02-27-15 CSU Ext Agent Bruce Bosley to Retire March 19th…Two events being held in his honor March 12th and 30th…

Bosley Retirement Party Sterling March 30thBosley Retirement Party Ft Morgan March 12Submitted by Bruce Bosley…


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

02-24-15 West Greeley Conservation District to offer scholarships due by March 5, 2015…

WGCD-West Greeley Conservation District logo

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.

Anyone interested in these scholarships please contact Pam Wright @ 970-356-8097, pam.wright@wgcd.org  and the application can be found on www.wgcd.org.

The applications are due to WGCD office March 5, 2015.

To learn more please visit: www.wgcd.org.

02-23-15 Celebrate National FFA Week Now Through Feb. 28th – Here’s How…

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Celebrate National FFA Week Now Through Feb. 28

Join more than 7,600 FFA chapters, 610,000 members and millions of former members and supporters ready to shine in the name of FFA and agricultural education!

>> Watch: A message from the 2014-15 National FFA Officer Team


Here’s how you can celebrate with us: Continue reading

“GO ALL OUT” during National FFA Week Feb 21-28…

Go All Out -  National FFA Week 2015

WATCH THE 2015 Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame and the BARN’s LIVE Webcast on Thursday, February 26th @ 6pm,

brought to you by the CO FFA Foundation & courtesy of BARN Media & the Colorado Ag News Network…

CLICK HERE to watch online
CLICK HERE to watch online Feb 26, 2015 @ 6pm…

Students use National FFA Week to share importance of agriculture, value of agricultural education, history of organization

INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, Feb. 23, 2015/National FFA Organization) – More than a half-million students in all 50 states will share the importance of agriculture in our daily lives, spread their passion for agriculture and host communitywide events to help others in need this week.

It’s National FFA Week and a host of activities are planned to raise awareness about the National FFA Organization and the role it plays in the development of the agriculture industry’s future leaders and the importance of agricultural education.

The week-long tradition started in 1948. Each year, National FFA Week runs Saturday to Saturday, encompassing President George Washington’s Feb. 22 birthday in recognition of Washington’s legacy as an agriculturist and farmer.

FFA was founded by a group of young farmers in 1928. Its mission is to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. Since the founding members the organization has taught generations that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting — it involves science, business and much more.

Today, FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet new agricultural challenges by helping members develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. Members prepare for careers as biologists, chemists, veterinarians, engineers and entrepreneurs.

National FFA Week is sponsored by Tractor Supply Co., National FFA Week activities can be followed on Twitter at #FFAweek.

According to responses on Facebook and Twitter, local FFA chapters plan to host parties in appreciation of their agriculture teachers and FFA advisors. Members will host local farmers’ markets, visit elementary and middle schools to talk about FFA and agricultural education, complete community-service projects, participate in spirit days at their schools to promote agricultural education and much more. A round-up of some planned National FFA Week activities include: Continue reading

02-20-15 *CSU Ext SEA News* A Roadmap to Soil Health by Wilma Trujillo…

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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

11-14-14 Colorado FFA Foundation Announces 2015 Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Inductees…

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The Colorado FFA Foundation announced today four inductees into the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.  Dr. Temple Grandin of Fort Collins, James “Jim” Odle of Brush, Don Rutledge of Yuma, and Robert Tuttle of Eckert will all be formally inducted into the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame in February at the annual Hall of Fame Banquet.

“The depth of our applicant pool made selection this year challenging.  We have so many people doing so many great things in agriculture in Colorado.  We are proud to add four more outstanding individuals to the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame“ said Dale McCall, Chairman of the Colorado FFA Foundation.

The Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame banquet is held in conjunction with the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture and is a prime opportunity to gauge the direction of the industry and learn about issues facing one of the largest industries in Colorado. Both the forum and the banquet are attended by industry and political leaders as well as family farmers and ranchers who lead and support the agriculture industry and its future.

