Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

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Nov. 26, 1996

Clean crop makes life easier for ginner

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Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 26, 1996 - Gail Fritter moves from scales to farm store to
gin stands as she oversees work of the crew at Coyanosa Co-op Gin.

Days are long during the fall, when Fritter arrives before 7 a.m. and
stays until the gin shuts down at 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Everyone rests on Sunday.

Ginning is going fast this fall, because the Upland cotton is good
quality, Fritter said. Strippers remove most of the trash before the
fluffy white locks are compressed into a module or dumped loose into a

Early last week, Fritter said that 3,071 bales had moved through the
gin in just four weeks.

"We are way ahead of last year," she said. "Everything has been
working, and the cotton is better quality. Most is burr extracted."

No colored cotton is seen on the ginyard, and Fritter is thankful that
phase of experimental farming is behind her. Colored cotton has extra
short fibers that get lost in the ginning process, making poor turnout.
All colored fibers must be cleaned from the gin equipment before white
can be run, and vice-versa.

On the other end of the spectrum, Coyanosa Co-Op operated a roller gin
for the long-staple pima cotton once popular in this area. Fritter said
it closed down three years ago, after ginning only 300 bales each of its
last two seasons.

Prospective buyers plan to move the pima gin equipment to Peru and

Managing one gin is enough for Fritter, whose crews pick up cotton
modules from the field for storage on the ginyard to await their turn
under the suction, separate lint from seed and again store it for

Lupe Garcia and Pancho Rodriguez take turns operating the suction,
which could be compared to the gin's mouth. Moving over the surface of a
module, the suction picks up the locks and moves them through a
humidifying-drying-cleaning process.

Saws in the three gin stands cut lint from the seeds, move it through a
condenser and form it into a thin layer called a "batt." The batt slides
down a chute into one side of a double press, where it is compressed
into a bale weighing around 500 pounds.

Every few minutes an alarm on the press sounds, alerting the crew that
a bale is finished and ready to be removed. Ruben Baeza and Ezekiel
Hernandez slip ties underneath the finished bale before Carlos Galvan
removes it from the press.

Then they remove a sample from each side of the bale, slip a cover over
it and set it on a trailer outside. They are averaging 13 bales per
hour, Fritter said.

Shorter fibers, called motes, are gathered in one of the old presses to
form a smaller bale. Those are sold for mattress stuffing and other
non-glamorous uses. Fritter said the 19 cents per pound the gin receives
is clear profit.

"That is stuff we used to burn in the trash pile," she said. "The
equipment we bought toconvert the old press - cleaners, fans and
cyclones - we paid for the first year with motes. Now it is just clear

Farmers who use the gin are the owners, and they hold an annual
stockholders meeting in June. Clifford Hoelshler of Garden City is
President. Dennis Braden is vice president and Elmer Braden is
secretary. Alfred Schwartz and Jesus Ruiz are directors.

Fritter said she got to know the farmers when she was working at the
ASCS office in Fort Stockton and applied for the gin manager position
when it came open five years ago.

She feels honored to be named this year as an alternate director on the
board of the Texas Cotton Ginners Association.

Although the hours are long during ginning season, Fritter said she
does not regret her decision to give up her government job.

"I take a lot of days off during the summer," she said.

Modern technology has made marketing cotton easier than the old days,
Fritter said. Once a sample is classed in the Lamesa classing office,
the grades are entered into the gin's computer.

"We do all the marketing over Telcot," Fritter said. But for farmers
who prefer the old-fashioned way, the gin will ship it or market it "or
do whatever the customer's wishes are."

Telcot is operated by the Plains Cotton Cooperative in Lubbock.

"The computer has access to all buyers in the United States," Fritter
said. "They see the grades, bales, where it was ginned, shipped, stored
- all automated."

Rosa Carreon weighs cotton trailers and modules across the scales.
Becky Martinez is office assistant and Fritter's "right hand."

Together they keep the cotton moving from field to yard to gin to yard
to market.

Narrow search for wildlife via the web

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COLLEGE STATION - People who want to hunt the vast ranges for Texas
wildlife - whether by gun, binoculars or camera - might try the World
Wide Web to narrow the search.

The Natural Resources and Economic Development homepage offers an
organized approach to finding out how best to make use of the state's
vast resources, according to a Texas Agricultural Extension Service
specialist who developed the page.

