Archive for January, 2011

Legislative Conference Still a Go

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?”

Drive safely!

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Weekly Links

Feds Drop Lynx Appeal, Will Revise Habitat Plan
The Missoulian
Wildlife officials have dropped their appeal of a court ruling that forces the government to revise its flawed plan to protect critical habitat for Canada lynx. The move means the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have to reconsider habitat areas in Colorado.

Senators Weigh in on Cloud-seeding
Durango Herald
On Thursday, state senators recommended the government continue to offer weather-modification licenses for at least another nine years.

Judge Blocks Colorado Law Affecting Online Retailers
The Denver Post
A federal judge has granted a request to block last years ‘Amazon Tax.’

Study Assesses Boulder County’s Food From ‘Plant to Plate’
The Daily Camera
The average Boulder County person spends $923 on produce each year, compared with $584 in Larimer County and $446 in Weld County. But only 16 percent of the money Boulder County residents spend on produce goes to local growers.

USDA Announces Deregulation of Biotech Alfalfa

The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Thursday announced its decision to grant non-regulated status for alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide commercially known as Roundup.

“After conducting a thorough and transparent examination of alfalfa through a multi-alternative environmental impact statement and several public comment opportunities, APHIS has determined that Roundup Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “All of the alfalfa production stakeholders involved in this issue have stressed their willingness to work together to find solutions. We greatly appreciate and value the work they’ve done so far and will continue to provide support to the wide variety of sectors that make American agriculture successful.”

After releasing a final environmental impact statement in December 2010, USDA took another step to ensure that this issue received the broadest examination before making its final decision. USDA brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss feasible strategies for coexistence between genetically engineered, organic and other stakeholders. The stakeholders helped to identify areas of consensus; issues where the group disagreed and opportunities for further dialogue; and areas where USDA could—or should—play an important and helpful role.

Farm Bureau is pleased with the announcement, as it clears up uncertainty for producers and allows them to move forward with planting decisions.

Ag blogger Emily Zweber explains in this post, what the deregulation means for her family farm.

(Image: Pro-Soil Ag Solutions)

Guest Commentary

The Problem with Roundup Ready Alfalfa

By Rob Jones

Round-Up Ready alfalfa?  When I first heard about this I was puzzled why a company would risk so much investment in a crop that is characterized by taking care of itself when it comes to weeds.  Sure it takes a while to get it established, but cover-cropping, extra care weeding before planting, planting into stubble, nurse cropping, can all help minimize weed pressure while getting started.

As for prolonging alfalfa stands, I think there is a misconception that weeds kill out alfalfa.  If an alfalfa stand begins to thin, it’s because of soil imbalances, not weeds, otherwise weeds would take over immediately.

Honestly, contamination is a serious issue. So what is the answer to the dilemma?

Continue reading

EPA Approves E-15 Waiver for 2001-2006 Vehicles

On Friday, EPA extended the waiver for the general use of gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol (E-15) to model years 2001-2006 cars and light trucks. EPA reached its decision after reviewing the results of tests of E-15 on 2001-2006 engines conducted by the Department of Energy.

EPA announced that it will not grant a waiver for the use of E-15 in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles or non-road engines this year. The agency stated that that there is no testing data to support such a waiver.

AFBF policy supports increasing the ethanol blending standard to a level higher than 10 percent.

Sweeping Lawsuit Filed Against EPA Could Hurt Farmers

Environmental groups are seeking protection of the Arroyo Toad and other endangered species from EPA approved ag chemicals.

Two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pesticide Action Network North America, have sued the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the agency’s overall ag chemical regulatory program.

According to the suit, EPA did not consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the effects of EPA-registered pesticides on endangered species. The groups claim in a 400-page complaint that EPA is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The groups are asking EPA to retroactively consult FWS and re-write current regulations, after putting restrictions on ag chemicals.

Virtually every ag chemical in use today is listed in the suit, which seeks protection for 214 endangered and threatened species throughout the U.S. including the Florida panther, California condor, piping plover, black-footed ferret, arroyo toad, Indiana bat, bonytail chub and Alabama sturgeon.

Get Involved- Congressional Redistricting Process Begins

sessionlogoThe US Constitution requires state legislatures to redraw congressional boundaries every 10 years. This year, legislative leaders created a joint select committee on redistricting, a bold bipartisan step to bring cooperation to what has in the past been a bitter partisan battle.

This select committee of 10 legislators from the House and Senate and looks forward to a process that involves much citizen input. The committee will follow redistricting guidelines, evaluate maps proposed by non-partisan experts, and host public meetings in each current congressional district.

Under Colorado’s Open Meetings Law, all commission, committee, or floor sessions to consider redistricting plans are open to the public. Public testimony is usually taken at commission or committee meetings. Farm Bureau members are encouraged to participate in their local redistricting meeting. All meeting times and locations can be found at the state redistricting website.

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