Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Muleshoe to Star on National Network

Guest Blogger, Rick Rhodes, Assistant Commissioner of Rural Economic Development

Besides having immediate name recognition, the city of Muleshoe, Texas, also has promoted itself as a tourism destination through the Texas Department of Agriculture's GO TEXAN Rural Community Program.

Last June, the Food Network visited Muleshoe to film an "Ace of Cakes" episode called "Slow Mules and Fast Cars." Chef Duff Goldman and his crew experienced true Texas hospitality as they enjoyed a potluck dinner, complete with savory Texas brisket and homemade ice cream. The bakers even got to ride authentic Muleshoe mules.

More than 200 people, including TDA Rural Economic Development staff, eagerly awaited the Muleshoe-themed cake made by Chef Duff and his crew. The cake was in the shape of a mule-riding hat (6” brim) - not to be confused with a cowboy hat - sitting on top of two mule shoes. Christian, the mule ridden by Chef Duff, even sampled some cake.

The episode will air Thursday, Sept. 30, at 9 p.m. CST on the Food Network. The national exposure for the city of Muleshoe is another step city leaders are taking to promote Muleshoe and its quality of life. The city also is currently working on its GO TEXAN Certified Retirement Community application, which helps Texas communities market themselves as tourism and retirement destinations.

I applaud the leaders of Muleshoe for taking steps get the city's name out there.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Free Pesticide Waste Disposal

Guest Blogger: Jimmy Bush, Texas Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner for Pesticide Programs

In an effort to help agricultural producers properly dispose of pesticides, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has scheduled free collection events during September and October.

TCEQ will accept old pesticides, including those that are now banned for use. They will also accept other chemicals like petroleum fuels, automotive fluids, grease, oil filters and lead acid batteries.

Producers may bring two, 55-gallon drums of oil filters. If you have more than one pickup truck load of pesticide waste, contact TCEQ or your county extension agent to coordinate delivery.

I encourage all Texas ag producers to please take the time to properly dispose of waste materials. To find a complete schedule of pesticide waste disposal pick-ups, click here. For more information on upcoming collection events, including which pesticides will be accepted, visit TCEQ's website.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Food and Fiber Pavilion at State Fair of Texas is a Sight to See

Guest Blogger: Drew DeBerry, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner

This year marks the 39th year of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Food and Fiber Pavilion bringing Texas products to visitors at the State Fair of Texas.

If you're in Dallas Sept. 24 - Oct. 17, I encourage you stop by the Food and Fiber Pavilion, which is sponsored by Borden. You can find items from more than 100 GO TEXAN members who are selling the best of Texas foods, clothing, gifts, leather goods and cotton products.

The State Fair is a great Texas tradition that offers fun for the whole family. Live music, fair food, an auto show and livestock competitions are just some of the great attractions at the fair. Visit the State Fair of Texas website for a schedule of events, maps and other helpful information.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Go Out. Go Eat. GO TEXAN.

Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Hadley, Assistant Commissioner for Marketing and Promotions

Texas has a well-earned reputation for fantastic food and wine, which is why the GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up, presented by Farm Credit Sept. 27-Oct. 1, is such an exciting event. Not only does the weeklong, statewide dine-out event celebrate Texas restaurants, foods and wines, it also benefits local food banks, as many participating restaurants will donate a portion of proceeds to help feed hungry Texans.

Now in its third year, the Round-Up highlights Texas-grown and raised foods along with Texas wines. During the event, participating restaurants will offer food-and-wine pairings, fixed-price meals and other menu offerings featuring fresh, quality Texas ingredients. Round-Up also kicks off Texas Wine Month in October.

Make plans with your family and co-workers to enjoy a quality meal at a participating GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up establishment, Sept. 27-Oct. 1. To find a participating restaurant near you, visit the GO TEXAN website.

Remember: Go Out. Go Eat. GO TEXAN.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Help us Promote Texas!

We know Texas is a great state offering everything from wineries in the Hill Country to camping in Big Bend, and we want you to help us capture the attractions that make our state a shining star. The Texas Department of Agriculture is still accepting submissions for the "Texas Is…" amateur video competition.

Winning videos will be used in a promotional campaign to publicize the appeal of Texas and boost tourism. The videos may be used in TDA marketing materials, social media sites and on the TDA website.

You can submit your video online, via e-mail or by mail. But hurry, the deadline for contest entries is Oct. 31, 2010. For complete contest details and submission instructions, visit You can watch a video sample here:

Send us your video and help us brag about Texas.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Moment of Pause: Remembering 9/11

Guest blogger: Drew DeBerry, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture

Today is one of the darkest anniversaries in the history of our great nation. The shock of watching New York City’s Twin Towers fall at the hands of cowardly terrorists continues to weigh heavy on our hearts.

The nightmare is even more horrific for those families who lost loved ones at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

Nine years after 9/11, the fallout of hatred lingers as we watch religious intolerance unfold at Ground Zero, in Florida and in our neighborhoods. Understandably, the wounds remain deep and painful.

I ask all Americans and our friends around the world today to please take a moment to remember our fallen heroes, their families and the children who must grow up in a confusing, post-9/11 world.

Today, let’s harness humility instead of hatred. Let’s remember with uncluttered clarity. Let’s pray for a more peaceful world for our children.

God bless America, God bless our fallen and God bless our troops. We will never forget 9/11.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Spoken Like a True Texan

Guest Blogger: Drew DeBerry, Texas Deputy Agriculture Commissioner

Cotton farmers in West Texas are proud to call Roger Haldenby a friend. And it's no mystery as to why based on this article he released yesterday. Although Roger's accent is anything but West Texan, the Englishman's heart is clearly at home in the cotton fields of the South Plains. Rather than adding my own words to Roger's eloquently presented perspective, please take time to read it yourself. I hope it inspires some Texas pride under your cotton shirt like it did in me. GO TEXAN!