Archive for January, 2010

Agriculture is Bright Spot in a Bad Economy

By Lynne Finnerty

With the U.S. facing deep economic turmoil and unemployment hovering around 10 percent, it might seem as if there’s little to be optimistic about. Agriculture, however, has helped fortify the economy when it needed it most, as other sectors such as U.S. automobile manufacturing, real estate and construction have contracted and shed workers.

Funny thing, how agriculture often is overshadowed by seemingly more exciting industries, like, say, derivatives trading, but turns out to be the old reliable when other endeavors fail. Just like the tortoise and the hare in Aesop’s fable, farmers and ranchers keep plodding along, producing food, fiber and fuel stocks.

To contrast two industries in particular, auto manufacturing and agriculture, let’s zoom in on the state of Michigan, home to the big U.S. automakers and attendant industries like auto parts manufacturing. With the decline in the automakers’ fortunes, the state’s unemployment rate has risen to the highest in the nation, 14.6 percent.

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Bredenkamp Testifies on HB 1195

CFB Executive Vice President Troy Bredenkamp testifying in House Finance Committee against the removal of the sales tax exemption on Ag Compounds and Pesticides.

Colorado Farm Bureau
Testimony on HB 1195
Before the Colorado House Finance Committee
January 29, 2010

Mr. Chairman, Good morning.

My name is Troy Bredenkamp, Executive Vice President of the Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado’s largest agricultural organization.  I come before you this morning on behalf of Colorado Farm Bureau and our 23,000 member families, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and the 28 member organizations of the Colorado Ag Council to express our strong opposition to HB1195.

As most are aware, Colorado agriculture is a huge part of the Colorado economy.  The ag industry as a whole, is the second largest industry in our state, made up of over 20,000 farming operations, farm families, businesses – responsible for over $16 billion of impact to Colorado’s economy.  You have just been told the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s general fund take is less than 0.01% of the entire general fund budget.  I would say spending less than one tenth of one percent on the 2nd largest industry…and industry generating over $16 Billion of economic activity in Colorado is a pretty good return on investment in anybody’s book.

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Protecting Landowners… Limiting Liability

Under current law, a landowner can be held liable for injuries suffered by a trespassing minor if the land contains an attractive nuisance. HB 1086, by Rep. Kathleen Curry and Senator Mary Hodge, is designed to help protect landowner from being held liable for injuries to members of the public who trespass onto their private land for recreational purposes, unless the landowner willfully or deliberately caused the said injuries. This bill is focused on all waterways and ditches, including facilities used for diversion, storage, conveyance, or use of water, claiming that property is not an ‘attractive nuisance’ and therefore the landowner can not be held at fault.

Colorado Farm Bureau Policy #228 titled “Landowner Liability” states that we favor legislation relieving the property owner of any responsibility for accident or injury to those parties on his premises without permission.

People of any age who trespass onto private land, must recognize that they are putting themselves at risk. This is not about public recreation; this is about people breaking the law and entering someone else’s land without their permission. We are well aware of the recreational opportunities that exist on many stretches of private land. However, we want to make clear that this land has many purposes and it is where we run our operations and businesses. It is not the landowner’s responsibility to watch out for someone else’s children.

This bill is up in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, January 28th. CFB Member, Brenda Seifken, will be testifying on behalf of Farm Bureau in support of this bill.

2010 CFB Board of Directors

From Left
Front Row: Angela Ryden-State Women’s Committee, Don Shawcroft-Vice President, Alan Foutz, President
Second Row: Bob Winter-District 1, Gene Kleve-District 2, Jeff Thornton-District 3, Ken Schweizer-District 4, TJ Dice YFR Chair
Third Row: Ton Verquer-District 5, Chad Stevens-District 6, Mike Mitchell-District 7, Phyllis Snyder-District 8
Back Row: Carlyle Currier-District 9, Ron Nereson-District 10, Troy Bredenkamp-CFB EVP, Jack Anderson-CFBI CEO

 

2010 Legislative Conference

TENTATIVE AGENDA
February 2-3, 2010
Crowne Plaza Downtown
1450 Glenarm Place
Denver, Colorado

Tuesday, February 2
9:30 a.m.
     Advisory Committee Meetings
     (Animal Ag, Crops, Specialty Ag, Water, & Wildlife/Environment)

12:00 p.m.
      Break for Lunch

1:30 p.m.
     CFB Legislative Conference Welcome
     Former Congressman Scott McInnis, Candidate for Governor

     Legislative Updates

     Issue Updates and Debriefings from legislators, state officials, and candidates

     Colo. Department of Ag budget

     Continued Legislative updates

5:00 p.m.
     Adjourn

5:30 p.m.
     Reception

6:30 p.m.
     Legislative Dinner – Speaker: Craig Beyrouty, CSU Dean of Ag

Check out the Contours on That One

By Dal Grooms

There’s been much talk recently about how state-of-the-art airport security equipment can reveal body contours. Many people shudder at the thought of someone looking at the very personal curves and slopes of their bodies. Farmers and ranchers, on the other hand, are more than happy to show off another kind of contours—the ones on their farmland.

Nature has given the United States many land formations but crop farmers often are most attracted to that 20 percent with rolling hills and rich soils. To protect that soil, farmers use a variety of conservation methods but the ones that really show off the land are terraces, buffers and contour planting.

These conservation practices accent the grace and beauty of America’s farmland like a string of pearls around a woman’s neck. Terraces in particular are like pearls that highlight the rich, productive hillsides.

One can clearly see conservation practices in place when driving through farm country all across our nation. There are bands of color that can be seen with strip cropping and frames around fields when borders are used. And be sure to take note of crop buffers planted to protect the branching veins of waterways.

But conservation practices aren’t just about accenting the hills and slopes of the land. They are about keeping the soil in place—an important factor in crop productivity.

The practices are working. The Agriculture Department’s most recent National Resources Inventory report shows that between 1982 and 2003, soil erosion nationwide dropped dramatically. When the amount of soil lost per acre is compared, it’s down 66 percent. That means less dust in the air and clearer water in streams. It also means wildlife will find more habitats for shelter and food.

USDA’s conservation programs during that time have included taking farmland out of production. It’s been exciting during the past seven years, however, to see more focus being put on conservation measures for working land. This approach results in a working resource that provides food, fiber and fuel. But it also yields a cleaner environment, enhanced wildlife habitat and a farmscape marked by beauty.

Under the skilled hand of a conservation-minded farmer, our farmland works in numerous ways.

So, the next time you’re driving through farm country, take a look. Appreciate the farmland resources Mother Nature gave us. Appreciate the farmer who dressed them with conservation practices. And know these are contours each of us would be glad to show off.

Study: Raising pigs indoors healthier for animals, people

(12/20/2009)
By Cliff Gauldin

– Many swine diseases saw declines or eradication since move to confined operations.

– Raising pigs indoors reduced use of anti-parasitic agents.

– Outdoor pigs can damage land, environment.

Raising pigs indoors is healthier for the animals and has allowed for a higher-quality product for consumers, according to a new study, and the researchers hope it will provide producers with CONTINUED

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