AKRON, CO – April 24, 2015 – Ed Asfeld recently joined CSU’s Crops Testing Program as our new agronomist. He is replacing Jim Hain, who spent over 30 years working with the Crops Testing program and retired in February. Ed is based at the USDA-ARS Central Great Plains Research Station in Akron, Colorado. He will plant and harvest multiple crop variety trials across eastern Colorado, including trials of wheat, corn, sunflower, grain sorghum, and oilseeds. He also repairs and maintains equipment, machinery, and vehicles valued at nearly $1 million that are used in the program. As the principal field person for the Crops Testing program, Ed will work with graduate students, Cooperative Extension agents, Agricultural Research Station personnel, and staff at CSU and other universities. He will also collaborate with area farmers, scientists, government representatives, and crop commodity groups. Continue reading
New ID Requirements Reduce Stress on Animals, Costs for Producers
The new directive replaces the branding requirement with a new rule that allows producers to identify animals with an approved RFID (Radio Frequency) tag compliant with the U.S. National Animal Identification System, and a secondary ear tag bearing the official identification number.
First year 4-H members typically enroll in one or two projects and focus their efforts on the county level with the hope of expanding to the state or national stage in the future. Angelina Rose Downing enrolled in her first year, 2013-2014, with an eye on the local and national stages. Within the first three months of becoming a 4-H member she had signed up for three projects, attended a regional camp, and had signed up to participate in the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) annual Catch a Calf Contest (CAC).
The NWSS CAC program is open to 4-H members from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Applicants apply to the program and if selected, travel to NWSS and attempt to catch a calf, halter it, and then lead it back to the starting line. This sounds easy enough, right? The kicker is that you are in the Coliseum during a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) rodeo performance in front of thousands of rodeo fans, there are more kids than calves let loose in the arena, and the calves weigh over 250 pounds and are not halter broken. It is a true example of a calf scramble and a race to the finish. Downing stepped up the plate during her matinee slotted time with a determined look and fought to the finish, however, she was unable to halter a calf. That night she and her family sat down and reviewed strategy and the next day she was the first one to catch a calf. Continue reading
BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO (March 24th, 2015) – Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education continues to be a priority for U.S. school districts. Investing now is vitally important, as the fastest-growing occupations require STEM proficiency. Joining the Colorado Ag News Network inside the BARN by telephone is Heather Wolfe, Customer Advocacy Manager with Monsanto’s AMerica’s Grow Rural Education Program…
Between now and April 1, 2015, farmers can nominate a public school district in their community to apply for a $10,000 or $25,000 grant.
For more information about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program and to view the official rules, a list of eligible states, counties and CRDs, visit www.GrowRuralEducation.com.
About the Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.
WELD COUNTY, CO – The Weld County Board of Commissioners and Weld County Extension Office are pleased to announce the addition of Kim Sterkel to the 4-H Extension team. Sterkel was hired as a part-time extension employee to fill the Weld County 4-H Foundation Jean Hoshiko Memorial Endowment position. She will work to expand the reach of 4-H in Weld County and develop new educational opportunities for Weld County 4-H members.
4-H is a development organization that offers more than 50 projects and community service opportunities in areas including clothing construction and apparel, foods and nutrition, large and small animal care and training, wildlife, leadership, citizenship, wind power, electronics and model rocketry. 4-H teaches decision making, record keeping, good health practices, public speaking and other life skills to all kids ages 5-18.
“4-H is a great program for kids of all ages,” said Commissioner Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer, herself a former 10-year 4-H member. “It provides many activities that help kids learn and grow as individuals.” Continue reading
(Chevy Chase, MD) March 10, 2015 – National 4-H Council, along with 4-H National Headquarters, NIFA and USDA, has awarded Kelly Seelhoff with the 2015 Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year Award in the West region. Seelhoff was selected over candidates from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington. This prestigious award is presented annually to the volunteer in the region who exhibits exceptional commitment and contributions to 4-H and the community.
As the winner, Seelhoff will receive a customized plaque, a donation in her name to the 4-H Club of her choice and nationwide recognition from National 4-H Council.
