Archive for March, 2010

Obama to Propose Opening Offshore Drilling

The Obama administration will announce today that it will propose opening vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling.

The proposal would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

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CFB Women’s Committee to Host Leadership Workshops

Colorado Farm Bureau is holding two Women’s “Ag-Vocates” for Agriculture Conferences. These conferences are being sponsored by the state women’s committee and all women in Farm Bureau are invited.

Women who are not members are welcome too.

The purpose of the conferences is to provide easy tips and tools to help women become more active “Ag-Vocates” for the agricultural industry. We think we have an exciting agenda and want to encourage you to send at least two women from each county to attend one of these conferences.

Two conferences will be held. The first takes place April 30th through May 1st in Castle Rock, CO. The second will be held in Palisade on May 7th and 8th.

Conference agendas and meeting registration forms can be found here.

CFB Opposes EPA Effort to Regulate GHGs

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a final rule Monday that will phase in greenhouse gas emissions control requirements for new and modified stationary sources such as power plants starting Jan. 2, 2011.

This rule is a key move by EPA to begin regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act. EPA’s action on Monday is a major concern of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s. AFBF vehemently opposes regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act because Congress never intended to use the act to regulate carbon dioxide.

Colorado Farm Bureau strongly backs a Senate resolution to disapprove of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), and a companion measure in the House introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.).

“The high costs of this regulation, the unidentified environmental benefits, and the ongoing effort in Congress to decide this issue argues strongly for Congress to use its authority under the Congressional Review Act to intervene in this matter,” wrote CFB President Alan Foutz in a letter to Sen. Bennett, urging him to support the Murkowski resolution. Farm Bureau also sent letters to Colorado’s House delegation urging support of companion legislation being offered by House Ag committee Chair, Colin Peterson.

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Organic Food Poised for Comeback

While sales of organic food have taken a hit in recent months, new research shows that consumers will be purchasing more of the product in the next few years. The natural and organic food and beverage category saw rapid growth of more than 24 percent from 2006 to 2008 but stalled during the recession in 2009, with sales up just 1.8 percent.

Sales are now forecast to grow nearly 20 percent from 2010 to 2012, indicating that going organic has become a way of life for some.

Fought by DOW, Habitat Stamp Bill Lost in House Committee

In 2009, SB 09-235 was passed to reauthorize the Habitat Stamp Program.  It required an ongoing dialog between stakeholders to focus on finding solutions to outstanding issues of concern. These stakeholders, including the largest sportsmen organizations and the Sportsmen’s Advisory Group (SAG), sat down and discussed how to make the Habitat Stamp Program work for all.  The result was the introduction of HB10-1361. Farm Bureau was in active support of this bill.

Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg led the charge to bring together a coalition of representatives from sportsmen groups and Ag landowner groups, including CFB, when it became clear that the Division of Wildlife was not willing to discuss concerns around the Habitat Stamp Program.

This measure would have created the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp Operation, Maintenance, and Enhancement Fund.  Money in the fund would be used for the expenses associated with the operation, maintenance and enhancement of property that is purchased using Habitat Stamp funds. Unfortunately, the measure met with extreme resistance from the Division of Wildlife and Director Remington who argued that they never agreed to have further discussions following the passage of SB09-235.

“It is too bad that the DOW has chosen to ignore both Sportsmen and Landowners regarding controversial issues with the Habitat Stamp program,” said Rep Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) the sponsor of the measure. “It is difficult to have a dialog with an agency whose leadership is less than honest.”

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The ‘Cowgate’ Warming ‘Error’

Last Monday, a professor and air quality expert at U.C. Davis told a conference of Chemists that despite often repeated claims, it is simply not scientifically accurate to blame livestock for climate change. Professor Frank Mitloehner’s study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Agronomy. It took on the oft repeated notion that CAFO meat production was somehow more carbon intensive than pasture raised beef and milk; or than a person can cut his carbon footprint by consuming less meat.

“We certainly can reduce our greenhouse-gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk… but by increasing efficient meat production in developing countries, where growing populations need more nutritious food,” Mitloehner says.

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Ag Groups Worry Over NCBA Structure

Several U.S. farm groups have expressed what they call “grave concerns” with how the new governance structure of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) could threaten the autonomy of the national beef checkoff.  That according a report on feedstuffs.com.

Groups including the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to look into the new NCBA structure.  One of their concerns is that the firewall that keeps checkoff funds for beef advertising and promotion separate from NCBA dues and other revenue used for industry advocacy may be compromised. NCBA has assured the USDA that their accounting practices are sound.

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