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Texas Farm Ranch Wildlife Expo wraps up Wednesday

By Ariana Garza, Weekend Anchor/Crime & Courts Reporter, agarza@ktxs.com
Published On: Feb 20 2013 08:33:16 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

The Texas Farm-Ranch-Wildlife Expo will wrap up Wednesday at the Taylor County Coliseum in Abilene.

The expo boasts more than 70 booths which include a variety of resources and the latest equipment. The booths are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and educational seminars are also available.

“I'm retired in this business 35 years so we know a lot of the vendors out here and I'm just walking around meeting vendors I haven't seen for 20 years,” Henry Heikes, a visitor, said.

This year Rob Beckham, former city councilman, is introducing his family’s Spring Gap Ranch to the booths. Beckham breeds genetically engineered white-tailed deer. 

“For white-tailed deer to grow big antlers you need a calm setting for them--you need to let them grow to an age and get a proper nutrition,” Beckham said. “But the third part of that is you need genetics and that's the antler growth so we do some artificial insemination to improve the genetics.”

Beckham said breeding the deer makes things more affordable.

“The economics of keeping a family ranching operation are harder and harder all time,” Beckham said.

Ramond Hargrove, owner of Hargrove Crop Insurance, has been selling crop insurance since the 1980s. He said it is valuable not only against the infamous West Texas drought, but also for other weather extremes.

“When we first started doing this in 1983 and [1984], it was thought of as just nothing but a dry weather kind of a deal and if it would ever rain a whole lot, people thought they didn't want it,” Hargrove said. “But then they found out it works when it's too wet, too cold, too anything.”

The expo is free of charge at the Taylor Co. Coliseum, located at 1700 Texas Highway 36 across from the Abilene Zoo.