CFB President Don Shawcroft testified before the House Natural Resources Committee today in Washington D.C. During the hearing titled “Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Impacts on Businesses and Families,” Shawcroft told the assembled Representatives that Americans are experiencing sticker shock at the gas pump these days, but high fuel costs are hitting America’s farmers and ranchers especially hard.
“Most Americans are feeling sticker shock caused by high gasoline prices when they fill their automobile’s tank,” Shawcroft said. “But there is no term in the English language to accurately describe what farmers and ranchers feel every time they put diesel in the tanks of their farm equipment.”
Shawcroft cited numerous examples of the economic impact currently experienced by farmers and ranchers. He said the cost just for refueling a typical tractor can be more than $1,000.
Mike Barnett of Texas Agriculure Talks, the Texas Farm Bureau blog, wrote today about some important aspects of the agriculture industry that consumers need to know. His comments are apropos of March 15, National Agriculture Day.
Mike says that while there is no shortage of safe and wholesome food in this country, there are those who would bite the hand that feeds them. He says that there are 5 things that may be hard truths for ag critics to stomach, but they are truths nonetheless.
- • Farmers use pesticides—even organic farmers. Pesticides may be a natural part of the plant, may be made from another plant, or may be synthetic in nature. Pesticides are regulated by the government and are evaluated for their effects on human health and environment. They are safely and judiciously used by farmers and ranchers to ward off crop and livestock disease problems.
- • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not evil. Genetic improvement—through traditional plant breeding techniques as well as genetic modification in the lab—has allowed our food and fiber supply to keep pace with a surging world population.
- • The bacon, eggs and milk you had for breakfast this morning likely came from a pig, chicken and dairy cow that was raised in a confined feeding operation. In that confined operation, the pig, chicken or dairy cow had an excellent health plan, good groceries and protection from bad weather and predators.
- • Farmers make profits. Farmers make money by taking care of their land and water resources. They bank those resources to ensure future generations can continue the rich heritage of growing food and fiber.
- • The average farmer in the United States feeds 155 people. Two-thirds of those people are Americans. The other third are people across the globe.
America is a lucky nation.
Our food is abundant. Our food is safe. Our food is affordable.
From this little corner of cyberspace, I salute farmers and ranchers. They are the reason America enjoys food security. They are the reason we celebrate National Agriculture Day.
We would agree.
The Colorado General Assembly will present a House Joint Resolution, sponsored by Rep. Sonnenberg and Sen. Schwartz, on Wednesday, March 16th, in recognition of National Ag Week and in celebrating National Ag Day in Colorado.
At Noon there will be a press conference on the West Steps of the State Capitol followed by a sandwich lunch prepared by members of the Colorado Ag Council.
Press Conference Agenda
Alistair Polson (center right) and Terry Meikle (far right) met with CFB leadership this week to discuss trade.
Yesterday, Don Shawcroft and Troy Bredenkamp met with Alistair Polson, New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy and Terry Meikle, the New Zealand Embassy’s Secretary for Trade and Agriculture. The meeting was an informal way to share about agriculture issues from two countries across the Pacific Ocean from each other. Mr. Shawcroft and Mr. Bredenkamp provided a survey of Colorado agriculture and the issues we face. Mr. Polson was particularly interested in Colorado’s water administration system and how water is balanced between ag and urban needs.
Mr. Polson, himself a sheep and cattle rancher in New Zealand, spoke about his countries support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and asked that Colorado farmers and ranchers support the effort. The TPP is a trade agreement between 9 Pacific Rim nations. Is is currently in the negotiation stage and the 6th round will take place at the end of this month.
The TPP could open up many Pacific nations to U.S. goods, services and agricultural products.
Mr. Polson met with the Commissioner John Stulp, Leprino Cheese, JBS Swift, and other ag groups during his two day tour of Colorado.
CFB member and former CFB communications intern Elisa Sagehorn was recently profiled in the Holyoke Enterprise over her involvement with ag education and promotion. Elisa is a National Collegiate Ag ambassador and member of the Colorado Young Farmers Education Association. As part of both organizations Sagehorn educates the public in Colorado about agriculture and the rural lifestyle.
