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.
Mike Barnett of Texas Agriculure Talks, the Texas Farm Bureau blog, wrote today about some important aspects of the agriculture industry that consumers need to know. His comments are apropos of March 15, National Agriculture Day.
Mike says that while there is no shortage of safe and wholesome food in this country, there are those who would bite the hand that feeds them. He says that there are 5 things that may be hard truths for ag critics to stomach, but they are truths nonetheless.
- • Farmers use pesticides—even organic farmers. Pesticides may be a natural part of the plant, may be made from another plant, or may be synthetic in nature. Pesticides are regulated by the government and are evaluated for their effects on human health and environment. They are safely and judiciously used by farmers and ranchers to ward off crop and livestock disease problems.
- • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not evil. Genetic improvement—through traditional plant breeding techniques as well as genetic modification in the lab—has allowed our food and fiber supply to keep pace with a surging world population.
- • The bacon, eggs and milk you had for breakfast this morning likely came from a pig, chicken and dairy cow that was raised in a confined feeding operation. In that confined operation, the pig, chicken or dairy cow had an excellent health plan, good groceries and protection from bad weather and predators.
- • Farmers make profits. Farmers make money by taking care of their land and water resources. They bank those resources to ensure future generations can continue the rich heritage of growing food and fiber.
- • The average farmer in the United States feeds 155 people. Two-thirds of those people are Americans. The other third are people across the globe.
America is a lucky nation.
Our food is abundant. Our food is safe. Our food is affordable.
From this little corner of cyberspace, I salute farmers and ranchers. They are the reason America enjoys food security. They are the reason we celebrate National Agriculture Day.
We would agree.
The Colorado General Assembly will present a House Joint Resolution, sponsored by Rep. Sonnenberg and Sen. Schwartz, on Wednesday, March 16th, in recognition of National Ag Week and in celebrating National Ag Day in Colorado.
At Noon there will be a press conference on the West Steps of the State Capitol followed by a sandwich lunch prepared by members of the Colorado Ag Council.
Press Conference Agenda
Alistair Polson (center right) and Terry Meikle (far right) met with CFB leadership this week to discuss trade.
Yesterday, Don Shawcroft and Troy Bredenkamp met with Alistair Polson, New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy and Terry Meikle, the New Zealand Embassy’s Secretary for Trade and Agriculture. The meeting was an informal way to share about agriculture issues from two countries across the Pacific Ocean from each other. Mr. Shawcroft and Mr. Bredenkamp provided a survey of Colorado agriculture and the issues we face. Mr. Polson was particularly interested in Colorado’s water administration system and how water is balanced between ag and urban needs.
Mr. Polson, himself a sheep and cattle rancher in New Zealand, spoke about his countries support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and asked that Colorado farmers and ranchers support the effort. The TPP is a trade agreement between 9 Pacific Rim nations. Is is currently in the negotiation stage and the 6th round will take place at the end of this month.
The TPP could open up many Pacific nations to U.S. goods, services and agricultural products.
Mr. Polson met with the Commissioner John Stulp, Leprino Cheese, JBS Swift, and other ag groups during his two day tour of Colorado.
CFB member and former CFB communications intern Elisa Sagehorn was recently profiled in the Holyoke Enterprise over her involvement with ag education and promotion. Elisa is a National Collegiate Ag ambassador and member of the Colorado Young Farmers Education Association. As part of both organizations Sagehorn educates the public in Colorado about agriculture and the rural lifestyle.
Sagehorn said as a presenter, spokesperson and ambassador for agriculture, she absolutely loves working with individuals across the state of Colorado and beyond.
“It’s given me the key to switch over my career,” said the 2008 HHS grad, noting she is now an ag education major at CSU.
With Sagehorn’s new role as an Ag Ambassador, she is excited to take on this “challenge” of agricultural literacy. She mentioned the road is going to be a long one, but programs like USDA’s Agriculture in the Classroom and National FFA’s Food for America are great starting points.
Read the entire piece at the Holyoke Enterprise online.
Heeding President Shawcroft’s call to increase Farm Bureau activity at the local level, members of the Moffat County Farm Bureau are lobbying their county commissioners for a measure they say would help to improve the ag economy in the county.
Moffat County Farm Bureau Board Member Brent Brighton requested that Commissioners consider implementing a county agricultural sales tax exemption. Brighton asked the county waive the 2-percent county sales tax on agricultural equipment purchased by qualified farmers and ranchers.
The measure would have to go before voters.
The strength of Farm Bureau is vibrant county farm bureaus that expand their influence at the local level. Moffat County Farm Bureau has made a superb first effort. Please contact your regional manager for assistance in developing a local affairs program.
Its that time again! Celebrate spring with the CFB Women’s Leadership Committee’s 2011 Women’s Leadership Conference in Glenwood Springs.
There will be speakers on becoming better ‘ag-vocates’ for agriculture, workshops to help you in your business and personal life and “funshops”, – learning and sharing with other women in agriculture. Plan a family vacation to historic Glenwood and the Hot Springs! An optional tour on Saturday, April 2nd includes a ride on the gondola, followed by lunch and a tour of Glenwood Caverns. Family welcome!