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.
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)
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.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, left, meets with Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar, middle, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
Remove barriers to trade, foreign markets, red tape and get out of the way. That was the basis of most of the comments at Governor Hickenloopers’ Economic Development Summit this week in Greeley. As part of his bottom-up economic development strategy, the Governor hosted a day-long Summit on rural and economic development at UNC in Greeley. Attending the meeting along with the Governor was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar.
Red tape and other barriers to business and commerce were a recurring theme throughout the many sessions on various aspects of economic development.
Roundup Ready Alfalfa opponents protest in front of the meeting hall.
“It’s difficult to differentiate red tape and what is an appropriate regulation,” Hickenlooper said in addressing the problem. To do that, he said, he wants to find ways to help business grow while holding the state at the highest level of accountability and ethics. He also wants to assure that the state is pro-business but is also intent on protecting the state’s natural resources.
Vilsack addressed the red tape and regulation complaints by noting the federal government has been given a reality check and that it must become more fiscally responsible and use resources more effectively to “create economic opportunities.”
Agriculture, Vilsack said, was the one bright spot in the recession the country is now starting to move out of. He noted that the export of agricultural products is expected to increase again this year after seeing the same from 2010. Those exports, he said, generate jobs.
(Image: Jim Rydbom, Greeley Tribune)
Join the conversation!
The Governor’s Office and the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade has partnered with Colorado State University’s Office of Engagement and Extension to engage Coloradoans in a statewide conversation about Economic Development.
Governor Hickenlooper is asking for residents across the State, county by county, to share their stories, challenges, and strengths by developing a strategic economic development plan for their county. These county plans will then be rolled up into 14 regional economic development plans, which collectively will be rolled up into a statewide economic development plan.
You are invited to actively participate in your county’s economic development planning processes. Provide input and ideas and ask friends, family, neighbors and others to participate as well. Attend planning meetings, take the online survey at www.advancecolorado.com or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, please take advantage of an online economic development survey to help communicate your ideas about how to revitalize your local economy. http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/462074/County-Economic-Development-Self-Assessment-Survey
The results from the state’s on-line survey will be compiled by county and provided to each county. In support of the bottom-up approach, each county will determine its use and the relevance of such information.
New research reveals that farm kids have lower asthma rates than city kids because they are exposed to a wide range of microbes. School-aged children in the studies who lived on farms were about 30 percent to 50 percent less likely to have asthma than non-farm children who lived nearby.
Farm kids were also exposed to more bacteria and fungi than the other children, according to the study appearing in the Feb. 24 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The research shows that exposure to bacteria and fungi from environmental sources like dirt and animal hair early in life protects against asthma and allergies by helping the immune system develop normally.
Rising crop prices are helping farmland values climb in the Midwest, according to a report released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The value of irrigated cropland jumped 14.8 percent, while the value of non-irrigated cropland moved up 12.9 percent, compared to last year.
The bank’s quarterly survey of the 10th District region, which covers western Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado and northern New Mexico, revealed that farmland prices rose for the fifth consecutive quarter since a drop in the third quarter of 2009, when the livestock sector was contracting due to the recession.
There is concern that farmland values may be climbing too high. “Bankers in the survey were starting to raise questions about the sustainability of farmland values and are paying closer attention to their loan-to-value ratios,” said Brian Briggeman, an economist at the Omaha branch of the Kansas City Fed.