Sagehorn said as a presenter, spokesperson and ambassador for agriculture, she absolutely loves working with individuals across the state of Colorado and beyond.
“It’s given me the key to switch over my career,” said the 2008 HHS grad, noting she is now an ag education major at CSU.
With Sagehorn’s new role as an Ag Ambassador, she is excited to take on this “challenge” of agricultural literacy. She mentioned the road is going to be a long one, but programs like USDA’s Agriculture in the Classroom and National FFA’s Food for America are great starting points.
Read the entire piece at the Holyoke Enterprise online.
Heeding President Shawcroft’s call to increase Farm Bureau activity at the local level, members of the Moffat County Farm Bureau are lobbying their county commissioners for a measure they say would help to improve the ag economy in the county.
Moffat County Farm Bureau Board Member Brent Brighton requested that Commissioners consider implementing a county agricultural sales tax exemption. Brighton asked the county waive the 2-percent county sales tax on agricultural equipment purchased by qualified farmers and ranchers.
The measure would have to go before voters.
The strength of Farm Bureau is vibrant county farm bureaus that expand their influence at the local level. Moffat County Farm Bureau has made a superb first effort. Please contact your regional manager for assistance in developing a local affairs program.
Its that time again! Celebrate spring with the CFB Women’s Leadership Committee’s 2011 Women’s Leadership Conference in Glenwood Springs.
There will be speakers on becoming better ‘ag-vocates’ for agriculture, workshops to help you in your business and personal life and “funshops”, – learning and sharing with other women in agriculture. Plan a family vacation to historic Glenwood and the Hot Springs! An optional tour on Saturday, April 2nd includes a ride on the gondola, followed by lunch and a tour of Glenwood Caverns. Family welcome!
Rep. John Becker (R- Ft. Morgan) a freshman and member of the Joint Budget Committee told members at the CFB Legislative Conference that the ag industry will fare well in the budget cutting process in 2011. The committee is responsible for closing the $300 million budget shortfall facing the state this year.
Rep.. Becker and Sen. Hodge, both of the JBC speak to members about the budget cutting process.
“With a little argument, we were able to reduce the amount of money that could have been taken from the CWCB fund for water projects,” he said.
In the end, only $5 million out of a possible $10 million was diverted to the budget gap. Becker also told members that the potato inspection fund and the brand board fund will not be raided.
“Ag has been very well protected by the JBC this year.”
The JBC still has another $70 – 90 million to cut from the budget this year.
The 2011 CFB Legislative Conference is still on schedule despite the weather. While the wind may blow and the cold may bite, the driving should not be too bad. Members are invited to hop in the truck and make a slightly slower trip to Denver for the conference.
“If we could postpone the conference, we would,” said President Shawcroft. “Despite the weather there are pressing matters at the capitol and I would like as many members as possible to brave the cold and make it to Denver to speak with their legislators.”
We hope to see you at the conference. We know some of you wont be able to make it but we would ask, “What else are you going to do?”
CFB YF&R members gathered in Colorado Springs for their annual leadership conference this last weekend. With an unusually large crowd the conference was a fun an informative way to bring the younger generation of Farm Bureau members together.
“We had a group of about 60 which is really great,” said Jayde Van Cleave, CFB Regional Manager and YF&R Coordinator.
Collegiate and young farmers and ranchers from across the state took the weekend to forge new relationships and hone their leadership skills at the two day conference.They also learned the ins and outs of Farm Bureau and what they can do to advocate for the industry.
For more photos of the event, check out the YF&R Facebook page. Make sure to become a fan of the page while you are there!
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture launched its new and enhanced version of “MyAmericanFarm.org,” a free online interactive gaming platform, that focuses on third- through fifth-grade students. The new version offers more agriculture-related games and activities for kids coupled with additional educator resources.
“My American Farm” was developed to engage millions of youth, teachers and parents through unique educational experiences, educator resources and fun family activities in an online environment.
“One of the main things we tried to do was not only provide these games, but also provide resources and ways to search the site so educators can find information easily by subject matter and agricultural themes and topics,” said Curtis Miller, director of education for the foundation. “We also have fun family activities for when kids come home from school and they have that time on the computer.”