Friends, peers and business associates will recognize the four inductees during the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet, Feb. 26, 2015, at the Renaissance Hotel, Denver.  The honorees will join 81 other outstanding Colorado agriculturists who have been similarly honored since 1989. All Agriculture Hall of Fame members’ portraits will be displayed at the CoBank Center for Agricultural Education at Colorado State University upon it’s completion.

Hosted by the Colorado FFA Foundation, the banquet is held yearly to induct members into the Agriculture Hall of Fame who have significantly contributed to Colorado’s second largest industry. A unique, multi-media presentation will highlight the life of each new inductee during the ceremony.

2015 Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame nominees: Continue reading

12-02-14 CO FFA Foundation Announces 2015 Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Rising Star Recipient: Dr James Pritchett…

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The Colorado FFA Foundation announced today the “Rising Star in Agriculture” recipient is Dr. James Pritchett, Associate Head and Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at CSU.  The award recognizes leadership in the Colorado agriculture industry.  “Rising Stars” must be between 35-50 years old and are voted on by all living members of the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.

“The Rising Star Award is very competitive and is a great way to showcase the talent that contributes to Colorado agriculture every day,” said McCall. “Dr. Pritchett is very deserving of this honor.”

The Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame banquet is held in conjunction with the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture and is a prime opportunity to gauge the direction of the industry and learn about issues facing one of the largest industries in Colorado. Both the forum and the banquet are attended by industry and political leaders as well as family farmers and ranchers who lead and support the agriculture industry and its future.

Friends, peers and business associates will recognize the four inductees and the Rising Star during the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet, Feb. 26, 2015, at the Renaissance Hotel, Denver. The 2015 inductees will join 81 other outstanding Colorado agriculturists who have been similarly honored since 1989. All Agriculture Hall of Fame members’ portraits will be displayed in the CoBank Center for Agricultural Education at Colorado State University upon it’s completion.

Hosted by the Colorado FFA Foundation, the banquet is held yearly to induct members into the Agriculture Hall of Fame who have significantly contributed to Colorado’s second largest industry. A unique, multi-media presentation will highlight the life of each new inductee during the ceremony. Continue reading

01-07-15 CYFEA will honor the Annans at State Institute in Loveland February 6-7…

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Jack and Florence Annan shown here at the 2014 National Young Farmers Institute held in December in Louisville, KY. (Courtesy Photo)

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Annans to be honored at CYF event

The Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association will honor Jack and Florence Annan of Sterling with a special event at the 2015 CYF Institute.

On Saturday, February 7th, at 2 p.m., at the Embassy Suites Hotel located at I-25 and Crossroads, the Colorado Young Farmers will hold a special open house and tribute to the Annans. Jack will officially retire as the Association’s executive secretary during this year’s state-wide gathering. He has served the organization in this capacity for 46 years.

The open house and tribute will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the River Birch A and B rooms at the hotel’s conference center. Everyone who is acquainted with the Annans is invited to attend this special event. Jack has spent his entire career being a leader in both agriculture and education in Colorado. He has been associated with Northeastern Junior College as an employee, serving as a vocational counselor and admissions recruiter for many years and still directs the college’s alumni association.

Those who attend this event honoring the Annans are invited to stay for the Colorado Young Farmers annual awards banquet which begins at 6 p.m., however reservations for this dinner event are required and must be made in advance. Cost is $50 per person. To make your dinner reservation and payment, contact Naomi Berg at (307)274-2175 by January 15th.

Those who desire to stay at the hotel for this event should make their own hotel reservations at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 4705 Clydesdale Parkway in Loveland, by contacting the hotel directly at 1-800-EMBASSY (362-2779). Ask for the CYF Block.

01-07-15 Colorado Young Farmers to meet in Loveland February 6-7…

CLICK HERE to WATCH the Webcast Archives from the 2015 NACD Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Feb 3rd LIVE!

