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.
Remarks made last week by the chairman of Nestle about the use of corn for biofuels production were not only wrong but dangerous, the president of the National Corn Growers Association said.
“It is scandalous, ludicrous and highly irresponsible for the chairman of a global conglomerate that tripled its profits last year to talk about higher corn prices forcing millions into starvation,” said NCGA President Bart Schott. “Perhaps if Nestle is so concerned about food prices, its board will consider putting more of their $35.7 billion in 2010 profits back into poor communities. Just their profits alone represent more than half the entire farm value of the 2010 U.S. corn crop.”
Schott was reacting to comments by Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe at a meeting last Tuesday of the Council on Foreign Relations. Schott also challenged Brabeck-Letmathe to take the time to study facts and figures before making ridiculous comments about an industry that he clearly knows little about, nor bothered to study up on.
Fires raged across Colorado this week, fueling concerns about a repeat of the devastating 2002 fire season. On Thursday alone 11,000 new acres were burned in three separate fires east of 1-25.
A fire of more than 1,600 acres in Douglas County forced the evacuation of more than 8,500 people between Parker and Franktown. Farther out on the plains, the town of Karval was threatened by a 5,100 acre blaze and near Pueblo, a 5,000-acre grass fire forced the evacuation of about 600 employees at the Pueblo Chemical Depot. All of the fires were nearly contained by Thursday night.
The 5,100 acre fire burns near Karval in Lincoln County. (Photos: Rachel Vermillion, Charles Hoffman)
High vegetable prices are expected to ease in the coming weeks as farmers send more produce to the supermarket.
Prices shot up nearly 50 percent in February due to cold weather that destroyed much of the vegetable supply. Lettuce in Arizona, tomatoes in Florida and other crops were impacted.
Six Colorado residents have been appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to the State Agricultural Commission.
Thomas K. Cameron, Palisade, (Democrat), to serve from the Fourth agricultural district; Ernest D. Ford, Center, (Democrat), to serve from the Third agricultural district; Barbara L. Marty, Henderson, (Republican), to serve from the First agricultural district; John W. Singletary, Pueblo, (Democrat), to serve as an at-large member; and Alvin Kunugi, Blanca, (Democrat), to serve as an at-large member.
The commission formulates policy for the Colorado Department of Agriculture and advises the governor and state legislature on agricultural issues.
Despite a relatively quiet session, there was movement on many bill tracked by CFB this week. We expect to see the “Long Bill” (the State’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12) out by next week. It will be heard first in the Senate. That is when the real work will begin.
Behind every American farm family is the backbone of the operation: the farm mom. Monsanto is honoring her contributions to her family, farm, community and industry with the 2011 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program.
Farm moms make valuable contributions in the field, and often they are also bookkeepers, cooks, teachers, FFA advisers, 4-H leaders, veterinarians, drivers, mentors, spokespeople and volunteers.
“Farm moms do it all, from supporting their family farming operations to bettering their communities, all while raising the next generation of America’s farmers,” says Chris Chavis, Monsanto spokeswoman for the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program. “In addition, today’s farm women are passionate advocates for the industry. They work long hours and often go unrecognized for all their efforts. This program is our way to thank farm women everywhere for everything they do.”
Applications will be accepted through Mother’s Day at AmericasFarmers.com. Five regional winners will be announced on May 16, when winners’ profiles and nominations will be posted on the website. Each regional winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto, and the farm mom receiving the most online votes by May 26 will receive an additional $2,500 and the title of America’s Farmers Mom of the Year 2011.