Colorado was one of six state Farm Bureaus that were recognized for outstanding financial support of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The awards were presented during the Flapjack Fundraiser, a pancake breakfast at AFBF’s 92nd annual meeting last week.
State Farm Bureaus receiving the Scholar Award, a new award, are: Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana and Nebraska. The Scholar Award is given to the six state Farm Bureaus with the highest total donations within their membership levels.
CFB President Don Shawcroft, Vice President Carlyle Currier, delegates Mike Mitchell and Phyllis Snyder capped a successful policy session at the annual American Farm Bureau Federation meeting on Tuesday.
The four successfully argued for policy forwarded to the delegate body by CFB delegates in November. CFB policy in the areas of elected officials, regulatory review and reform pertaining to the EPA, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Immigration was approved by the AFBF delegates.
It was supposed to be one of the biggest and most controversial issues in Farm Bureau policy this year. The showdown between states that supported the elimination of direct payments and those that favored keeping them was supposed to take up much time on the delegate floor.
Except that’s not what happened.
The much anticipated squabble over direct payments never really developed. The discussion passed quickly with most delegates in favor of keeping them in the mix of farm programs in the next farm bill. The delegates easily passed a resolution that called for ” a strong and effective safety net that consists of direct payments, crop insurance, and a simplified ACRE program.”
While the delegates refused to pull their support for direct payments, they did pass a policy stating that farmers must purchase crop insurance if they wish to be eligible for farm program benefits.
Yuma County Farm Bureau authored Colorado’s policy rejecting direct payments. President Nathan Weathers is not pleased with the short shrift given to that position as the delegate session.
“I’m really disappointed,” he said. “I think we missed a great opportunity to show both politicians and the public that we are committed to doing out part in helping to climb out of debt.”
Weathers says he heard from many producers at the Annual Meeting that still did not see the negative light that commodity payments put farmers and ranchers in.
“I heard so many people tell me that they ‘weren’t giving up their government payments’ I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Iowa and Colorado Farm Bureau were two states that favored the elimination of the payments. Most southern suggested retaining them.
When you take a big-picture view of the philosophies that are affecting environmental legislation and policy in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, something really sticks out, said Robert Gordon, senior advisor for strategic outreach for the Heritage Foundation, speaking at an issues conference at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting.
The basic, underlying rationale driving much of the policymaking is that human beings are a blight on the Earth, and that the only way to preserve the planet is to make sure people are actively prevented from using resources, Gordon said. Otherwise, or so this viewpoint dictates, humans will inevitably “degrade and destroy those resources.”
But what should also stick out, he said, is that this rationale is deeply flawed.
Asserting that the Environmental Protection Agency is “implementing an aggressive regulatory program that burdens the nation’s farmers and ranchers,” delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting today urged Congress to “pursue vigorous oversight” of the agency.
They cited a recent expansion in EPA regulatory actions aimed at agriculture that ignores farmers’ and ranchers’ “positive contributions to environmental protection.”
In a surprise visit to the AFBF Annual Meeting, Ag Secretary Vilsack drew applause from the nation’s farmers and ranchers when he commented on his departments goals for the deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa.
He said, “We’re trying to figure out, as difficult as it might be, is there a way in which we can assure that we have less interference with the capacity for folks to do what they want to do on their land? If you want to grow GMO crops you ought to be able to do that. If you want to grow identity preserved conventional you ought to be able to do that. If you want to be an organic farmer you ought to be able to do that.”
Vilsack also commented on the importance of estate tax reform in the recently passed tax extenders legislation.
Asked if he would consider being a “spokesperson” for agriculture, Mike “Dirty Jobs” Rowe said, “I don’t think American agriculture needs a spokesman, I think they need an advocate. And the advocates I believe they need are people like me who have shown a long term addiction to chewing and swallowing.”
Mike was the keynote speaker at the 2011 AFBF Annual Meeting in Atlanta. During his address Mike told those in attendance that agriculture is “doing it right,” and that the industry just needs to keep telling consumers that. He said that he feels the best way he can help is to keep visiting with farmers and ranchers and introduce them to the American people.
He drew applauds from the crowd when he said when he talked about letters he has received from groups like PETA and federal agencies like EPA over programs that featured agriculture jobs.
If you would like to listed to the audio of the press conference Mike gave with ag reporters before his address, go here.
