Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
As most of you know, the economic crisis has impacted the beef industry along with most agriculture commodities.
But later this week, South Korea's big retailers will resume U.S. beef sales. While this certainly will help the beef industry, it will have positive impacts on other agriculture commodities as well. Read more about the decision in the following news story:
South Korea's big retailers to resume US beef sales
SEOUL - Major South Korean retailers said Tuesday they would resume U.S. beef sales for the first time since mass protests against the imports rocked the country, citing the need for cheap food during hard times.
The Korea Chainstores Association said US beef would be back on shelves from Thursday at the top three discount stores -- Lotte Mart, E-Mart and Homeplus, which is owned by Britain's Tesco.
Click here to read full article
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. recently announced it will give Feeding America food banks an estimated 90 million pounds of food annually – the equivalent of 70 million meals. This means 19 food banks across Texas will receive thousands of pounds of food in 2009.
Additionally, food banks continue to receive $1 million annually through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texans Feeding Texans Grant Program. This same program will also provide much-needed assistance to Texas home-delivered meal providers who will receive $10 million in 2009 to pay for thousands of additional meals for homebound disabled and elderly Texans.
Ending hunger in Texas is something I’m committed to, and there’s no question these partnerships will benefit not only those in need, but ALL Texans. You, too, can help feed hungry Texans. Contribute to your favorite charity today or go on-line and find out how to give to the Texas Food Bank Network or to your local Meals on Wheels or home-delivered meal provider.
“Globalization in America” was the title of the conference presented by the Texas Council on Economic Education (TCEE). The conference gathered educators from across the Lone Star State and offered sessions on international opportunities for teachers, globalization, international markets for Texas products and Texas as the site for international companies.
Texas depends greatly on exports to a global market to keep our economy going. In the agriculture sector alone, Texas ranked fifth in the U.S. with an estimated $4.6 billion in sales to foreign markets in 2007. Overall, Texas exports of merchandise in 2007 totaled $168.2 billion, which was the largest figure among all 50 states.
With the world we live in becoming more interdependent every day, I am grateful to these dedicated teachers and TCEE for teaming up to go global.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Our state's population is expected to reach 45 million by 2060, almost doubling our current population and creating a major demand for water. According to the Texas Water Development Board, conservation efforts are critical to meet almost ¼ of our state’s water needs by 2060. To put it in perspective, that’s enough water to fill the Astrodome more than 800 times per year!
Fortunately, Texas has many partners who are not waiting for conservation efforts to just happen – they are leading the way. I was part of a press conference today at the Lower Colorado River Authority where Wal-Mart announced they are donating $250,000 to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to help fund a new watershed restoration initiative called Water for Texas. The program will help provide additional water for Texans.
Whether you’re planning your personal budget or one for business, plan on conserving water as a part of your daily routine. Water conservation should save you money in the long run and help ensure our state continues to have an abundant water supply in the future. To find out more about conserving water, visit http://www.wateriq.org/ or http://www.epa.gov/ and search for “how to conserve water.”
Monday, November 17, 2008
Texas Citrus Mutual (TCM) observed its 50th Anniversary this weekend at the Shary Mansion in Mission, Texas. Shary Mansion is owned by UT-Pan American University and was the perfect setting to celebrate the contributions of TCM and the tremendous advancements in the citrus industry, which contributes $150 million annually to the Texas economy.
Not that Texans like to brag, but nationwide Texas ranks second in grapefruit and third in orange production. You should contact Ray Prewett and our friends at TCM at (956) 584-1772 to find out how to obtain a very attractive coffee table pictorial history book that was published to commemorate this truly special occasion.
While traveling back to Austin from Mission, I stopped to see Stanley and Holly Schilling at the Schilling Ranch near George West. The Schillings represent what is good about Texas agriculture. Their operations cover a broad spectrum of agriculture, including corn and grain production along with experimental crops such as sesame, canola and luceana. Forages, commercial cattle and an embryo transfer business also are on site.
The Schillings understand the need to diversify for profitability and survival as our agriculture industry changes. They’ve even included recreation and nature tourism into the mix. At Schilling Ranch, you will find a well-managed wildlife setting where deer, turkey, quail and javelina roam. Of course, you also can find wild hogs.
If you haven’t experienced the diversity of Texas agriculture lately, the fall hunting season is the perfect time to explore and enjoy.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I was honored to greet our out-of-state and international guests and welcome them to Texas on behalf of our 24 million citizens.
It was easy to say great things about our dynamic cotton industry. Texas cotton producers generate more than a third of the nation’s cotton and provide seven percent of the world’s cotton supply. This enormous contribution results in billions of dollars to the Texas economy and thousands of jobs across the Lone Star State. In fact, our cotton producers grew enough cotton last year to make 1.7 billion pairs of blue jeans. Pretty cool, huh?
Tailgating outside the Stephen F. Austin Building under a beautiful Texas sky, TDA employees enjoyed flavorful sausage wraps and smoky baked beans cooked by our own master pit tenders, Doyle Fuchs, Jeremy Fuchs, Randy Rivera and Robin Roark.
As much as it is my great pleasure to work side-by-side with these talented people as we tend to the business of TDA, it likewise was great fun to serve a down-home employee appreciation luncheon for the TDA team that works tirelessly throughout the year to provide excellent consumer service.
Tailgating and teamwork are two winning Texas traditions, and I am proud to uphold them both.
At the Texas Department of Agriculture, we are using every possible resource to promote the 3Es of Healthy Living – education, exercise and eating right. In our schools, we are working with cafeteria staff to take on the enormous task of providing healthy, nutritious meals to millions of schoolchildren every day. Our team is also working hard to educate our kids about the importance of exercising and making smart eating choices.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of spending an hour with the world famous Dr. Kenneth Cooper when he invited me to tour the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Dr. Cooper is known as the “Father of Aerobics,” and his work has influenced companies and citizens from across the globe.
Dr. Cooper shared with me invaluable information that I intend to use to wage war on obesity in Texas. I am most grateful to Dr. Cooper and Dr. Charles Sterling for their insight, time and ongoing dedication to Texans, especially our schoolchildren. Through partnerships like these, we can combat illness and obesity while bettering the lives of future generations.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Your voice does count. Elected leaders do listen when you show your preference at the polls. Study up on the issues. Look at the history of the candidates. Find out what they've done and what the long-term consequences of their policies will be.
Regardless of your affiliation, label, political persuasion or background, your vote counts just as much as the most influential person in America, because that is exactly who you are. Don't miss this important opportunity to be heard!
Voting is not only a right, it's a duty. So be sure to vote!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
UTT, with campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine, is doing an excellent job reaching out to students with a positive message of "You Can!" Too many times society, personal influences or circumstances send a "You Can't" message to our children. But because of their generous donations and forward thinking, this group of Texans is proclaiming boldly and clearly to this and future generations, "You Can!"
Now, that is the Texas way!