"This gives the general public a way to access information on fishing,
hunting and birding all in one place, whether they need to know about
hunting leases or when the next birding festival is," said Dr. Jack
Thigpen, associate professor of rural sociology and Extension specialist
in community development.

"Also, people who work for other agencies can use the data part of the
home page, such as the acres of leased land or deer habitat, to help
design educational programs and see how the numbers change over time,"
he said.

The home page is at

For wild game harvesters, the site provides the 1995 hunting lease
acreage figures by county in 5-year increments from 1975-95. Thigpen
hopes to add the data on an annual basis beginning with 1996 when those
figures become available.

"If a statewide program is designed to get more people to use land for
wildlife recreation, the data can be accessed to see changes in acres of
habitat," Thigpen suggested. "Hunters come to hunt, and they spend money
with private landowners and rural community businesses, so this could
help estimate how much income generated."

The data shows, for example, that Edwards County has the largest deer
population with more than 141,000 animals, but Webb County has the
largest economic impact from all hunting with an estimated $9.25 million
dollars annually. Such information might help landowners determine how
to establish habitat that would encourage more wildlife and how to
enhance income through hunting leases.

Wildlife researchers also can use the data to get an indication of
whether habitat is being lost to urban encroachment, or if an
educational program to encourage habitat plantings is The county data
also gives the estimated hunting economic impact, acres of habitat,
estimated deer populations and number of hunter days.

Also linked to the site are several Texas maps such as one of counties
by economic type, ecological regions of the state, percentage of land
leased for hunting in each county, the change in hunting lease acreage
by county over the last 10 years, and vegetation types of Texas.

Thigpen said this type of data is collected but hard to find because
some agencies do not have World Wide Web access yet.

People interested in the natural resources of the western part of the
state should examine the page's link to TEXNET-Common Range Plants,
designed by specialists at the Texas A;&M Research and Extension Center
in San Angelo. This site allows the user to browse the Web for plants
from the Edwards Plateau or Trans-Pecos regions. There also is a link to
key seed-producing plants for quail, woody plants for wildlife, a
section that helps identify grasses and information about types of
plants that contaminate wool and mohair in Texas.

Thigpen plans to continue expanding the outdoor recreation available to
encourage better use of the state's natural resources.

"I would like to expand the hunting clearing house section to make it
easier for people to find a place to hunt or go birding," he said. "This
provides information for hunters and birders, and they spend money in
Texas communities."

Beef council to extend national efforts

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Beef checkoff programs conducted by the Texas Beef Council in the
coming year will achieve more measurable results than ever before, said
Chaunce Thompson of Breckenridge, TBC chairman.

"TBC will extend the national effort of promotion and education about
beef into Texas in more focused ways during 1997," Thompson said. "We
call our programs Intensified Partnership Initiatives because TBC's
staff works closely with selected partners. To participate, the partners
have to provide us with specific information on how these programs
affect their beef sales."

Thompson said the beef industry has used the beef checkoff program to
grow into its new marketing role.

"In the first years of the checkoff, we had to promote our image and
sell our benefits," he said. "Decades of underfunded marketing efforts
had forced us to remind consumers that we had a healthy, wholesome
product. Those years of effort now allow us to go one step further. We
can begin working with partners who have the greatest impact on beef
sales nationally and internationally."

In the domestic marketing area, for example, TBC will conduct an IPI
with EEB, a supermarket chain with 230 stores in 122 Texas communities
with expansion plans for Louisiana and Mexico. HEB also is a key account
of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the national organization
which develops and conducts national checkoff programs. TBC will work
with HEB executive staff to train store employees about all facets of

Sysco, the giant food service distributor, will work with TBC to
provide intensive beef training to its sales staff about how beef fits
into various restaurant menus. Sysco's key accounts also will benefit
from a joint management seminar conducted in partnership with TBC.
Finally, TBC and Sysco also will promote beef during critical beef
supply periods.

On the consumer health front, TBC again will partner with the American
Heart Association to sponsor educational programs for Texas consumers
explaining how beef fits into wellness programs. TBC also will sponsor
heart-healthy meals (along with the beef entree's nutritional analysis)
for healthcare professionals in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

In export market development, TBC's IPI programs will include
associations with selected Texas exporters to train their sales staff
and their key account end users (such as foreign chefs, restaurant
operators and retail meat buyers) about the benefits of U.S. beef These
programs will support U.S. Meat Export Federation programs conducted in
foreign countries.