Seelhoff earned the award for her exemplary work as a club leader of the Wranglers 4-H Club in Larimer County. She has a passion for helping others, which is demonstrated in her commitment to positive youth development and community service. She’s mentored youth members of the Wrangler 4-H Club providing leadership and guidance, and has contributed to the growth of the club’s membership. Continue reading
Once every three years, the 4-H Western Region holds a Western Region 4-H Institute. The basic idea of the Institute is to provide a high quality 4-H staff development conference that is applicable to all states in the Western Region. The training is designed for 4-H professionals within Extension that have been on the job for less than 5 years. Registration for the 2015 event was limited to 100 participants across the 13 western states.
Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado 4-H Foundation worked together to send twelve delegates from the state of Colorado. Two of the selected agents were Mallory Sikes, representing Baca County 4-H Programs, and Barry Acton, representing Crowley and Otero County 4-H Programs.
The focus of the weeklong event included education and training in the areas of youth program development, volunteer development framework, building learning communities, team building, facilitation, relationship building, creating safe environments, life skills, essential elements, and ages and stages of 4-H youth. According to Mallory Sikes, “The Western 4-H Institute was an excellent experience. The training attended helped provide a strong foundation from which I am excited to continue building and growing the Baca County 4-H Programs and help bring greater success to the Southeast Area by way of youth development.”
By making the event a multi-state effort, The Western 4-H Institute was able to educate a greater number of agents across 13 states, utilizing a limited amount of staff development resources. The training also provided a great platform to share ideas between counties and across states, better increasing the productivity and breadth of 4-H Youth Development ideas.
Submitted to BARN Media by: Continue reading
I am writing this email so that you know that I’ll be retiring (I think I’m graduating from CSU Extension) in mid-March. My last official day at work will be 19 March. I’ll celebrate my new beginnings with new adventures and self-defined work on the Spring Equinox, March 20th. Until then I welcome your questions and comments about Colorado State Extension and/or Cropping Systems & Natural Resource topics.
Two retirement celebrations are planned in both Logan and Morgan Counties (see attached flyers)
My Extension career has been filled with many satisfying accomplishments. The best of these has been to experience the personal growth and accomplishments of those I’ve worked with. Many of my farmer collaborators and customers have enhanced their willingness to follow their curiosity with learning. Some have extended this by designing and implementing their own on-farm experiments and trying new research based production and cropping systems techniques.
For me the most rewarding impact from my contacts has been to see people become leaders among their peers. These individuals share their trial results and experiences with other farm producers. Their leadership has helped themselves and others to enhance the profitability and sustainability of their farm operations. These and those who they’ve touched have become life-long learners. They continue to stretch boundaries and tinker with alternative crop production methods and cropping systems.
I’ve been blessed to have been mentored by and worked with a wonderful collection of far thinking farmers and Exemplary Colorado State research and Extension faculty as well as USDA Agricultural Research scientists. With their generous collaborations and guidance, I’ve received a full complement of Extension and University honors. I look forward to having the time to pursue my other life goals which include: Continue reading
West Greeley Conservation District to offer scholarships
WGCD offers four high school scholarships each year to high school students in Weld County pursuing a career in natural resources or agriculture. They include one $2500 and three $1000 scholarships.
WGCD also offers a $5000 scholarship to college students in their third year or grad school at UNC, CSU, or School of Mines pursuing a career in natural resources.
The applications are due to WGCD office March 5, 2015.
To learn more please visit: www.wgcd.org.
A Roadmap to Soil Health
By Wilma Trujillo
Soil heath and quality is a lot like the weather. People talk about it, few understand it, and still fewer do anything about it. At least that has been the case in recent years.
For too long the concept of soil as part of the environment that needs protection has been neglected or misunderstood by the public and policymakers. In the 1970s, we recognized the need to clean up the air we breathe. In the 1980s, we recognized the need to clean up the water we drink. In the 1990s and 2000’s, we acknowledged problems in the soil and started studying specifically soil quality (soil functions)
As stated in the June 1995 issue of Agronomy News, the simplest definition for soil quality is “the capacity (of soil) to function”. An expanded version of this definition presents soil quality as “the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation.” In 2013, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) redefined soil health as the capacity of a soil to maintain its function and flow of ecosystem services given a specific set of physical, chemical, and environmental boundaries.
With respect to agriculture, the terms soil quality and soil health are used interchangeably to mean “the soil’s fitness to support crop growth without becoming degraded or otherwise harming the environment.
