Weekly ag briefs: Lower Ark Valley Basin tour announced, new Colorado state vet announced and more

Compiled by Candace Krebs
Jersey cow in green field.

Lower Ark Valley basin tour announced

Registration is now open for the June 3 annual tour of the Lower Arkansas River Basin tour, hosted by Water Education Colorado. This year’s tour will be held via Zoom, expanding the accessibility among water professionals, ag producers, educators, elected officials and interested community members who regularly attend. The tour will take in sites between Pueblo Reservoir and John Martin Reservoir, giving participants an up-close look at regional water-related activities. The itinerary will showcase water quality projects, agricultural operations, alternative transfer methods (ATMs), interstate compact considerations, the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, municipal, environmental and recreational priorities, and more. There will also be an interactive Q&A opportunity with tour speakers, and a post-tour networking event. The cost is $125 for members and $150 for non-members, with a limited number of scholarships available based on need.

Hydropower workshop offered

Colorado Ag Water Alliance is hosting a hydropower workshop on May 13 at 12 noon MST. Sam Anderson, an energy specialist with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, will discuss the ACRE3 Program, which provides financial and technical assistance to help agricultural producers upgrade their irrigation systems to more efficiently use water and save energy. The project promotes converting flood-irrigated fields to sprinkler irrigation with integrated hydropower.

CLA announces plans for annual meeting

The Colorado Livestock Association will hold its annual meeting June 2-3 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Greeley. Speakers will include Mike Thoren, of Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, beef columnist Amanda Radke and Colorado State University animal science specialist Keith Belk, as well as Chris Brown, representing the Common Sense Institute. A lead-off panel on Wednesday will address the topic of how to “reach beyond the choir.” The event also includes a trade show and business meeting.

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CCA convention to be held in Grand Junction

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association is taking registrations for its annual convention, to be held June 21-23 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Grand Junction. The three-day event will get the industry back to business with committee meetings, policy discussions, educational information, and local, state, and federal updates. The 4th annual Ranching Legacy Symposium will be held Tuesday, allowing attendees to hear industry updates from the association’s state and federal partners. A current issues breakfast will be held on Wednesday. Find more info or register at ColoradoCattle.org.

Junior Angus show heads to Nebraska this year

The National Junior Angus Show will be held July 10-17 in Grand Island, Nebraska. The ownership and early entry deadline is May 15, while the late entry deadline is May 25. Many contests are being offered during the event, including photography, graphic design, writing, beef science poster, public speaking, cattle judging, showmanship and career development. In addition, there will be a chance for juniors to test their skills in the kitchen at the annual American Angus Auxiliary-sponsored All-American Certified Angus Beef Cook-off. Visit the NJAA website for more information on contest deadlines, or contact the events and education department at 816-383-5100.

New Colorado state veterinarian named

Colorado has named its first-ever female state veterinarian for Colorado. Maggie Baldwin will manage Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health division, which includes directing and executing all programs, policies and cooperative agreements with other governmental agencies, as well as implementation of secure food supply plans and emergency response plans, enhanced animal disease traceability and educational activities. Baldwin earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota and grew up in a small town in rural west central Minnesota.

Oregon ballot initiative raises concern

An Oregon ballot initiative proposed for 2022 would effectively criminalize the farming of food animals in the state by classifying their slaughter as aggravated abuse and redefining artificial insemination and castration as sexual assault. Initiative Petition 13, filed with Oregon elections officials in November, would remove farmer exemptions from existing laws barring animal cruelty and specifically target practices used for “breeding domestic, livestock, and equine animals.” The initiative’s sponsor, End Animal Cruelty, has already started collecting signatures with the goal of making Oregon a “sanctuary state for animals.”

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First class of vet students to attend Texas Tech

The newest U.S. veterinary school will open in August with an inaugural class of 60 students from Texas and New Mexico. The Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine is the nation’s 33rd program of its kind. The Texas Tech veterinary school is headquartered in Amarillo and is adjacent to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. A satellite campus, Mariposa Station, is two miles away and will focus on livestock medicine.

RFID tracking draws pushback

R-CALF USA, based in Billings, Montana, insists cattle producers have a right to use traditional low-cost methods for animal identification and traceability, even though USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service is citing growing support from companies like Tyson Foods in requiring radio frequency identification ear tags for tracking purposes. Represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a legal nonprofit, R-CALF filed a lawsuit that is now pending with the U.S. District Court in Wyoming, arguing that USDA and APHIS failed to comply with the federal statutory requirements in establishing and using two advisory committees to gather information necessary to implement an RFID ear tag mandate. The Wyoming legislature is also concerned. Legislators in that state recently passed a bill allowing livestock producers to use a wide range of ID methods in addition to RFID tags.

AFBF: Bring back food boxes

American Farm Bureau Federation is criticizing USDA’s decision to end the Farmers to Families Food Box program. “AFBF was surprised to learn of Secretary Vilsack’s decision to end the Farmers to Families Food Box program,” said president Zippy Duvall, a farmer from Georgia, in a statement. “The pandemic had a devastating effect on farmers, ranchers and families across the country when schools, cafeterias and restaurants shut down. More than 150 million food boxes were produced and helped America’s families suffering from the hardships caused by COVID-19. The need is still there.”

Compiled by Candace Krebs.