Other projects TBC will be involved with in fiscal year 1997 will
include continued visibility for its highly successful "Come See How
Cattle Shape Your World" interactive exhibit. Last year, more than
250,000 visitors toured the 2,500-square foot display at five livestock
shows in the United States and.Canada to increase the positive
perception about beef This year, the exhibit will travel to at least
four shows in two states.

In the area of quality and consistency, TBC will be a partner with
Texas A&M University to conduct the highly effective Beef 706 programs.
These hands-on trainings for beef producers have generated many on-farm
programs that have increased the uniformity and quality of beef through
management and genetic changes.

"This summary covers some highlights of the TBC plan," Thompson said.
"The TBC board, which is made up of representatives of all the major
beef and dairy cattle organizations in Texas, has approved all TBC's
programs. These programs are cost-effective extensions into Texas of the
industry's unified national plan. Our goal is to strengthen beef's
position in the global marketplace by providing value to consumers,
partners, and cattle producers."

Heart's Delight campaign

promotes lean beef entree

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Millions of Texans learned how lean beef fits into heart healthy eating
Nov. 11-16 thanks to the American Heart Association's Heart's Delight

"The Texas Beef Council has an excellent working relationship with the
Texas division of the American Heart Association," said Linda Bebee, TBC
vice president for domestic marketing.

"This relationship allowed us to work with AHA in Texas to educate the
public about the health roles played by fat, saturated fat, cholesterol
and sodium during Heart's Delight week. It was an excellent opportunity
to tell Texans how beef fits into healthy meals that must be low in fat
and cholesterol while providing consumers with beef recipe ideas that
are easy to prepare yet elegant enough to serve for special occasions."

TBC and AHA-Texas affiliate developed 2,800 activity kits that went to
Heart at Work coordinators and regional and communication directors for
AHA in Texas, all of whom were representatives at schools, community
sites and work sites.

The kits offered information about heart healthy diets including tips
on low-fat food selection, recipe modification and low-fat cooking
techniques. In addition, two of the four recipes contained in the
Heart's Delight kit centered around beef.

"AHA-Texas affiliate and TBC also sent kits to 200 Texas media," Bebee
said. "In addition, TBC distributed 150,000 lean beef recipe cards to
consumers around the state. Each of these colorful cards included the
AHA logo."

The campaign coincides with the beef industry's effort to promote its
Lean 7 Campaign focusing on cuts of beef from the round and loin. Each
of the seven cuts has less fat and cholesterol than a chicken thigh and
only slightly more than a chicken breast.

The centerpiece of the Heart's Delight week was Nov. 13. Heart at Work
coordinators asked employees to bring a low-fat entree to work.
Additional tips on choosing low-fat foods including beef were provided
by e-mail, voice mail or were posted on bulletin boards during the
entire week.

"The campaign with AHA-Texas affiliate brought credibility to the beef
industry's scientifically based research about low-fat beef cuts," Bebee
said. "TBC contributed just $20,000 to the campaign, or less than $10
per site. It was a highly rewarding investment in the continuous effort
to get out healthful messages about today's beef.

Cotton council rolls out

risk management network

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MEMPHIS - The National Cotton Council will roll out its "Cotton Risk
Management Network" at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in January and
continue introducing it to industry members in meetings across the
Cotton Belt.

The network, which is being designed specifically to improve Council
members' management of both price and production risks, is a tool the
organization believes will help its members compete under the Federal
Agriculture Improvement & Reform Act of 1996.

"We see the need of providing industry members with better market
intelligence and a tool-box for managing risk because the new
market-oriented farm law reduces the federal government's role in
underwriting price risk," said Dr. Mark Lange, the Council's Director of
Economic and Information Services. "Total outlay for farm programs is
substantially reduced and no matter how low the price of cotton goes,
the government payment is fixed. For cotton, that payment is about half
the average rate of the past 10 years."

Council staff will explain the network during the Beltwide Cotton
Conferences and during educational meetings with key cotton interest
groups over the next several months. Software compatible with most
computer equipment will be distributed early in 1997, and access to the
network's updated price and other necessary data will be available at
the Council's World Wide Web home page ( via the

"While the network cannot provide time-specific price forecasting or
marketing advice, it will enable users to better understand influences
on price behavior," Lange said. "It also will provide analytical tools
for them to make season-average price predictions with the overall aim
of improving their chances of making better marketing decisions. We
believe this will be a valuable service as the new farm law has farmers
looking to the market alone for revenue sufficient to cover their costs
and provide an acceptable return on their investment."

