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Agriculture in brief: Events, elections and a new meat alternative

Compiled by Candace Krebs

Marshall Frasier Beef Symposium offered in virtual format

The annual Marshall Frasier Beef Symposium, typically held in Hugo, will be conducted virtually on Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., according to the Colorado Livestock Association.

Speakers will include Troy Applehans, a market specialist with CattleFax; Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; and Doug Stanton, senior vice president of sales and business development for Where Food Comes From Inc.

Will Johnson, with Flying Diamond Ranch headquartered at Kit Carson, will lead them in a panel discussion. KKTV’s chief meteorologist Brian Bledsoe will also present a weather outlook.

High Plains No-Till Conference moved to August

The Colorado Conservation Tillage Association’s 33rd Annual High Plains No-Till Conference, originally slated for February, has been postponed until August.

The postponement was required due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and regulations preventing the event from being held without severe limitations.

The future event will be held in Burlington, Colorado, as initially planned. Find updates and sponsorship opportunities online at www.HighPlainsNoTill.com.

Pork election planned

The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2022 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 9 a.m. Feb. 22 in conjunction with the 2021 annual meeting of Colorado Pork Producers Council at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Brush.

Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due can be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the check-off deducted.

For more information, contact Colorado Pork Producers Council, P.O. Box 116, Lucerne, CO 80631 or (970) 356-4964.

Fruit and vegetable growers association announces speakers

Kimbal Musk, chef, restauranteur, philanthropist and “real food” entrepreneur, will open the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association’s 7th Annual Conference the morning of Feb. 17.

Participants can expect an informal keynote address where Musk will discuss his experiences with entrepreneurship and working with farmers to source food for his restaurants. His presentation will be followed with a live webinar Q&A session.

Day two of the virtual conference, Feb. 18, will kick off with an address from Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. She is expected to discuss the state of Colorado agriculture, pivots made by the Colorado Department of Agriculture because of the coronavirus pandemic and what consumers and farmers can expect in 2021.

Colorado ag department seeks marketing specialist

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is seeking a senior marketing specialist.

The new hire will replace Wendy White, longtime director of the Colorado Proud program, who left late last year to pursue other opportunities.

The department seeks candidates experienced with marketing programs and/or producer-funded research and promotion.

Applications are being accepted through Jan. 25.

CSU hosts symposium on infectious disease

The CERES Coalition and Colorado State University will host a virtual symposium on Thursday, Jan. 28, from noon to 3 p.m., addressing biosecurity, infectious disease and the animal-human interface.

The event will be held on Zoom and requires pre-registration.

Speakers from industry, government and higher education will explore parallels between the current COVID-19 pandemic and pathogen outbreaks in the agricultural sector and discuss strategies and innovations to improve preparedness, response, recovery and resiliency.

Speakers will include Bill Even, chief executive officer at National Pork; Ethan Lane, chief executive officer at National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; James Lawler, director of international programs and innovation at the Global Center for Health Security at the University of Nebraska Medical Center; Juergen Richt, Regents Distinguished Professor, Kansas State University; and Tom Vilsack, nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wheat acreage, price both trend higher

According to a recent wheat seedings report from USDA, wheat farmers planted 4 percent more acres to hard red winter wheat in fall 2020 than a year ago, for a total of 22.3 million acres.

Leading the way with increased acres planted was Kansas, with 7.3 million acres, up 11 percent from a year ago.

Despite the higher acreage, drought and a poor crop outlook have been pushing prices higher in recent days.

‘Air-based’ joins growing list of meat alternatives

A Pleasanton, California startup is reportedly making meat out of thin air.

Air Protein starts with elements from the air — carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen — and combines them with water and mineral nutrients. Next, they use renewable energy and a probiotic production process to convert those elements into essential amino acids. This results in “a nutritious source of protein with the same amino acid profile as animal protein,” the company says.

To give it texture and flavor similar to meat, the startup uses "a combination of culinary techniques" including pressure and temperature, in a process the company compares to “turning wheat flour into pasta.”

The protein can be manufactured in only a few days, which makes it "highly scalable and extremely planet-friendly," the company claims.

— Compiled by Candace Krebs