Coastal Bend farmers and ranchers might say that the only major events happening this spring are dry weather and more dry weather. Granted, the area has had its share of days without rain since last October.

But despite our weather woes, something noteworthy has sprouted and bloomed in northwest Nueces County during the past six months.

That is the Lone Star County Store, a budding agribusiness located at 14342 Northwest Blvd., just about a mile-and-a-half west of Highway 77 in the Five Points area of Corpus Christi.

For those who travel the Farm to Market Road 624 on a regular basis, you have probably watched this attractive facility develop from the ground up. And I am here to tell you this place is so much more than an over-sized feed store. It has something for everyone who enjoys a western lifestyle.

After months of preparation and stocking the shelves with an expansive inventory of fine western apparel, as well as pet and livestock supplies, the Lone Star Country Store's manager, Doug Dangler, called to inform me that their grand opening celebration is April 26. The doors will open at 8 a.m. Closing time will be 6 p.m. and a whole lot of excitement will be taking place in between.

As part of the celebration, there will be major attendance prizes given away every two hours. In addition, free refreshments and hosts of in-store specials will be offered throughout the day. The grand prize giveaway drawing will take place at approximately 4 p.m. It is a $1,000 shopping spree at the County Store, and with the wonderful assortment of merchandise in this store, the lucky winner will be in shopping paradise.

Lone Star Country Store is also the newest Purina Feeds dealer in South Texas. They have a complete line of livestock, poultry and wildlife feeds. They are sponsoring Purina Mills cattle nutritionist, Chance Farmer, to conduct a special Cattle Owner's Workshop April 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Robstown at Joe Cotten's BBQ. The evening workshop will focus on Replacement Heifer Nutrition.

Developing structurally sound and productive breeding beef females can be challenging even during times when pasture conditions are better than average. With rapidly declining pasture conditions across South Texas, replacement heifers need special attention to develop to their full genetic potential. Dangler invites area cattle producers to attend this informative program and become better acquainted with the wide variety of trusted products available for livestock producers.

Another event that is just around the corner is the Gulf Coast Brangus Breeders Field Day. It will be taking place on May 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The location is near Taft at the Daniel Wendland Farms headquarters located at 7717 County Road 3963. This event is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Brangus Breeders in conjunction with IBBA and Capital Farm Credit.

Joe Paschal, Extension Livestock Specialist, along with representatives from TBBA and IBBA, will be delivering presentations and conducting live cattle demonstrations. To obtain additional information and make reservations for this event, contact Danny Wendland at 361-850-0776.

I have never wished rain on anyone's parade. But a good rain across the South Texas region on or before the Saturday of the Gulf Coast Brangus field day is desperately needed. A good soaking is our best hope for keeping crops and pastures from reaching the critical drought stress stage in the Coastal Bend area. That includes Taft, which is often refereed to as the Mecca for dry land farming in South Texas. When crops at Taft are wilting, farms to the west are toasting.

Unfortunately, the Weather Service's U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook map revised on April 17 paints a bleak picture for most of the western portions of Texas during the summer. They have said: "Drought to persist or intensify through July 2008."

If that forecast is correct, all livestock producers that enrolled in the new Range and Pastureland Risk Management Insurance program last October made a very wise decision. A persisting and intensifying drought is bad news for all involved in agriculture. And remember folks, if you eat, you are involved in agriculture.

Harvey Buehring is the former Agricultural Extension Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at (361) 767-5223.