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Important Notices!

Drought loans available to South Texas agricultural producers

September 9, 2014

EDINBURG: "Agricultural producers who suffered drought losses in 2013 are urged to apply for disaster emergency loans as soon as possible," said a Prairie View A&M University-Extension agent and farm adviser for Hidalgo County.

"Producers who have lost at least 30 percent of their production or suffered production losses caused by drought between April 1, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2013, are eligible for emergency loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency," said Vidal Saenz, who manages the Small Farm Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Program, administered by the Cooperative Extension Program at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas.
"Farmers or ranchers can contact me in Edinburg for assistance in applying for these loans," Saenz said.
Saenz has been helping farmers apply for loans since 1994, processing more than 700 loan applications totaling nearly $100 million.

The maximum amount of direct emergency loans can be equal to the losses, minus proceeds from crop insurance and/or hazard insurance, Saenz said.

Producers in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy and Zapata counties are eligible for the loans.
Arnulfo Lerma, FSA farm loan manager in Edinburg, urges producers to submit their applications as soon as possible.

"We hope farmers will get their applications in early rather than waiting until near the deadline, which is Dec. 23," he said. "The longer they wait, the more chance there is for long delays. If the applications come in early, we can avoid backlogs and speed up the process."

For more information, or to set up an appointment for assistance in applying for a loan, contact Saenz at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office at 956-383-1026.

Writer: Rod Santa Ana, 956-878-8317, Contact: Vidal Saenz, 956-383-1026,

Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct. 1


Congressionally Mandated Payment Reductions to Take Effect at Beginning of New Fiscal Year


Ranchers Applying for LFP Support Who Have Scheduled Appointments by Sept. 30th Will not be Impacted


WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2014 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.

The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. However, producers seeking LFP support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before Oct. 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct.1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.

USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014, to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, the Farm Service's Agency has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. This is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. To place a name on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program list online, visit

Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more.

"In just four months since disaster assistance enrollments began, we've processed 240,000 applications to help farmers and ranchers who suffered losses," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Eligible producers who have not yet contacted their local FSA office should stop by or call their local FSA office, or sign up online before Oct. 1 when congressionally mandated payment reductions take effect. This will ensure they receive as much financial assistance as possible."

The Livestock Indemnity Program, the Tree Assistance Program and the Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program Frost Freeze payments will also be cut by 7.3 percent on Oct. 1, 2014. Unlike the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, applications for these programs must be fully completed by Sept. 30. FSA offices will prioritize these applications, but as the full application process can take several days or more to complete, producers are encouraged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program compensates eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire between Oct. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2014. Eligible livestock includes alpacas, beef cattle, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep or swine that have been or would have been grazing the eligible grazing land or pastureland. Producers forced to liquidate their livestock may also be eligible for program benefits.

Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill eliminated the risk management purchase requirement. Livestock producers are no longer required to purchase coverage under the federal crop insurance program or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to be eligible for Livestock Forage Disaster Program assistance.

To learn more about USDA disaster relief program, producers can review the 2014 Farm Bill fact sheet at, the LFP program fact sheet,, or contact their local FSA office.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit


Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC)


June 20, 2014


Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in Texas Update

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has received confirmation of an additional case of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in a horse in Nueces County in South Texas. The premise is located 10 miles south of Mathis, TX. To date, 6 premises in four Texas counties have been confirmed with VS.

History: On May 28, the TAHC announced confirmation of the nation's first case of VS this year in Kinney County, TX (southeast of Del Rio.) 

Two additional cases of VS in horses in Hidalgo County in South Texas were announced last week. One premises was located approximately 24 miles northwest of Edinburg. The other premise was located three miles northwest of Edinburg.

On June 17, two new cases of VS were confirmed in horses in San Patricio County in South Texas. One premises is located approximately 7 ½ miles southeast of Mathis. The other premise is located approximately 7 miles southeast of Mathis.

All VS cases tested positive for the New Jersey serotype. The newly identified infected premise is currently under quarantine by the TAHC. Affected horses will be monitored by regulatory veterinarians while under quarantine.  Premises are eligible for quarantine release 21 days after all lesions have healed. There is no known exposure to other horses around the state, or at any equine events.

Several states have provided the TAHC with information on enhanced entry requirements they are imposing on Texas livestock (including horses) due to the recently announced VS cases in Texas. For information about these movement restrictions, contact the state or country of destination.

For more information about VS visit: Information About Vesicular Stomatitis

A USDA APHIS-VS fact sheet is available at: Vesicular Stomatitis Factsheet

For current USDA-APHIS VS situation reports visit: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 

For additional information call 512-719-0700 or contact your local TAHC region office.