Some of the network's offerings include:

* market news and activity, including spot prices for the various
markets and mill delivered prices,

* world price data, including the "A" and "B" indexes and the growths
included in each, the Adjusted World Price, the loan rate, certificate
values, coarse count adjustment and the transportation adjustment,

* a price model with a current benchmark world cotton price and
variables which historically have explained 95 percent of cotton price
behavior to help in producing a season average world cotton price

* historic relationships between the world price and other price
series, such as New York futures for use in making comparisons and
drawing conclusions about expected price behavior and

* information about the cost of "put" and "call" options on the New
York Cotton Exchange. This will give network users the opportunity to
evaluate the cost of various approaches to price risk management versus
return potential.

Another tool will be a farm model which will permit users to evaluate
various cropping alternatives based on cost and return expectations.
Users can take into account input costs for alternative crops, expected
market prices and crop rotation needs.

"This model will allow for analysis of returns both in absolute dollars
and with percentage return on investment," Lange said. "Eventually, the
model will allow the subdivision of farms based on different soil types,
production costs and other factors."

The network, which is supported by grants to The Cotton Foundation from
Zeneca Ag Products and the New York Cotton Exchange, also will include a
calendar of key meetings and events which bear on risk management.

Breeders putting seed in Mexican soil

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MEMPHIS - As cotton producers hustle to get their crop harvested,
America's public and private cotton breeders are scurrying to get their
seed planted across the border.

By utilizing a small, half-century old facility in Mexico, these
breeders are speeding the development of improved cotton varieties and
increasing U.S. cotton producers' competitiveness in the world

Jointly sponsored through an agreement of the National Cotton Council
and USDA's Agricultural Research Service, the Cotton Breeding Nursery
was established as a way to accelerate the research timetable for these
prize U.S. cotton varieties. Experimental seed produced in the U.S. this
season can be shipped to the eight-acre nursery where a sub-tropical
climate allows it to be reproduced, harvested and ready for planting in
the U.S. in the spring of 1997.

Created in 1950, the nursery is located in Tecoman, a tiny community
near the Pacific coastal town of Manzanillo. The Mexican government
provides tillage, irrigation and land. The Council provides billing and
other administration, including the services of Wes Malloy, the station
director. Cotton Incorporated and the USDA-ARS cotton program at College
Station are providing financial support over and above fees collected
from breeders.

Dr. Andrew Jordan, the Council's Technical Services Director, says that
while the Tecoman nursery is no secret, many U.S. cotton industry
members may not appreciate the facility's significant role of furthering
the development of higher yielding and higher quality cotton.

"By having two growing seasons to develop the seed, the time to get
these improved varieties into commercial production is cut in half," he
said. "Almost every commercial cotton variety now used in the U.S. has
spent some time in development at this station."

Jordan said breeders are being encouraged to use the nursery in order
to keep it a self-sustaining operation. Users are charged a fee for the
type of service they want. Most services are either: 1) selfing, a
process to prevent the cotton blossom from being cross pollinated; 2)
hybridization, whereby pollen is transferred among plants; and 3) open
pollination or simply planting the cotton for seed reproduction.

Although seed increase during the early stages of varietal development
is the nursery's main objective, the tropical climate allows breeders to
produce seed from wild or experimental cottons that normally would not
flower in U.S. fields during the summer months.

"This germplasm enhancement is very valuable because there may only be
one remaining species of some wild cottons, many of which are found in
the Mexican jungles," Jordan said. "Some of these exotic strains are
more resistant to insects, disease and drouth than U.S. commercial
varieties. By introducing these exotic strains to higher-yielding
commercial varieties, new varieties with highly desirable traits can be
bred for U.S. cotton producers."

New process turns corn to clothing or paints

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ARGONNE, Ill. - Researchers from four Department of Energy
laboratories, including Argonne National Laboratory, have developed a
new process to convert corn into a cost-efficient source of chemicals.

The chemicals produced will be incorporated into polymers and solvents
for use in clothing, fibers, paints, inks, food additives, and an array
of other industrial and consumer products.

Argonne, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have signed a $7
million agreement with Applied CarboChemicals, a Pennsylvania specialty
chemicals company, to develop and commercialize the process.

