Archive for February, 2010

Legislative Briefs…Week in Review

HB 1123 unanimously passed the House Judiciary Committee this week. This measure declares that a person can not be charged for an arson offense if they started and maintained a fire as a controlled agricultural burn in a reasonably cautious manner and there was no personal injury as a result. “Controlled Agricultural Burn” is defined in this bill to mean a technique used in farming to clear the land of any existing crop residue, kill weeds and weed seeds, or reduce fuel buildup and decrease the likelihood of a future fire. We believe this is a positive bill for Ag. CFB thanks Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg for bringing this bill forward.

HB 1101 was amended and passed the House Transportation & Energy Committee this week. This bill deals with Farm Truck Registration. CFB was supportive of the amendments to this bill. This measure now declares that if a farm truck is used primarily for agricultural production on a farm or ranch owned or leased by the owner of the truck and the land on which it is used has been classified as agricultural land (for taxing purposes).  Currently, a county clerk may require that a person demonstrate that the person’s primary business is agriculture and show proof of this income in order to register a motor vehicle as a farm truck.

The Senate passed the Budget Supplemental Bills for the 2009-10 fiscal year. They now go to the Governor’s Desk. As for HB-1327, the objectionable Section 9 was deleted.  It was replaced with Section 8 that transfers $2 million from the CWCB Perpetual Base Account to the General Fund.

Next WeekThe House committees will hear SB 165 – ‘Adjust Oil and Gas Well Regulation’, SB 34 – ‘Pesticide Act Refillers Requirements’, SB 38 – ‘Organic Certification Act’, SB 19 – ‘Valuation of New Hydroelectric Facilities’, and SB 52 – ‘Alter Designated Groundwater Basin Area’.  On Tuesday, the Senate State Affairs Committee will hear HB 1107 – ‘Urban Renewal Area regarding Ag Lands’.

Daily Sentinel Joins Others in Opposing the ‘Right to Trespass’ Bill

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has published an opinion column which opposes HB 1188 the ‘Right to Trespass’ bill and has issued a house editorial calling for the measure to be killed. The Sentinel now joins the Pueblo Chieftain and the Colorado Springs Gazette in opposing the bill.

The Sentinel Editorial Board writes in Fridays paper that…

It makes sense to take more time to examine the issues in greater detail — and try to come up with cooperative solutions — than to pass a contentious bill that all but guarantees lawsuits over issues such as private property rights and what constitutes a navigable river.

The Daily Sentinel supports the notion that rafters, canoers and kayakers should be able to float on the larger rivers of this state, so long as they don’t trespass on private property along streambanks. But there are several problems with Curry’s bill, reasons we think the Senate should kill it and allow new ideas to develop.

While the paper and Farm Bureau don’t exactly see eye to eye on some the other major problems with the bill, we agree that the issue needs to be studied more so that an equitable solution can be agreed upon by all interests. The spirit of cooperation that long has prevailed among many rafters and property owners should be fostered, not quashed, as HB 1188 will most certainly do.

*** Members are encouraged to write Letters to the Editor at the Sentinel and thank the paper for taking a common sense stand on this issue. Please send all letters to letters@gjsentinel.com Letters should include name, address and telephone number and should be no longer than 300 words.

Another way to help win the debate is to submit comments to each story on the Sentinel website, just like you do frequently here on The Pulse. Just click the links to either story at the top of this post, scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a comment. Tell readers how you feel about the issue, how it will impact you; or reply to other commentors and set the record straight.

(Image: QuiteLucid)

Legislative Briefs…

Ag Land Valuation Bill Amended….Legislation that created a 13-member land assessment and classification task force for the purpose of studying the assessment and classification of agricultural land was heavily amended in the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee on Tuesday.  HB 1293 now simply  creates a “task force” that will be made up of four members who are owners/lessees of agricultural property (participants must be actively involved in farming or ranching), 2 county commissioners (one from each side of the continental divide) and 2 county assessors (one from each side of the continental divide).

