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AALP Class 17 arrived at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and were greeted by Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, the leadership program director and professor of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Jim is also the director of Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership (TALL). Jim gave the group at brief history of Texas, and outlined the importance of agriculture to the Texas economy. Jim noted that Texas is the second largest agricultural state, with cattle being the largest commodity -- 90% of farmers have 100 cows or less. Texas is home to over 11 million head of cattle. Jim spoke of dairy farmers moving from California to Texas due to ever-increasing regulations and costs, “Texas is wide open for business," says Jim. Another memorable quote from Jim was, “leadership is about building bridges and making contacts and leaving the world a better place than we found it."

Following lunch we got back on the bus for a tour of Houston. The tour was given by Keith, who was very funny. It was an interesting view of Houston that we would not have seen on our own. The highlight of the ride was the water wall in downtown Houston. It is actually a water cooling system that was architecturally beautiful. Houston is the 4th largest city in America. Houston does not have any zoning rules. Keith showed us how that makes for some very interesting neighbourhoods. One of the homes we saw was made out of beer cans!

The day ended with dinner at the Aquarium Restaurant where we were able to dine under the sea surrounded by magnificent marine life. We all over ate and left feeling very satisfied. This was a great start to our Texas Adventure, y’all.

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Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

Sulphur Fertilizer Trial in Dry Edible Beans

Sulphur is an important nutrient in field crops. It is part of the chlorophyll in leaves, two essential amino acids, and rhizobia bacteria need it for nitrogen fixation. Sulphur is mostly stored in soil organic matter (OM), and it is mineralized each summer as OM breaks down. Sulphur will leach from the soil and volatilize into the air if crops don’t take it up, which makes soil testing difficult. Sulphur acts a lot like nitrate nitrogen, which has its own soil testing story! Our crops used to get a regular dose of sulphur from air pollution and acid rain, with manure being a good secondary source. Southern Ontario was always a hot spot for air pollution, but levels have dropped dramatically since 1990. This has reduced yearly sulphur deposition by 70% or more. At the same time our crop yields have increased, exporting additional S from the soil.

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Communities across Canada are supported by small craft harbours that provide the commercial fishing industry with safe and accessible facilities. With approximately 44,000 Canadians employed in this sector, the Government of Canada is making investments to renew its network of small craft harbours and work with municipalities and other stakeholders to enhance local communities.

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