Founded in 1893, the Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the health of all Texas livestock, including: cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, equine animals, and exotic livestock. The TAHC strives to keep Texas' livestock disease free, ultimately allowing for better marketability and commerce.


USDA Enhances Farm Storage Facility Loan Program


WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the expansion of the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, which provides low-interest financing to producers. The enhanced program includes 23 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand. 


This is part of a broader effort to help small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers, as announced today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. 


Producers with small and mid-sized operations, and specialty crop fruit and vegetable growers, now have access to needed capital for a variety of supplies including sorting bins, wash stations and other food safety-related equipment. A new more flexible alternative is also provided for determining storage needs for fruit and vegetable producers, and waivers are available on a case-by-case basis for disaster assistance or insurance coverage if available products are not relevant or feasible for a particular producer.


Additionally, Farm Storage and Facility Loans security requirements have been eased for loans between $50,000 and $100,000. Previously, all loans in excess of $50,000 required a promissory note and additional security, such as a lien on real estate. Now loans up to $100,000 can be secured by only a promissory note.


“The Farm Storage and Facility Loan program has helped American farmers and ranchers to finance on-farm storage for almost 13 years,” said Farm Service Agency Administrator (FSA), Juan M. Garcia. “We anticipate these changes will increase the number of individuals who qualify for these loans and help them access new market opportunities.”


The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables. Qualified facilities include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage facilities for fruits and vegetables.


Other new changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program will allow FSA State Committees to subordinate Commodity Credit Corporation’s lien position.


These changes to the program were issued via an official notice to state and county Farm Service Agency offices and are effective immediately. 


More than 33,000 loans have been issued for on-farm storage, increasing grain storage capacity by 900 million bushels since May 2000. 


More information about tools and resources available to small and mid-sized farmers will be rolled out in the coming months, including information about access to capital, risk management, food safety, and locating market opportunities on USDA's Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.


Visit or an FSA county office to learn more about FSA programs and loans, including the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.

Applications for Conservation Programs Being Accepted at NRCS Offices Statewide

TEMPLE, Nov. 26, 2013— Applications for funding opportunities with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) are currently being accepted at all NRCS offices across Texas.

NRCS in Texas has received its initial allocation of EQIP and WHIP funding for 2014 and will begin ranking and obligating contracts after January 17, 2014. All agriculture producers interested in submitting a contract application for 2014 should do so before this ranking deadline.

EQIP and WHIP are continuous sign-up programs that allow landowners or operators to apply for financial and technical assistance for the application of specific conservation practices; but the deadline for the first 2014 funding allocation is January 17, 2014. Contracts are offered periodically depending on budgetary allocations. Applications made after the deadline will be considered in the next funding cycle. Higher priority will be given to those applications that address national, state and local priorities and provide higher cost efficiency.

EQIP offers technical and financial help to install or implement structural, vegetative, and management practices that can benefit the soil, water, air, plants, livestock, and wildlife. WHIP applications must address traditional natural resource issues such as water quantity, water quality, grazing lands, forest health, soil management, emerging natural resource issues, and climate change.

Each county in the state is funded yearly to assist producers financially with these land management practices.

Last year, NRCS in Texas funded over 4,500 EQIP contracts with $91 million to accomplish conservation practices such as irrigation efficiency, minimum tillage, brush management and more on 3.6 million acres across the entire state. Additionally, NRCS funded 200 WHIP contracts with $7.1 million to improve wildlife habitat on over 380,000 acres in Texas.

In addition to helping our environment, Farm Bill conservation program funds support rural communities. In Texas, it is estimated that each dollar of NRCS and private matching expenditures on NRCS conservation programs generates an additional $2.54 in sales of goods and services locally.

For more information, including eligibility requirements, call the USDA Service Center office serving the county where your land is located. Service center locations and program information can be found on the Texas NRCS Web site at


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Final Rule for Handling of Non-Ambulatory Cattle

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a final rule to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to require a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle that become non-ambulatory disabled after passing initial inspection by Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection program personnel.

The final rule amends the federal meat inspection regulations to require that all cattle that are non-ambulatory disabled ("downer") cattle at any time prior to slaughter at an official establishment, including those that become non-ambulatory disabled after passing ante-mortem inspection, be condemned and properly disposed of according to FSIS regulations. Additionally, the final rule requires that establishments notify inspection program personnel when cattle become non-ambulatory disabled after passing the ante-mortem, or pre-slaughter, inspection. The rule will enhance consumer confidence in the food supply and improve the humane handling of cattle.