This project is unique in that it involves the coordinated efforts of
researchers at four DOE facilities and Applied CarboChemicals. Each DOE
laboratory made significant contributions to the research effort.
Argonne scientists improved the microbe and the separation process; NREL
scientists analyzed the economics of the process; Pacific Northwest
scientists established new chemical catalysts for converting succinic
acid to commodity chemicals, and ORNL scientists led the development of
an efficient fermentation protocol.

The research is part of DOE's Alternative Feedstocks program, which
seeks to create new links between the agricultural community and the
chemicals industry through support of research and development that uses
crops to produce chemicals.

Potential economic benefits of this and other Alternative Feedstock
program efforts include expansion of markets for corn and other domestic
renewable feedstocks, improved job security in agricultural and related
industries, and significant energy savings. Analyses indicate that a
single combined biological/chemical plant could save the energy
equivalent to that required to heat 80,000 single-family homes for a
year, conserving valuable petroleum resources.

The research is funded by DOE's Office of Industrial Technology,
Alternative Feedstocks program. Funding is also provided through the
cooperative research and development agreement with Applied

The new process promises to reduce reliance on imported oil and to
expand markets for domestic agriculture. Other advantages include
significantly lower costs and reduced waste generation. Developed
jointly by the four laboratories, the new process first makes succinic
acid by fermenting glucose sugar from corn, then separates and purifies
the acid, and finally converts it chemically into 1,2-butanediol,
tetrahydrofuran, N-methyl pyrrolidone and other chemicals used to make a
wide assortment of products. Existing domestic markets for such
chemicals total almost one billion pounds of materials per year at a
value of more than $1.3 billion.

The process has been licensed to Applied CarboChemicals, whose
president, Eric O'Connor-Donsky, worked closely with the DOE labs. "We
are committed," O'Connor-Donsky said, "to the transfer of the technology
to commercial operations; and this project could serve as a model for
government-industry cooperation to achieve immediately viable results."

At Argonne, Mark Donnelly and his colleagues have applied genetic
techniques to create a new organism, a mutant of a bacterium that
normally produces only small amounts of succinic acid. The mutant
produces greater amounts of the acid, and Argonne scientist Shih-Perng
Tsai and his group have established an efficient process for purifying
the acid from the mixture of materials found in fermentation broths.
Argonne has filed for a patent on this new microbe and has already
established proprietary position for the separation process.

With more than 200 research projects and an annual operating budget of
approximately $500 million, Argonne National Laboratory is one of the
largest federal research facilities in the country. Argonne is operated
by the University of Chicago as a part of the U.S. Department of
Energy's National Laboratory System.

This and other news about Argonne is available on the Internet's World
Wide Web at http:/www/anl/gov/OPA/newsmenu.html. Argonne's WWW Home Page
is at

Improved production on Plains

offsets drought effect elsewhere

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AUSTIN - As harvest neared completion Texas production prospects on the
Plains improved and offset some effects of the 1996 drought in other
parts of the state, according to the November 1 production forecast of
spring-planted crops released by the Texas Agricultural Statistics

The 1996 Texas Upland cotton crop is expected to total 4.05 million
bales, up 200,000 bales from October 1, but 9 percent below 1995.
Harvested acreage is estimated at 3.9 million acres, 32 percent less
than last year and 200,000 less than forecast last month as the earlier
drought caused poor stands and resulted in greater than normal
abandonment. The yield is expected to average 498 pounds per acre,
compared with 372 pounds last year.

Corn production is forecast at 183.6 million bushels, down 15 percent
from last year and 23 percent below the record set in 1994. Based on
November 1 condition, statewide yield is expected to average 102 bushels
per acre, 12 bushels less than in 1995, but up 7 bushels from October 1

Texas peanut production is expected to increase 7 percent from last
year, to 577.5 million pounds. Statewide yield, at 2,100 pounds per
acre, is up 100 pounds from last year and 50 pounds from last month.
Irrigated peanuts have made good progress across the state this year,
and late summer rainfall benefited dryland peanuts. Peanut harvest is

Sorghum production is forecast at 107.0 million hundredweight (cwt), 47
percent above last year and unchanged from last month. Harvested acreage
is estimated at 3.90 million acres, up 63 percent from 1995, as sorghum
replaced some lost cotton acreage. Yield, at 2,744 pounds per acre, is
expected to be 280 pounds below last year.

