. The new rules are expected to spur the use of a so-called clean coal technology. There are fewer than 100 fluent speakers of Kumeyaay left in Southern California and northern Baja California, where they once dominated. Efforts are now underway to preserve the endangered language.

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Agriculture
1:11 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Olive Oil Is Far From Being The Next Boom In Texas, But The Industry Is Growing

Vineyards at Bella Vista Ranch in Wimberley.
Ryan E. Poppe TPR News

In the last five years the number of olive trees in Texas has increased rapidly, but even with tremendous growth several farmers say it’s not enough to call it the next oil boom.

Jim Henry, a pioneer in farming olives and founder of the Texas Olive Oil Council, said in the mid-1990s there were only a handful of trees, but in 2010 that number jumped to over 800,000. Today, Henry said, there are just over a million olive trees in Texas, which in 2013 produced an estimated 30,000-40,000 gallons of oil.

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The Source - April 17, 2014
12:11 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

The Source: Is Texas Missing Out On Record Beef Prices?

USDA CC

The drought that caused several Texas ranchers to sell off their herds in the past three years is also a culprit in the current surge in red meat prices.

According to several economists the prices are setting records. The demand for beef in Asia as well as increased feed prices -- as corn increasingly heads to ethanol refiners -- are also to blame for the current state of high prices.

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Environment
4:51 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

The Return Of Bracken Bats Is Good News For Texas Farmers

Bracken Bat Cave in winter when the resident bats have flown south. Here, workers are preparing to collect the cave's bat guano, a popular natural fertilizer.
Eileen Pace TPR News

After their winter trip south, Mexican free-tailed bats are returning to the Bracken Bat Cave in Central Texas in larger numbers, which is good news for South Texas agriculture.

Millions of Mexican free-tailed bats make their summer home at the Bracken Cave just north of San Antonio, and farmers in South Texas rely on them to swarm across their farmland and eat the insects that can destroy crops.

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Fronteras
1:43 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Energy Boom, Light Pollution Threaten Astronomy In West Texas

A glow over the northern horizon at McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis,Texas. The light is generated by round-the-clock oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.
Bill Wren

Fronteras: The energy boom in Texas and New Mexico is inadvertently compromising the jet-black night skies that astronomers need to do their research. After several decades in the doldrums, the Mexican film industry is seeing some light on the horizon. There’s been a rise of federal immigration crimes -- we speak to an expert from Pew Research about what’s driving that growth. Farmers and ranchers from across the nation are calling for action on immigration reform and the Texas Farm Bureau is asking Congress to “get ‘er done” to help farmers compete.

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