I would first like to thank all of our supporters of this year’s 13th annual meeting and fundraiser. Without you this year’s event would not have been the success that it was. I also appreciate all of you that completed the after event survey. The information that you provided will help improve and grow next year’s annual meeting and fundraiser and will also help grow this association!
Our event speakers shared timely and noteworthy information that will help you, our members, in your daily lives and will help you better understand the issues that affect us here in South Texas.
Other happenings in October had to do with Border Security and the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program.
On the afternoon of October 23rd four men dressed in black, on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River, fired upon two U.S. private contractors spraying Carrizo cane on the U.S. side near Roma. The airboat that was operated by the contractors sustained multiple bullet holes. It was reported that the men killed a Mexican policeman or Mexican soldier after the incident was reported to the Mexican authorities.
Authorities know that the Mexican Cartels use Carrizo cane for their smuggling operations in order to help prevent detection. It is one of the reasons that STPRA supports Carrizo cane eradication on the Rio Grande River. The high level investigation of the incident is ongoing. I will give you an update when more information is released.
Tommy Guerra, the STPRA fever tick subcommittee chairman, and I attended a cattle fever tick forum in Kingsville the end of last month. This was a follow up meeting from last year to update the working group on the progress that had been made since then.
The Omnibus monies that the working group advocated for and that the program received helped fund research projects at Texas A&M University College Station, A&M Kingsville, University of Texas in San Antonio and USDA Animal Research Services (ARS) at the Kerrville and Moore Field research facilities in Texas.
The projects included new treatments to be used in the field using the Bm86 vaccine with long acting eprinomectin and a 1% doramectin product, multi-source data collection to enhance predictive modeling for control of the tick. Projects concerning control and eradication on wildlife included a remote activated ultra-quiet field sprayer that contains nematodes, protein feeder acceptance by nilgai and white-tailed deer, feed-through and spray on treatments of insect growth regulators for wildlife and cattle and USDA ARS parasitic wasp research, among others.
The use of spray boxes was also addressed. The need for its use was confirmed until the other alternatives had been tested and proven. They also gave an update on a recent meeting with Mexican authorities on joint cooperation and recent efforts in that country.
I’d like to thank our members that met in Hidalgo with senior staffers for U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy and U.S. Senator John Cornyn to discuss how border security issues affect their lives and their livelihoods on the river and in the checkpoint counties. The meeting was productive and the staff members went away with reinforced knowledge of the landowner plight.
The members who attended were Miguel Augustin Peña and Richard Guerra from Starr County; Sonny Hinojosa and Fred Cappadona from Hidalgo County, Fausto Salinas from both those counties, and Stephanie and Presnall Cage from Brooks County. Their time and information was greatly appreciated and valued! Lastly, I would like to thank Othal Brand, Jr. for hosting the meeting at the Hidalgo Water District #3 building and for providing a catered dinner for all the attendees.
The eminent domain working group and subcommittee continues to make progress in preparation for the 2019 State legislative session beginning next January. It will be one of STPRA’s priority issues, as meaningful eminent domain reform is needed as the State of Texas continues its massive growth expansion.
I wish you all a happy hunting season!