Category Archives: Agriculture

Valley Cheese Finds New Markets

Adam Thompson socializes with some of his goats and one of the family dogs.

After placing in the top 25 out of 400 entries in the H-E-B grocery store chain’s Quest for Texas Best competition, the pace of business at Thompson Dairy Farms has picked up dramatically. And, with a little luck, the farm’s goat cheese may next find a global market. Owner and head cheese maker Adam Thompson began marketing hand-crafted aged cheeses from goat’s milk at Rio Grande Valley farmers markets, where…

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Pharr Celebrates New Avocado Distribution Facility

Index Fresh Board Chairman John Grether and President and CEO Dana Thomas (holding scissors) prepare to cut the ribbon on the company’s 60,000-square-foot avocado packing and ripening facility in Pharr.

Officials break ground for Index Fresh Latin American avocados headed for tables in the United States have a new place along the border to stay cool and ripen. Index Fresh cut the ribbon on a new 60,000-square-foot packing and ripening facility in Pharr on Jan. 9. “I am just overjoyed to be here today,” Index Fresh President and CEO Dana Thomas said. “I love the new plant. If you are…

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Business Buzz: A Man and His Bees

Bee Strong Honey owner Luis Slayton with a bee hive.

Not only are honey bees important pollinators and producers of one of nature’s great sweeteners, they can also be therapeutic, at least for people like beekeeper and Bee Strong Honey owner Luis Slayton. “When I go out and work with the bees it’s like the rest of the world slows down,” he said. “Everything seems so calm to me.” Bee Strong Honey is a family business owned and operated by…

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Bountiful Harvest Predicted for Citrus

Citrus cover

Rio Grande Valley citrus groves and packing houses are buzzing with activity as this year’s harvest season kicks into high gear for what is predicted to a bountiful yield that could pump as much as $200 million into the local economy. “I think we are shaping up to have a really good year,” said Dale Murden, president of Texas Citrus Mutual. “Our estimates are above last year. The crop is…

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RGV Farmers Increase Cotton Acreage

Rows of cotton wait to be processed at the RGV Gin Company at the Port of Harlingen.

A 52-percent increase in cotton acreage in the Rio Grande Valley this year has paid off for farmers. But, as is typical in the tough business of farming, some growers did better than others. “The crop has been harvested now,” Hidalgo County AgriLife Extension Agent Brad Cowen said. “Yields are kind of scattered this year. It was a really good year for some and not so good for others.” Valley…

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Harlingen Farmers Market Expands in New Location

Workers put the finishing touches on a shade structure at the new location for the Harlingen Farmers Market.

Market reopens in two days Workers are racing to complete a shade structure before Saturday’s reopening of the Harlingen Farmers Market at its new location at First Street and Tyler Avenue next to City Hall. “We will have shade for 20 vendors,” market manager Kate McSwain said. “We have 32 vendors lined up right now. That’s a big increase over last year. I’m very excited.” The market will be open…

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For the Love of Animals

Owner Leroy Moreno with one of his personal pets, an albino Burmese python. (VBR)

Moreno’s adapts to modern pet ownership A love of animals and their care keeps Leroy Moreno coming to work every morning with a smile on his face. The enthusiasm he has for his business, Moreno’s Feed and Pet Store in Weslaco, is contagious as he talks about his passion for animal husbandry. One of six children growing up on a farm north of Donna, Moreno remembers his father, Gus Moreno,…

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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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