As part of the Beef Short Course report I want to share portion of the information given during the course that I got a chance to participate. An important topic that always gets my attention is regulatory issues affecting trade. As you know, is not any good to produce cattle if you cannot sell it. Regulatory issue can affect trading capacity of our beef industry, so it is important to be aware of those potential issues affecting trade. Texas has, for several decades, traded cattle with Mexico. Because history tends to get forgotten and distorted by the years, I want to share with you today few key points provided by presenters related to the Cattle Fever Tick Campaign in South Texas. For us in Hopkins County, is very good to raise quality cattle without fever ticks. Because we do not have cattle fever ticks, our cattle can be sold anywhere in the US. These market characteristic allow us to gain new markets and place product when market fluctuations are stronger in other states or regions. We, as an industry, enjoy this characteristic: being able to place our cattle to the best buyer, anywhere. One of the most important issues affecting trade was the cattle fever ticks. A portion of Texas (mainly Mexican border counties) deal with fever ticks even now. The fever ticks get into Texas by non-intentional importations of cattle and wildlife, and more specific, wild ungulates. Among the main concerns now, according to the presenter are stray cattle, wild tailed deer and nilgai antelope. Stray cattle coming for the south gets thru the dry regions of Texas walking. Tick riders (an special enforcement element of the TAHC) maintains regions inspected for cattle roaming free in the area. If founded, cattle gets impounded and searched for ticks. Tick raiders are the “vigilantes” of the border on horses. Wild tail deer migrates thru Mexico and Texas as far as the range goes. Because deer are relatively small and groom themselves often, the chances of carrying ticks are small, but existing. There is however, another wild ungulate in south Texas that causes more concerns now: nilgai antelope. According to the veterinary authorities, there are several thousand of these animals moving back and forward from Mexico into Texas. Nilgai antelopes are big, almost the size of a cow, fast and do not respect fences very much. According to the presenter, nilgai antelopes can carry fever ticks. There is a herd of nilgai around the Brownsville area that causes serious concerns to health authorities. According to the report, efforts to reduce the chance of non-intentional introduction of fever tick by wildlife will be implemented and will be a priority for the agencies involved in the next future. For our beef producers in North East Texas, it is good news to know that the risk of cattle fever ticks is currently managed, and steps to counteract other risk factors are also on the way. For more information on this or any other agricultural topic contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].
Coming Up: Pesticide Applicators Training scheduled for September 17 2014 at the Hopkins County Extension Office. Cost $25 lunch included. Training start at 10:00 AM. This is a 4 hr training for new applicants of restricted pesticides. Applicants are encourage to register now by calling the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 and purchase study material ($ 40) in advance.
Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D.
Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR
1200B Houston Street
Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482