Rice producers expect to harvest 17.88 million cwt, practically the
same as last year. Yield is forecast at 6,000 pounds per acre, 400
pounds more than a year ago.

The 1996 Texas soybean crop is forecast at 8.10 million bushels, up 35
percent from last year's production. Harvested acreage is expected to
increase by 13 percent, and yield is expected to average 30 bushels per
acre, compared with 25 last year.

United States corn production, at 9.27 billion bushels, is up 26
percent from last year's crop. A yield of 126.5 bushels per acre is
forecast, up 13.0 bushels from last year. The sorghum crop is expected
to increase 78 percent, to 459.5 million cwt. The U.S. Upland cotton
crop is expected to total 18.0 million bales, up 3 percent from last
year. Soybean production is forecast at 2.40 billion bushels, 10 percent
above last year. The U.S. peanut crop is estimated at 3.50 billion
pounds, 1 percent above a year ago-U.S. rice production is forecast at
174.0 million cwt, practically the same as 1995.

Foreign ownership increases

but still small land percentage

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Foreign persons owned 15.1 million acres of U.S. agricultural land
(forest land and farmland) as of December 31, 1995. This is 900,000
acres more than the previous year, but still only slightly more than 1
percent of all privately held agricultural land in the United States.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Agricultural Land Through Dec. 31, 1995, a
new report from USDA's Economic Research Service, includes these and
other findings, based on information submitted in compliance with the
Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978.

Forest land accounted for nearly 50 percent of all foreign-owned
acreage, cropland for 16 percent, pasture and other agricultural land
for 31 percent, and nonagricultural land for 3 percent. Corporations
owned 72 percent of the acreage, partnerships 20 percent, and
individuals 6 percent. The remaining 2 percent was held by estates,
trusts, institutions, associations, and others.

U.S. corporations in which foreign persons have a significant interest
or substantial control owned 56 percent of the foreign-held acreage.
More than 60 percent of the foreign-held acreage was owned by persons
from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands
Antilles, and the British Virgin Islands. Persons from Japan accounted
for only 3 percent of the foreign-owned acres.

A number of tracts of land are owned only in part by foreign investors.
When the 15.1-million-acre total is adjusted for these partial
interests, the total foreign-owned acreage drops to the equivalent of
13.8 million acres.

Maine has more acres owned by foreign persons than any other State.
Four companies own 91 percent of the foreign-held acres in Maine, almost
all in forest land.

Two of these companies are Canadian, one French, and the other a U.S.
corporation that is partially Canadian owned. Foreign holdings in Maine
account for 16 percent of Maine's privately owned agricultural land and
one-fifth of all U.S. foreign-owned agricultural land.

Except for Maine, the foreign holdings are concentrated in the West and
South, with 34 and 32 percent, respectively, of the national total.

Foreign owners apparently are not taking purchased agricultural land
out of production, as no change in intended use was reported for 94
percent of the acres.

Foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land has remained relatively
steady since 1981, slightly above or below 1 percent of all privately
owned agricultural land in the United States.

Trends in foreign ownership of agricultural land by type of use,
1981-95 Million acres

By C.W. Roberts

Soil test tells fertilizer need

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The drought of 1996 had major economic impacts on the agricultural
industry. Current estimates indicate that livestock and crop losses have
amounted to over $2.1 billion. As a result, it is important that
agricultural producers identify methods for reducing production inputs
for fall and winter crops this year, and for spring crops next season.
One place to look for savings is in the soil. In cases where
fertilizers were applied in the spring or even late last winter, little
rainfall was received and crops did not make, many of the plant
nutrients are still in the soil. The best method for estimating
fertilizer carryover is soil testing. A soil test is a chemical analysis
of the soil which determines whether levels of essential plant nutrients
are sufficient to produce a desired yield.

When not taken up by a crop, some nutrients, particularly nitrogen, can
be lost from the soil by leaching or volatilization. Others, like
phosphorus, can react with the soil over time to form compounds which
are not available for uptake by plants. Soil testing can be used to
estimate how much loss has occurred and predict what types and amounts
of nutrients should be added to produce a particular crop and yield.
Fertilizer savings could range from a few dollars per acre to more than
$20 per acre.