To understand soil health and how cultivation impacts it, we need to define soil. Soil is a heterogeneous natural body. It basically consists of solid particles (mineral particles), organic matter, water and air. Organic matter is one of the smallest components of the soil system, but plays an essential role in maintaining soil health/functions. Soil organic matter is derived from living organisms, such as plants and animals, and their by-products in the soil environment. When organic matter decomposes, it is transformed into different pools as sources of plant nutrients at various degrees of availability and eventually forms humus, the central building block of healthy soil. Therefore, the maintenance of soil organic matter is critical to the health and productivity of the soil; providing a stable soil physical structure for water storage, nutrient exchange with plant roots, aeration and a healthy microbial community will enhance soil health for healthy plant growth.
Four broad principles are used to sustainably maintain or improve soil health: Continue reading
Colby, Kan., Weld Central, Colo. Contestants Shine, $4,600 in Scholarships Doled Out
The 2015 Colorado Farm Show will award seven graduating high school seniors a total of $13,000 to help with their higher education goals. Six $2,000 Chuck Urano Memorial Scholarships and one $1,000 Colorado Farm Show Scholarship will be awarded on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at a banquet held in the recipients’ honor at the Events Center at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, CO. The Chuck Urano Memorial Scholarship was established in 1992 to honor the late founder of the Colorado Farm Show. To date, over $136,000 in scholarships have been awarded in his name to Colorado graduating Seniors pursuing careers in Agriculture.
The 2015 Chuck Urano Memorial Scholarship recipients are: Jessica Rossi of Phippsburg, Kayla Frink of Eaton, Drew Whittington of Fleming, Susanne Sutton of Pierce, Jenna Frink of Eaton, and Jaydee Johnston of Grover, CO. Cullen Stevens of LaSalle, CO will be awarded the Colorado Farm Show Scholarship.
CHECK OUT THE WINNERS BELOW…
Areas often known for their mild winters can still be hit with a major snowstorm or extreme cold and wind. Many residents of southeastern Colorado were caught off guard when severe blizzard conditions struck in December of 2006. For most, memories of livestock loss and property damage as well as the rescue efforts and recovery that followed well into 2007, will not soon be forgotten. Similar incidences of wind, snow, and cold also resulted in major cattle losses in an early October storm located in South Dakota in 2013.
With last week’s extremely cold temperatures throughout Colorado, winter, is far from over. It is important that people are prepared to protect themselves, their families, and their livestock from the hazards of severe winter weather. In addition to normal emergency preparedness, there are tips and reminders that can help with preparing for or protecting yourself and your livestock should you encounter severe winter storms.
The Colorado Corn Growers Association recently partnered with the Air MedCare Network to offer all of our members the option of a discounted membership with Air MedCare. The Air MedCare Network is the country’s largest network of air ambulance. They are in 28 states with over 220 bases, and have five bases in Colorado.
If someone is in a life- or limb-threatening emergency, and they are more than 45 minutes away from a Level 2 trauma center, 911 and/or first responders will likely decide the patient needs to be flown. Air ambulances significantly cut response time to save lives but are extremely expensive, at an average transport cost of $25,000. Insurance typically covers just a small portion of these exorbitant costs.
- SEA STEM Education (Southeast Colorado … Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers counties) – $6,020
- Growing 4-H in Clear Creek County – $6,000
- CSU Denver County Extension Embryology Program – $1,456
- Evaluating a Multi-County Program Effort – Embryology (Adams, Broomfield, Cheyenne, Douglas, Elbert, Jefferson, Logan, Morgan, Prowers and Washington counties) – $1,000
The Colorado 4-H Foundation has $10,000 to award counties/areas grants for new and expanding 4-H programs for 2015. The funding is made possible through 4-H Foundation raffle proceeds, a $2,500 donation from Colorado Corn and other Foundation resources.
To learn more about the CO 4H – CLICK HERE
To learn more about the CO 4H Foundation – CLICK HERE
Southeast Area—Prowers County 4-H is sending a Catch a Calf contestant, market swine and goat exhibitors to the annual National Western Stock Show (NWSS) January 9-25. This year Angelina Downing; Dalton and Coen Lewis, and Lexy and Sterling Koehn, and Makendra, Makenzie and Makayla Torres will exhibit their livestock. Leandra Melgoza will be showing market goats too.
