Category Archives: Agriculture

The Business of Bees

Dr. Joanne Rampersad-Ammons with bee hives during a summer fellowship to study issues concerning honey bee health. (photo UTRGV)

UTRGV associate professor works to preserve honey bees Honey bees play an vital role in the agricultural economy of South Texas and a Rio Grande Valley professor has embarked on research that could help combat losses of these important pollinators. Dr. Joanne Rampersad-Ammons, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, spent time this summer studying apiculture (bee keeping) and issues affecting honey bee health, thanks…

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This Week is National Farmers Market Week

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signing a proclamation.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Proclaims National Farmers Market Week U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed Aug. 6-12 to be National Farmers Market Week. This is the 18th year the USDA has supported local producers by encouraging families to meet, and buy from, the farmers and other vendors at their local farmers market. Farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute approximately $9 billion each year to the…

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Economic Boost from Under the Sea

UTRGV researchers are building one of the biggest artificial “low-profile” reefs in the Gulf of Mexico off the South Texas coast. (UTRGV photo by Veronica Gaona)

Man-made RGV Reef impacts local environment and economy Red snapper is one of the important commercial fish along the lower Texas Gulf Coast and researchers are building an artificial reef to help maintain and grow habitat for that popular fish and other species. In 2015 red snapper hauls totaled more than 2.2 million pounds, according to the Texas Almanac. That catch was worth more than $9.4 million. Researchers from UTRGV’s…

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Young Entrepreneurs Explore Smart-Farming 

Students perform repairs and modifications on a robot during the UTRGV Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center summer camp in June.

Camp combines farming and business The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s McAllen Teaching Site was crowded with eager IDEA high school students waiting to showcase their smart-farming robots, whose yield ultimately would determine the fate of their newly founded small businesses. Students cheered as the robots they had built collected simulated crops and piglets. The university’s Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) this summer hosted its sixth annual summer camp for IDEA…

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You say pitaya. I say dragon fruit  

Pitaya Farms growing in Raymondville Exotic in looks and name, dragon fruit is grown on structures similar to those found in vineyards. Chuck Taylor, owner of  Pitaya Farms of Texas LLC, west of Raymondville, said dragon fruit is actually the domesticated version of the pitaya, a native cactus which originated in Mexico and central America and was transported to Asia, where it acquired the dragon fruit label. Pitaya Farms harvested…

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