Category Archives: Agriculture

Farmers Market Reinvents the Wheel

Onions, vegetables and fruits are bagged for pickup and delivery from Rancho Viejo Farmers Market. (Courtesy)

One day, Bonnie Emerson was getting ready to stage another weekend Rancho Viejo Farmers Market – and then the world changed.  The threat of the coronavirus led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to issue an executive order on March 19 that limited public gatherings and eventually led to the closing of many businesses. The Rancho Viejo Farmers Market of March 21-22 saw an abrupt cancellation with no roadmap of what to…

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Harlingen Farm Grows Green Sensibilities 

Diana Padilla looks over rows of organically grown crops at her farm in Harlingen.

Diana Padilla describes it as seeing a piece of land and knowing it’s where she wanted to be. The Chicago native and retired federal government employee chanced upon the farmland near the corner of Rangerville and Morris roads in Harlingen and had a good feel for it. She and her husband Saul purchased a 15-acre plot, including the old farmhouse where they live, and then began farming. It was 2004…

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Saddle Up for the RGV Livestock Show

A judge looks over a cattle display entry at the RGV Livestock Show. (Courtesy RGV LIvestock Show)

The 81st annual Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show kicks off on March 12 and will run through 11 event-filled days of exhibits, rodeos, carnivals and live music. It’s the largest show of its type south of San Antonio. The livestock show, as always, takes place at the livestock show grounds in Mercedes. The Valley iconic event has a reputation for its entertainment and fun times but at its heart is…

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UTRGV Professors Creating a Buzz

Joanne Rampersad-Ammons and Dongchul Kim are collaborating across disciplines to study the honeybee population in South Texas. (photo Paul Chouy, UTRGV)

Research by two UTRGV professors is monitoring the critical honeybee population in South Texas via tiny cameras placed on their hives. The research by Dongchul Kim and Joanne Rampersad-Ammons is receiving funding from a federal research grant from the USDA. Kim is an assistant professor of computer science and principal investigator on the project. Rampersad-Ammons is co-PI and professor in the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences. “Applying Computer Vision…

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McAllen to Host 2020 National Farmworker Conference

National Farmworker Conference

The City of McAllen and MAFO leaders will host the National Farmworker Conference on April 26-29, 2020 in McAllen. More than 400 delegates from around the state and nation will to convene in McAllen for the conference. “MAFO is a national partnership of farmworker and rural organizations and we are grateful for the partnership with the City of McAllen and excited about the opportunity to host our conference in McAllen,”…

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Coming Together to Build the Reef

Red snapper swimming in the artificial reef. (Courtesy)

Gary Glick, president of the nonprofit group Friends of RGV Reef, said recreational red snapper fishing generates several times the economic force of commercial red snapper fishing. People who come to fish also spend money on food and lodging, gas, tackle, charter trips, etc. Glick estimates that Friends of RGV Reef has spent about $400,000 on deploying reef material so far. The group has managed to do it for roughly…

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This Rancher Understands Marketing

Carlos X. Guerra of La Muneca Cattle Co. spends more than half of his time promoting his products. (photo Anita Westervelt)

Carlos X. Guerra of La Muneca Cattle Company looks like your average rancher. But he’s not. He devotes fully half his time to marketing: promoting purebred cattle. These are the registered Polled Brahman and Simbrah his family raises to sell seed stock (live cattle, semen and embryos). “Two thirds of promotion is motion. No matter what business you are in, you must be visible,” says Guerra. His mantra of “No…

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Building Fish Habitats

Concrete ties at the site of the reef. (Courtesy)

For the past five years, the local non-profit Friends of the RGV Reef has been working to restore and build up the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. They wanted to ensure that there was a habitat to create a thriving population of fish in the area. Due to the efforts, Friends of RGV Reef was named a 2019 Conservation Wrangler by the Texan by Nature conservation. The honor acknowledges…

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Wind Farms Empower Communities

A turbine from a wind farm near Bayview.

Willacy County has a reputation as a farming region of the state. Thousands of acres of land contain sugarcane and sorghum, cotton, corn and sesame seeds. One can drive for miles and miles and see nothing but fields covered with crops during the growing season. But in the last 10 years, one thing has drastically been changing the rural landscape in Willacy and parts of Cameron County. It is the proliferation…

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