Despite the city of Atlanta being shut down because of a few inches of snow, the AFBF Annual Meeting is plugging along. Several of the Annual Meeting Blog’s guest bloggers have posted their thoughts on the snow. A few of their thoughts on the weather are posted below.
Tricia Braid is the Director of Communications at the Illinois Corn Growers Association.
Hoping to hail a cab today in Atlanta? Umm…you’re out of luck.
Think you’ll catch the bus? Think again.
I carried and drug my luggage over a mile today so I could make it back to the AFBF Annual Meeting! And I’m not alone.
American Farm Bureau Federation President used his annual address to Farm Bureau members this morning to deliver some very spirited messages to the members in attendance (click to listen):
American agriculture is more productive than ever and is producing more with less.
• At a time when agriculture’s environmental footprint is shrinking, we are facing more regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.
• AFBF will ask Congress to bring new scrutiny to EPA actions.
• AFBF will soon file suit against EPA water regulations.
• America’s agricultural diversity is what makes our nation’s love affair with food possible. America’s farmers have reason to celebrate foodie culture.
• Family-based agriculture – done by those who have the most pride, investment and personal connection to the hard work of farming and ranching remains the best way to meet the quality and quantity demands we face.
• Critics of modern agriculture cherry pick facts and embrace spin to weave compelling, emotional fables.
• The new U.S. Farm and Ranch Alliance is bringing a new level of unity to today’s agriculture.
• The effort (Alliance) is not about any form of antagonism or hostility toward consumers. It is clearly aimed as a counterbalance to those who are hell-bent on misleading consumers.
“Through Farm Bureau, we will uphold the honor and dignity of our profession, the character of our industry and the success of our nation.
“Together, we will produce results.”
State Farm Bureaus were recognized for excellence in membership achievement and for implementing outstanding programs serving Farm Bureau members in 2010. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman presented the awards during AFBF’s 92nd annual meeting.
The Awards for Excellence and the President’s Awards were presented to Colorado in four of the five program areas.
- Leadership Development- Chad Vorthmann
- Member Services- Richard Connell
- Policy Implementation Crystal Korrey
- Public Relations and Information- Shawn Martini
There are 3 easy Ways to Register
- Phone Call
FACEBOOK If you have not already registered for the CFB YF&R Leadership Conference you can do so by clicking here and RSVPing. You can also go to the Colorado Farm Bureau YF&R Facebook homepage. Click on the event tab. In the Colorado Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership conference click on the RSVP link then select Attending and let me know how many will be in your party in the optional RSVP note.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how many will be in your party.
Call (719) 478-2832 and let me know how many will be in your party.
Registration is $30 per person and you can bring that with you when you arrive to the conference.
The Deadline to register is January 14th
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting, with the theme “Producing Results,” kicks off in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center on Friday.
Anyone not able to attend the meeting may keep up with events right here on The Pulse. We will be bringing you the highlights of the proceedings in Atlanta. For more in depth coverage, check out the Voice of Agriculture website, www.fb.org. News from the meeting also will be available on AFBF’s Facebook page and by following @farmbureau on the microblogging website Twitter, www.twitter.com.
John Peel of the Durango Herald this week sat down with State Rep. Elect J. Paul Brown, and has written a superb profile of the soon-to-be legislator.Make sure to read the whole piece. Congratulations to J. Paul!
Brown, a La Plata County commissioner from 1989 to 1993, Ignacio school board member and Colorado Farm Bureau leader, wrestled over whether to run for the Legislature. He wouldn’t do it without Debbie behind him 100 percent, and at first she wasn’t. But then son Levi, 30, stepped up to run the ranch, and, one might say, John Adams spoke to him.
An HBO series about our second president underlined the sacrifices made to create this country. Plus, J. Paul and Debbie noted a similarity between their relationship and that of John and Abigail Adams. Both men lean on their wives for counsel. J. Paul even calls his wife “Abigail” at times.
“I realized how much they went through to bring us the freedoms that we have, and I thought, ‘I need to give,’” Debbie says. “I figured it was time for me to quit being so selfish.”
(Image, The Durango Herald)
Jason and his wife Rachel farm south of Limon where they raise wheat, sunflowers, proso, sorghum feed, grass hay, cattle and show pigs.
