Agriculture in brief: Meetings go virtual

Compiled by Candace Krebs

Colorado Cattlemen mid-winter meeting being held virtually

Due to Colorado’s enhanced gathering restrictions, Colorado Cattlemen's Association will implement an alternative virtual event for its 2021 Mid-Winter Conference from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The revised event will provide agency and specialist updates, steering committee discussions, a business session and a state-of-the- industry/association briefing. The virtual meeting is complimentary to all attendees.

For more information or to register, reach out to the CCA office at (303) 431-6422.

Application for USDA specialty grants open now

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. USDA partners with state departments of agriculture through the annual grant program to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in areas including promotion, education, research, trade and nutrition.

Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture and sod.

CDA anticipates that approximately $700,000 will be available for this year’s grant awards, with approved projects scheduled to start in early 2022.

Applications are due Feb. 15. For more information, contact Jennifer Benson at the Ag Department at 303-869-9173.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association plans online winter event

Brand new for 2021, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is hosting a two-day virtual event for cattlemen and women across the country to come together for industry news, updates, education and networking.

The 2021 Cattle Industry Convention Winter Reboot is scheduled for Feb. 23-24 and intended to serve as a kickoff event for the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show scheduled to take place later this year, Aug. 10-12 in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

Pandemic effects mental health, survey shows

Two in three farmers or farmworkers say the pandemic has impacted their mental health, according to a recent American Farm Bureau poll. More than half say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges compared with a year ago.

The survey explores how the pandemic has affected mental health, as well as how attitudes and experiences around mental health have changed since AFBF conducted its first rural mental health survey in 2019.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall said the organization was stepping up efforts to encourage conversations about stress and mental health and providing free training and resources.

Wheat film available online

U.S. Wheat Associates debuted a new film this week titled “Wholesome: The Journey of U.S. Wheat,” which shows how people in the export supply system maintain the wholesome, reliable quality of U.S. wheat.

The film premiered Tuesday on the U.S. Wheat Associates Facebook page, where it remains available for viewing.

National Grain and Feed Association names new chief executive

The National Grain and Feed Association announced that Michael J. Seyfert would be its next president and chief executive officer. Seyfert will take over on March 1, succeeding Randy Gordon, who is retiring after serving nearly 43 years with the association.

Seyfert will become only the seventh person to serve in the CEO capacity at NGFA since it was founded in 1896. Seyfert has extensive corporate and government experience, including as director of government and industry affairs for FMC Corp., the world's fifth largest crop protection company. Prior to joining FMC, Seyfert worked on the staff of former Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, capped off by two years as staff director of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

He received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude in agricultural economics and was a member of the Agriculture Honors Program at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, and subsequently earned a master of public administration degree from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

EPA nominee reaches out to agriculture organizations

Michael Regan, President-elect Joe Biden's designate for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, hosted a virtual roundtable on Jan. 5 with more than 16 leaders of major farm organizations.

According to reports, administrator-designate Regan used the call to describe his own experiences growing up in eastern North Carolina and his understanding of the importance of both protecting environmental quality and supporting the economic health of rural communities.

Regan’s grandfather was a small farmer in Bladen County, North Carolina, growing corn, tobacco, peanuts and soybeans and also raising pork and poultry.

The virtual roundtable included officers or staff from American Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and several other prominent agricultural groups.

U.S. imports in China keep rising

Bloomberg News reports that China is stepping up U.S. imports, although it is still far from meeting its U.S. trade-deal commitments.

So far in the past year, the country has imported just over half of the American goods it promised to buy in the first year of the phase-one agreement.

China’s soybean imports are expected surge above 100 million tons in 2020-21, smashing the previous high set in the last marketing year.

Colorado seedstock producers receive award

Steve and Gail Fiolkoski of Pierce, Colorado, owners of SEGA Gelbvieh, were presented with the American Gelbvieh Association’s 2020 Breeder of the Year award in early December.

SEGA Gelbvieh’s seedstock operation specializes in Gelbvieh and Balancer genetics and focuses on producing cattle made for the high mountains and plains.

The operation offers a spring bull sale as well as a fall female sale that includes female consignments from other Gelbvieh producers.

Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association hires director for new program

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association has hired Sydnee Gerken as director of operations for Oklahoma Prairie Beef Solutions, a new entity of the OCA.

Oklahoma Prairie Beef Solutions was created to reward a premium to cattle producers who sell cull cows through the program. The ground beef product will be sold in Oklahoma retail stores around the state. 

Gerken is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and grew up on her family’s Angus cattle ranch near Cashion, Oklahoma. She is co-owner and operator of G3 Livestock Enterprises in partnership with her sisters.

— Compiled by Candace Krebs