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Effective January 1, 2015, fees through the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Brand Inspection Division will increase. The fee increase includes cattle, horse, and sheep inspection; licenses and permits; brand registration fees/estray fees; brand assessment fees; and cancelled brand reinstatement fees.
“The Brand Inspection Division’s job is to protect Colorado’s $3 billion livestock industry from loss by theft or straying,” said CDA’s Brand Commissioner, Chris Whitney. “Brand inspection fees have not increased since 2005; meanwhile, the livestock market has changed dramatically and the cost of providing the services the industry expects from us has increased. The new fees are a reflection of those changes.”
The brand assessment fee was last increased in 2012; the new fee will be effective in 2017. Fees collected on behalf of the Colorado Beef Council and Colorado Horse Development Authority will not change. For a complete list of the new fees, visit www.colorado.gov/agbrands.
Extensive meetings were held with the Brand Board and livestock industry groups to discuss the market changes and their impact on division services. Following those meetings and discussions, the increases were unanimously supported by industry representatives at a public rule making hearing on October 15, 2014.
Colorado law and regulations require that livestock (including cattle, calves, horses, mules, donkeys, burros and, when requested, sheep), whether or not they are branded, be inspected before: Continue reading
By Steve Suther
People in the cattle business, especially those with cow-calf herds, are enjoying per-head income levels unimagined even a few years ago.
A glance at the corn market may remind them things can change, but a University of Missouri white paper says they can take action now to stay on a higher profit plane.
“Should Beef Quality Grade be a Priority?” That’s the title of a Master’s Thesis by Jillian Steiner and economist Scott Brown, which says quality drives the beef industry and holds the key to maintaining price strength. See the paper at http://www.cabpartners.com/news/research.php.
Elasticity of demand and price flexibility are two economic measures that point to USDA Prime and premium Choice brands as “luxuries” in some sense of the word. Yet, as beef herds rebuild, producers who aim for the premium targets are more likely to find buyers at higher prices in the future, the paper says.
Alfalfa remains one of Colorado’s major forage crops, despite the drought conditions experienced in the last three years. In 2012, alfalfa production in Colorado was 10% lower than the total production in 2011 and 2010.
Easily, the yield decrease could be attributed to the effect of drought; however, it is important to recognize other factors that affect alfalfa yield and quality. Crop nutrition and the conditions for an adequate supply of nutrients are factors that are also critical for alfalfa production.
In most of Colorado, alfalfa grows from early spring to late fall. This long growth season results in a continuous demand of nutrients. Based on several research studies, alfalfa removes about 51 lb. of N, 12 lb. of P2O5, 49 lb. of K2O and 5 lb. of S with each ton of production and cutting. Since alfalfa is a nitrogen fixing crop, the nitrogen requirements could be met through the symbiotic association with rhizobium. In contrast, phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients are rapidly depleted from the alfalfa fields if not supplied by fertilization.
Phosphorus (P) is critical for successful establishment and root growth development. It is relatively immobile when added to the soil and bonds tightly on very high pH soils (pH > 7.5) making it unavailable to plants. Phosphorus uptake is from the top 6 to 8 inches of the soil. Since P is immobile, alfalfa responds better to incorporated/banded applications than to topdressing applications.
Scholarship program promotes careers in agriculture across 40 states
ST.LOUIS, Mo. (December 12, 2014) – America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders is now launching in 40 states, including in Colorado, with more than $500,000 worth of scholarships available. Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the program provides $1,500 college scholarships to students pursuing a degree related to agriculture. Starting Nov. 15, high school seniors and college students in Colorado and other eligible states can apply for this opportunity.
Farmers know the rewards of a career in agriculture, but many of today’s youth may not. Luckily, there is an abundance of evidence that agriculture is a smart career choice. According to the USDA, nearly 55,000 jobs in agriculture are available every year. Many of the nation’s largest land-grant institutions, such as Penn State and Texas A&M University, report job placement rates above 90% for their ag students.
Grow Ag Leaders helps engage future generations in agriculture by raising awareness of the broad range of career opportunities in the industry and by supporting their college education. The program was created in response to farmer requests to keep rural youth involved in agriculture. Farmers can participate in the program by encouraging students in their community to apply for a scholarship and by endorsing their application. Because farmers play a crucial role in the industry, each applicant is required to obtain endorsements from at least three local farmers.