For operations where fall and winter fertilizer applications are
practiced, now is an excellent time to obtain a soil test. It is
generally recommended that one "composite" soil sample be collected from
each uniform area (field or part of a field) of 10 to 40 acres. A
composite sample is obtained by combining 10 to 15 individual soil cores
taken randomly across each uniform area. The 10 cores are placed in a
clean plastic bucket, thoroughly mixed and then about one pint is sent
to the laboratory.

Individual soil cores can be taken using a regular spade, soil auger or
soil sampling tube. First, scrape any plant litter from the surface. On
heavy, clayey cropland soils, also remove the upper 1-2 inches of soil
material. Make the core or boring 6 inches deep. When using a spade, dig
a V-shaped hole and take a 1-inch slice from the smooth side of the
hole. Then take a 1x1-inch core from the center of the shovel slice.

By collecting 10 to 15 individual cores across the area, one can ensure
that the soil test results will be representative of the site which has
been sampled and that fertilizer recommendations will be appropriate.
Complete sampling instructions and sample bags can be obtained from your
local Reeves County Extension Office, 700 Daggett-Suite E, Pecos,

Soil tests can be obtained from the Texas Agricultural Extension
Service Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory in College Station, or
from various private laboratories across the state. Costs range from
about $10 up, depending on the laboratory and type of test requested.
Contact your local County Extension Agent for more information.

EDITOR'S NOTE: C.W. Roberts is county extension agent for agriculture in
Reeves and Loving counties. He writes a guest column each month for
Living off the land.

Seminar to focus

on electronic flow

measurement system

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A free seminar focusing on trends and developments in electronic flow
measurement systems is offered in Midland and Odessa for people who work
in the oil, gas and process industries.

The information-based seminars have been developed specifically for
those who are making the transition to EFM and want to maximize its use.

Dec. 11 is the date for the Midland seminar, set for the Holiday Inn
Country Villa, 4300 W. Highway 80.

The Radisson Hotel at 5200 E. University in Odessa will host the Dec.
12 seminar. Both begin at 9 a.m. a complimentary continental breakfast
is available at 8:30 a.m.

To attend the free seminars, contact ITT Barton at 800-522-7866 or
register on the internet at or via fax-on-demand by
calling 800-408-2168 for document #110.

Drilling permits up over '95

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The Texas Railroad Commission issued a total of 1,216 original drilling
permits in October compared to 988 in October, 1995. The October total
included 919 permits to drill new oil and gas wells, 43 to re-enter
existing well bores, and 254 for re-completions.

So far in 1996, there have been 10,554 drilling permits issued compared
to 9,436 recorded durhng the same period in 1995.

Permits issued in October included 548 oil, 261 gas, 372 oil and gas,
24 injection, and 11 other permits.

In October operators reported 363 oil, 382 gas, 27 injection and three
other completions, compared to 511 oil, 361 gas, and 44 injection and
other completions during the same month of last year.

Total well completions for 1996 year-to-date is 7,297, up from 7,124
recorded during the same period in 1995.

Operators reported 943 holes plugged and 181 dry holes in October,
compared to 871 holes plugged and 131 dry holes reported the same period
last year.

Texas preliminary August, 1996 crude oil production averaged 1,306,174
barrels daily, down from the 1,350,420 barrels daily average of August,

The preliminary Texas crude oil production figure for August, 1996 is
40,491,403 barrels, a decrease from the 41,863,025 barrels reported
during August, 1995.


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Texas oil and gas wells produced 472,009,479 Mcf (thousand cubic feet)
of gas based upon preliminary production figures for August, 1996, up
from the August, 1995 preliminary gas production total of 462,066,523

Texas gas production in August came from 164,552 oil, and 49,640 gas

Tax relief report sent to governor

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The president of Texas' largest farm organization is satisfied with the
now completed work of Governor George Bush's "Citizens' Committee on
Property Tax Relief."

The committee completed its work Friday, voting 19-0 to present the
completed report to the Governor. Several ex-officio members of the
committee voted under the rules. The committee has 17 members.

Bob Stallman, president of the Texas Farm Bureau, and a member of the
Governor's committee, said, "I think it's a very fair representation of
what the committee heard across the state and it reiterates Texas Farm
Bureau's own position that it's time for property tax relief."

The committee, chaired by Texas Insurance Commissioner Elton Bomer,
voted to deliver a 23-page document to the Governor that said, in part,
"...the Citizens' Committee on Property Tax Relief can unequivocally
state that substantial public sentiment exists for school property tax

This essentially answered Bush's charge to the committee.