"President Obama has strongly stated his support for efforts to improve food safety," said Vilsack. "This rule is designed to enhance consumer confidence and humane handling standards and will provide clear guidance that non-ambulatory cattle will not be allowed to enter the human food supply. It is a step forward for both food safety and the standards for humane treatment of animals. "

Under the final rule, cattle that become non-ambulatory disabled from an acute injury after ante-mortem inspection will no longer be eligible to proceed to slaughter as "U.S. Suspects." Instead, FSIS inspectors will tag these cattle as "U.S. Condemned" and prohibit these cattle from proceeding to slaughter. Discontinuing the case-by-case disposition of cattle that become non-ambulatory disabled after ante mortem inspection will eliminate the time FSIS Public Health Veterinarians spend conducting additional inspections on these animals, thereby increasing the time inspection program personnel can allocate to other inspection activities. With this final rule, these cattle now must be humanely euthanized.

On July 13, 2007, FSIS published the final rule, "Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk Materials for Human Food and Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle; Prohibition of the Use of Certain Stunning Devices Used To Immobilize Cattle During Slaughter" (the SRM final rule). The SRM final rule allowed a case-by-case reinspection of cattle that became non-ambulatory disabled after ante mortem inspection to address the rare situations in which an animal that is deemed by FSIS as fit for human food at ante-mortem inspection subsequently suffers an acute injury.


For further information, contact Dr. Daniel Engeljohn, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250, or by phone at (202) 205-0495.


The Texas Comptroller's Office has updated agency rules to

provide clarity for landowners and tax appraisers regarding

wildlife management standards for property to be appraised as

open space land. The new rules, created with active input from

the Texas Wildlife Association, went into effect December 11,


Click here for the full notice.

Find notices important to your county below. The counties listed below are in alphabetical order and are only those in the TMBC service area.

If you have a notice you would like included here, please email or call 956-481-3256.












El Paso




Jeff davis

Jim hogg

Jim wells




La Salle

Live Oak












Val Verde








Texas Department of State Health Services
December 29, 2008

DSHS to Resume Annual Wintertime Rabies Bait Drop Jan. 7

The Texas Department of State Health Services’ annual airdrop of vaccine baits, credited with turning the tide against the spread of rabies strains carried by coyotes and gray foxes, will begin next week.  Some 2.9 million baits will be dropped over parts of 41 Texas counties.

“The purpose has been to create and maintain zones of vaccinated coyotes in South Texas and gray foxes in West-Central Texas to prevent the spread of rabies to other animals and humans and to eventually eliminate canine and gray fox rabies in Texas,” said DSHS veterinarian Ernest Oertli, director of the department’s Oral Rabies Vaccination Program.

“No human cases of rabies in either area have occurred since the airdrops began,” he said.

Flights of five specially equipped airplanes will be from four airports.  Scheduled start dates and locations are:

·        Jan. 7, Zapata County Airport near Zapata and Kimble County Airport in Junction

·        Jan. 12, Pecos Municipal Airport and

·        Jan. 19, Del Rio International Airport.   

 (The 11 counties in the 2009 South Texas vaccine distribution area are: Cameron, Dimmit, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, La Salle, Maverick, Starr, Webb, Willacy, Zapata and Zavala.
The 30 counties in the 2009 West-Central Texas vaccine distribution area are: Concho, Crane, Culberson, Ector, Edwards, El Paso, Irion, Jeff Davis, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Loving, Mason, McCulloch, Menard, Midland,  Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Regan, San Saba, Schleicher, Sutton, Terrell, Tom Green, Upton, Val Verde, Ward and Winkler.
Please contact your Regional Zoonosis Control Veterinarian or the Zoonosis Control Central Office in Austin for more information:

The number of animal cases of canine rabies in South Texas has declined from a high of 142 animal cases when the program began in 1995 to none through October 2008. Gray fox cases are down overall from an all-time high of 265 cases in 1994 to 11 reported through October 2008.

The specialized baits for coyotes are made of fish meal.  The vanilla-flavored bait for gray foxes is made of dog-food and molasses. Encased in each bait are 2 milliliters of oral rabies vaccine. “The vaccine cannot cause rabies in people or animals,” Oertli said.

Because baits contain a biological agent and are less likely to be eaten by wildlife if people touch them, baits should not be handled. The brown baits, measuring 1¼ by 1¼ by ¾ inches, are marked with a DSHS toll-free number, 1-877-722-6725, people may call for information.

“Getting pets vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian as required by law is still essential to preventing the spread of rabies,” Oertli said.  He added that a domestic animal’s rabies vaccination can be safely given even if the animal recently ate an oral rabies vaccine bait.


(News Media: For more information contact Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, at 512-458-7400.)
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