The Task Force will be chaired by the State Property Tax Administrator and will meet at least 4 times over the interim.  The Task Force is directed to submit a written report of its findings by October 15.  CFB was extremely concerned with the introduced version of the bill due to requirements that would have lead to specific legislation being introduced in 2011.  CFB worked closely with other agricultural organizations to get the appropriate representation on the task force.

Right-to-Float Bill Update…HB 1188 has still not been assigned to a committee in the Colorado Senate for debate.  This indicates that our efforts in reaching out to our Senators and expressing our opposition is working!  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! Please continue to contact your Senators and encourage a NO vote on HB 1188.

We can’t let up now!

HB 1188 has huge implications to private property rights in Colorado and we must send the message that private property rights matter in Colorado.  Efforts in Utah paid off this week when the Utah House of Representatives defeated similar legislation.  Let’s match the efforts in Utah and defeat HB 1188!!!

Jeffersonian Ideals and the Family Farm

Just what makes a family farm a “Family Farm?”  Journalist and NPR contributor Michelle Mercer recently spoke with Farm Bureau member John Leach of Lincoln County about what the term “Family Farm” means to him. Listen below or at KRCC in Colorado Springs.

(Image: david.evenson)

Rural Stock Prices Doing Well

With John Deere’s stock price (DE– $56.22) posting healthy gains in the last few weeks, the rural focused website DailyYonder decided to take a closer look at 40 leading ‘rural’ stocks and see how the segment is faring in a recovering economy. What writer Bill Bishop found out was that…

“Since the beginning of 2009, the Yonder 40 is up over 42%, slightly better than the NASDAQ and nearly double the increase in both the Dow and the S&P 500…

Deere is up nearly 15% since the beginning of February and, indeed, many ag-related stocks are doing well in 2010. Andersons is up more than 17% this month. Andersons produces ethanol and fertilizer.

Meat producers are all doing well so far this year. Hormel — the maker of Spam and Dinty Moore Beef Stew — saw its first quarter earnings rise 37% and its stock is up more than 7% in February.

Smithfield Foods is up more than 12% this month alone and Tyson, the chicken producer, has risen more than 22%.”

The story is an interesting take on ‘corporate’ rural america and reflects other projections that the ag economy is well positioned well to begin exiting the recession at or above the speed of the national economy.

(Image: DailyYonder)

Farm Bureau Member Runs for State House

Longtime Farm Bureau member and Ignacio sheepman J. Paul Brown on Tuesday announced his candidacy for the 59th House District seat which is being vacated by Rep. Ellen Roberts.

Brown, a La Plata County commissioner for four years and an Ignacio school board member for 12 years, announced his candidacy on the steps of the County Courthouse before about 40 family members and friends. The theme of his announcement was aimed at reining in galloping government, taxation and regulation.

“Our country and our state have been governed too long by folks who think that government is the whole answer,” Brown said. “I believe in a citizen legislature, one in which representatives go to the Capitol,  govern only part time, and then return home to work, make payroll and pay taxes.”

Congratulations to J. Paul!  We at The Pulse wish him the best of luck in his campaign.

(Image: Durango Herald)

YF&R Chair Uses Multi-Faceted Approach to Farm Evangelism

AFBF YF&R Chair Will Gilmer

Will Gilmer admits days on the family’s Lamar County dairy farm can grow long, especially when the tractor’s radio doesn’t work and he’s all alone with “nothing but time and engine hum.”

“When you get through solving the world’s problems in your mind, you start thinking of other things,” said the 30-year-old, third-generation dairyman, who was profiled in the March cover story of Neighbors, published by the Alabama Farmers Federation.

For Gilmer, those “other things” are usually ways he can tell farming’s story—whether it’s through the farm’s Web site, its Edopt-a-Cow program, his Dairyman’s Blog, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

His is a multi-faceted approach to farm evangelism, the kind of do-it-all strategy he plans to continue in his new role as chairman of AFBF’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.

“What I want our committee to do is to really get out there the first half of this year and talk about the things we do on our farms,” said Gilmer, who chaired the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Young Farmers state committee in 2008.

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