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• For the U.S. Army 1st Logistical Command veteran who returned from Vietnam, it was a cherished portion of God’s green Earth and that sliver of Maverick County, Texas, land on the Mexico border was all he needed to raise and provide for a family over the next four decades.
JAVIER MANCHA, left, visits with NRCS District Conservationist Serafin Aguirre about his pasture conditions and grazing plan for his cattle.
Water in short supply
Crops can be seen wilting on the roadside and for some resident’s drinking water is at an all time low without that water source. Mancha, who serves as a director on the Maverick County Water District #1, worked with his fellow chairmen to repair the structure and return water to the land as fast as they could.
Mancha is currently in his fourth year as a Maverick County Soil and Water Conservation District chairman were he continues to pursue his own conservation education and share with others.
“Mr. Mancha has done so much in the last four years for our district,” says Serafin Aguirre, NRCS district conservationist in Eagle Pass. “The Board has sent five high school students to Junction for the Youth Range Workshop, held district fund raisers and overall been more active within the community.”
Battling fever ticks
As the fever tick became a major concern, Aguirre and NRCS were present to help Mancha as he found himself in the middle of the quarantine zone.
Even though the tick was eradicated in 1943, with due time the Boophilus annulatus and Boophilus microplus have made a comeback. Both are capable of carrying the protozoa that can transmit the disease Babesia or tick fever, which kills cattle.
Mancha, with aid from NRCS, built the cross-fences needed to set up a rotational grazing system that allows tick riders to work a smaller area.
Once a month the cattle are penned and treated. Partnerships like this are what will close the book on the invasive species and allow livestock and wildlife to flourish in south Texas once again.
In it for the long haul
Even though cattle are the only livestock on his operation, Mancha also manages for the improvement of his turkey, deer and dove populations.
“Drought has had a major impact on our vegetation,” Mancha notes, “but nevertheless I was not forced to sell. I kept replacement heifers because of the good grass. It produces a lot of feed and has kept me in business in the worst drought in 50 years.
“Being a farmer and rancher has meant so many things to me,” he continues. “When I was young I just wanted to see my crops grow; now I know that I am part of the contribution that feeds America.
“I could easily retire, but I am not ready to give this up,” he says with a smile and deep sense of satisfaction.
Seeds, soil and water were the foundation for Javier Mancha to begin his lifetime career of farming after returning from Vietnam, and those are the same three things he still strives to conserve today.
Early in his life, Mancha served his country to protect lives and provided a living for his family. Now Mancha continues those same ethics protecting the resources on his land so he can continue providing food for Americans.
Mancha uses the saying “Arrímate al Árbol que da buena sombra” which when translated is “Get close to the tree that provides good shade.” He said this sums up his lifetime full of enjoyable and grateful experiences in the farming community and his partnership with the NRCS.