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Well-owner training set for Jan. 28 in Seguin

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By: Paul Schattenberg

SEGUIN — Anyone interested in private water well management is invited to a Texas Well Owner Network training Jan. 28 in Seguin. The workshop is being offered to area private water well owners through collaboration with the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Partnership.

The training, which is free and open to the public, will be from 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at the Big Red Barn, 390 Cordova Road, said Drew Gholson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist and network coordinator in College Station.

“The TWON program is for Texas residents who depend on household wells for their water needs, so they can learn about improving and protecting their community water resources,” Gholson said. “The program was established to help well owners become familiar with Texas groundwater resources, septic system maintenance, well maintenance and construction, and water quality and treatment.”

He said participants may bring well-water samples to the training for screening. The cost is $12 per sample, with payment due when samples are turned in.

“We invite private well owners to bring in a water sample to be screened for nitrates, total dissolved solids and bacteria,” Gholson said.

Well owners who would like to have their water sampled can pick up two sample containers from the AgriLife Extension offices in Guadalupe or Comal counties.

Bringing water samples to the training is not required, Gholson said, but those wanting to have water samples analyzed must attend the training.

Space is limited, so attendees are requested to register at http://twon.tamu.edu/training or by calling 979-845-1461 as soon as possible.

The training is one of 30 statewide conducted through the Preventing Water Quality Contamination through the Texas Well Owner Network project. Other scheduled trainings include Navasota, San Antonio and Round Rock.

“The core content of this program is the same as other trainings, but the information is tailored to local water quality issues and aquifers,” he said.

Gholson said more than 1 million private water wells in Texas provide water to citizens in rural areas and increasingly to those living on small acreages at the growing rural-urban interface.

“Private well owners are independently responsible for monitoring the quality of their wells,” he said. “They are responsible for ensuring their drinking water is safe. This means they are responsible for all aspects of the water system – testing, inspecting, maintaining – and this training will help private well owners to understand and care for their wells.”

Funding for the Texas Well Owner Network is through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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Farm & Ranch

Mammals and Avian Influenza

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By Barry Whitworth, DVM

At the writing of this article, High Path Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has been detected in more than 83 million domestic poultry in the United States. The outbreak includes commercial and backyard flocks.

Most people are aware that poultry may succumb to Avian Influenza but may not know that other animals can be infected with the virus. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a variety of mammals have been infected with Avian Influenza H5N1 in the U.S.

The list of more than 200 mammals includes bears, foxes, skunks, coyotes, etc. Even marine animals such as dolphins and seals have been found with the virus. Current Avian Influenza H5N1 infections in poultry, mammals, and livestock in the U.S. can be found at the Detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza website at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock-poultry-disease/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-detections.

Recently, ruminants have been diagnosed with Avian Influenza H5N1 in the U.S. The World Organization for Animal Health reported that neonatal goats displaying neurological clinical signs and death were positive for Avian Influenza.

To read more, pick up a copy of the May issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

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By Rayford Pullen | [email protected]

When May arrives, we start thinking about weed control. With two years of drought under our belts, grass grazed short and hay stocks depleted, what we do now will influence our forage conditions for the entire year. With 75 percent of our annual warm season forages made by July 15 in North Texas, we need to get the grass growing while the sun shines.

Speaking of the sun shining, the biggest deterrent to growing lots of grass is restricted sunlight, and the biggest sun blockers we have are weeds.

Have you noticed weeds are normally just slightly taller than your grass and are probably blocking 90 percent of the sunlight from reaching the grass itself? So obviously, we need to improve conditions, so sunlight reaches the plants we want to grow.

With grass extremely short, more sunlight is hitting the soil surface now, which in turn results in more weed seed germinating. With the moisture we have received, we expect an abundance of weeds this year.

To read more, pick up a copy of the May issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Land Market Report: March Land Sales

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By Jared Groce

Rural land sales are continuing on a steady pace for early spring, with prices holding very strong with the sell-to-list price ratios remaining very high, even on properties that have been on the market for a longer than usual time period. The total number of transactions are picking up once again as the spring selling season kicks off, and the average acreage continues to decrease.

Larger acreage properties seem to be in higher demand than smaller properties currently, with many buyers simply parking cash in real estate to hedge against inflation. Interest rates seem to have settled down and most experts agree that rates will be reduced by the fed this year. Some lenders have programs in place that allow the buyer to reduce their rates without having to go through a full refinance ordeal.

To read more, pick up a copy of the May issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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