The document also stated, "Based on the information we have received
and evaluated, the Citizens' Committee on Property Tax Relief finds that
the current high level of school property taxes both hampers capital
investment in Texas and hampers the ability of Texans to buy and keep
their OWTI homes."

Women in Agriculture program

aid for wives and ranch owners

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The Women in Agriculture: Business Management Program was developed for
farm and ranch wives working on or off the farm, as well as women who
run their own farm and ranch business.

Its focus is on helping participants gain insights into and a broader
understanding of the business management issues involved in running a
farm or ranch operation.

A few of the topics covered include Income Tax Management, Personnel
Management, Estate Planning, Business Transfer Issues, Commodity
Marketing, and Agricultural Policy.

The program is divided into three Units, each involving two full days
of instruction. Units are designed to be taken in successive years.

Programs will be offered in two locations: College Station on January
29-31, 1997 and in Lubbock on February 19-21, 1997. For more information
and a registration form, contact Danny Klinefelter or Tami Tesauro at
409/845-7171 or write to them at the Department of Agricultural
Economics, Texas A&M University, Blocker Building Room #458, College
Station, Texas 77843-2124.

Bureau tackles tax, illegal immigration

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WACO - Taxes, water issues, property rights, the farm program and
illegal immigration were just some of-the issues addressed by farmers
and ranchers across the state during the Texas Farm Bureau Resolutions
Committee meeting.

The 41-member Resolutions Committee discussed and reviewed several
hundred state and national resolutions submitted from county Farm
Bureaus across the state.

Bill Tullos, TFB vice president and chairman of the committee, said
property taxes to fund public education were a major concern during the

"Taxes are still a big thing. Our people are concerned about taxes and
have seemed to indicate that we should have a change," said Tullos.
"Although they made no specific recommendations, they are saying that
change is needed."

TFB President Bob Stallman of Columbus, a member of the 16-member
Citizens' Committee on Tax Relief appointed by Gov. George W. Bush, has
led an effort to inform Farm Bureau members and get their input
regarding options under consideration by the Governor.

This past year's drought prompted a number of proposed resolutions
addressing water rights. "We probably haven't found a common solution to
water problems, but there are a lot of things to be considered," Tullos
said. "Inter-basin transfers are a big concern to a lot of our people,
and people that are low in water certainly need some water from

Discussion also focused on concerns about immigration and what can be
done to curtail the influx of illegal immigrants.

Head for stock show and rodeo

in San Antonio next February

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San Antonio - Grab your boots and hat and head on over to the 48th
Annual San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, February 1-16, 1997.

More than 800,000 visitors are expected for south Texas' single largest
event. Each of this year's 20 power-packed performances features the
finest entertainment in the Lone Star state with star-studded county,
tejano and rock and roll artists. The star-studded lineup will be
announced on Dec. 6. Tickets will go on sale Dec. 14, and are available
from the Freeman Coliseum ticket office or any Ticketmaster location.

The 16-day extravaganza offers fun for the entire family including wild
carnival rides, educational exhibits and an array of delectable treats
served from stands, restaurants and food courts. The Family Fair area
has something for everyone from petting zoos to a German Biergarten.

All ages will enjoy the hands-on learning centers in the Sheep, Swine,
Dairy Cattle and Beef Cattle Barns. Both the Arts and Crafts Hall and
the Rodeo Gift and Home Show are packed with the finest handicrafts apd
home arts available to delight shoppers.

Young people from all over the Lone Star state come to compete in thc
largest Junior Livestock Show in America. All exhibitors are hopeful
that the judge will give their animal a nod of approval and the title of
Grand Champion. Horse enthusiasts will marvel at the many equine events
and shows.

To date the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has given more than $7.2
million to Bexar county and Texas youth in the form of endowments,
grants and scholarships.

For more information write: San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, P.O. Box
200230, San Antonio, TX 78220-0230 or call: (210) 225-5851, (210)
2250612 orfax: (210) 226-6864.

Wrinkle resistant sheets covered

in home furnishings trade paper

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Home Furnishings Network, a leading trade paper for the home
furnishings industry, carried an excellent article in their September 30
issue detailing the increase in consumer demand for 100 percent cotton,
wrinkle-resistant sheets.

Stemming from consumer demand for natural fibers and easy-care
features, the sheets have begun to take market share from once-popular
cotton-polyester blend sheets.
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not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or
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transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages
arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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