Jason Vermillion, Vice President of the Lincoln County Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors, has been appointed to the AFBF Swine Commodity Advisory Committee by AFBF President Bob Stallman. Vermillion, a fifth generation farmer, will represent the interests of hog producers in the western region of the United States throughout his two year term.
He and his wife, Rachel, recently won the Excellence in Agriculture award and will travel to the AFBF Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, in January to represent Colorado Farm Bureau in the national Excellence in Agriculture competition.
Vermillion is the second Colorado Farm Bureau YF&R members to be appointed to an AFBF Committee. Nathan Weathers was appointed to the AFBF YF&R Committee earlier this month.
Since the CFB Annual Meeting, we have has several requests to post the Service to Agriculture awards presentation given to Dr. Foutz and Mr. Barney Vissar at the Annual Banquet. As a result we have posted the presentation made to Dr. Foutz for the Inside Farm Bureau Service to Agriculture Award. The presentation given to Barney Visser for the Outside Farm Bureau award will be posted in the next day or two. Check back soon.
If you didn’t make it to the Annual Meeting this year, you wont want to miss this presentation. And its available in HD!! Enjoy!
Nathan and Nikki Weathers of Yuma County have been appointed to the AFBF YF&R Committee to represent the Western Region. In a letter informing the couple of the news AFBF President Stallman said that “It is also my hope that you will continue to develop useful leadership skills that you can take away and apply throughout your future.
“You are among the nation’s best young farmers and ranchers. I am thoroughly impressed by the quality of your application and the dedication you have given to Farm Bureau and your communities. I look forward to meeting you personally during the course of your tenure.”
Please help us in congratulating the Weathers’ on their appointment by leaving a comment to this post.
Attention: Colorado Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference reservation deadline has been extended!
The deadline for reservations for the Colorado Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference January 21-23 at the Crowne Plaza in Colorado Springs has been extended to Friday December 31 st .
Please call 888-233-9527 and say you would like to reserve a room under the Young Farmer and Rancher Conference. You should be given an $89/night rate.
The Colorado Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Committee is holding its Annual Leadership Conference on January 21st – 23rd 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Colorado Springs.
The conference agenda is after the jump.
Farm and ranch families perform a lot of dirty, tough jobs in the process of providing food and fiber for their fellow Americans. But, the big question is—Can they compete with show host and narrator Mike Rowe, who will be the keynote speaker at AFBF’S 2011 annual meeting, Jan. 10, in Atlanta?
Farm Bureau members from across the nation are invited to shoot and share their best home videos posted to YouTube of just how challenging, arduous and grungy farm and ranch work can be. It’s all part of AFBF’s “Farm/Ranch Families Work” video contest.
The deadline for the contest is Dec. 29. Once members have their hard-work videos posted to YouTube, all they need to do is send a link before the deadline date to the contest e-mail address: FBWORKS@fb.org.
The winning video submitted by a Farm Bureau member will be featured during the 2011 AFBF annual meeting Closing General Session, Monday, Jan. 10.
A full listing of the contest rules can be found at: http://fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=2011annual.contest
Delegates to the 2010 Colorado Farm Bureau Annual Meeting last month approved a policy that supports the elimination of direct payments in the 2012 Farm Bill. The policy favors an expanded revenue insurance program and improved risk management tools.
“Our delegates decided that the industry needs to make tough decisions like these. I think they did the responsible thing,” said CFB President Don Shawcroft.
Nathan Weathers, President of Yuma County Farm Bureau where the policy originated says that the ag industry needs to do its part in contributing to the reduction of the federal debt.
“Crop Insurance is a true safety net for farmers. By moving away from a direct and counter-cyclical program to a more comprehensive crop insurance program, we want to demonstrate our willingness to work together to cut the budget during tough economic times.”
He also says that this change in direction shows that farmers are not looking for a handout from the taxpayers.
The policy recommends expanding the current crop insurance program to allow for insuring 100% of a producers proven yield. Weathers says that this will satisfy lenders who count on clients receiving direct payments.
The policy easily passed the vote of the delegates and will be forwarded on to American Farm Bureau for consideration at the 2011 Annual Meeting in Atlanta next month.