CLICK HERE to WATCH the Webcast Archives from the 2015 CYFEA State Institute from Saturday, Feb 7th…


CLICK HERE fo rmore info about the CYFEA!

CLICK HERE fo rmore info about the CYFEA!

The 46th Annual Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association Institute will be held February 6-7, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Loveland, Colorado.

Over 150 members, spouses, advisors and guests are expected to attend this year’s event. The members of the Front Range Chapter are serving as hosts for this year’s Institute.

The state officers coordinating the two-day activities include: President-Ben Christensen (Blanca, San Luis Valley Chapter); Vice President-Tyrell Williams (Ignacio, Southwest Chapter); Secretary-Naiomi Berg (Fort Lupton, Front Range Chapter); Treasurer-Brandon Johnston (Fort Lupton, Front Range Chapter); Reporter-Cody Millar (Fort Morgan, Fort Morgan Chapter); Executive Committee Member-Savannah Martinez (Fort Lupton, Colorado State University  Chapter); Immediate Past President-Allan Carlson (Longmont, St. Vrain Chapter); and Executive Secretary-Jack Annan, from Sterling. Continue reading

01-30-15 The 2015 National Bison Association Jr. Judging Contest Winners Announced…

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Colby, Kan., Weld Central, Colo. Contestants Shine, $4,600 in Scholarships Doled Out  

NWSS – DENVER, CO -Bison judging contestants vied Jan. 21, for $4,600 in individual scholarships and team trophies at the National Bison Association’s (NBA) Seventh Annual Junior Judging Contest.  Taking top honors and a $1,500 scholarship with an overall score of 226.5, was Chase Cervsosky from Colby, Kan. The top placing team, scoring a total of 659.5 points, was from Colby (Kansas) FFA, and included Cervsosky, Christian Calliham, Alexsis Dennis and Tresta Urban. The team is coached by Colby FFA Advisor Tom Rundel and was one of two Colby FFA entries.
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01-29-15 FFA members return from educational, cultural experience in South Africa…

2015FFA  ILSSO picFFA Logo good copyINDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, January 29, 2015/National FFA Organization) –FFA members recently returned from a 14-day educational and cultural experience in South Africa. Members participated in the 2015 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers, an annual, international opportunity through the National FFA Organization for past and present state FFA officers. The experience allows FFA members to experience foreign culture, learn about international agriculture and become more knowledgeable of the global marketplace.

Seventy-five past and present FFA officers representing 23 states left the U.S. on Jan. 4. The contingent traveled throughout five of the country’s nine provinces while surveying the agricultural landscape. FFA officers met with government and U.S. Embassy officials to learn about U.S.-South African trade relations, toured a host of crop and livestock operations, met with business and industry leaders and explored big-game reserve Kruger National Park as well as Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years of his life. The group also met with producers and consumers of various economic classes to better understand local culture and food purchasing decisions. The most gripping encounter came with a visit to an impoverished settlement area in Soweto township outside Johannesburg.

Prior to departing the United States, the students completed ten weeks of online coursework related to cross-cultural adaptability. The program was made possible by corporate sponsors Bunge North America and John Deere.

Those who participated in the experience included: Continue reading

01-06-15 The 2015 Colorado Farm Show Scholarship Winners Announced…

CLICK HERE to download and view an OnLine Brochure...

January 27-28-29 – CLICK HERE to download and view an OnLine Brochure…

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.


Continue reading

01-06-15 Colorado Corn News: Sign-up deadline approaching for new CCGA membership benefit with Air MedCare…

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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.

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01-06-15 Colorado Corn and CO 4-H team up to offer $14,476 in grants to programs around the state…

Colorado Corn LogoColorado Corn & the Colorado 4-H Foundation recently awarded the following grants to help the following areas and programs strengthen their 2015 4-H efforts:

  • 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



01-06-15 CO FFA chapters awarded thousands in grants from Colorado Corn…

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Colorado Corn recently awarded a total of $11,484 to three FFA chapters in Colorado, helping those students with projects that focus on livestock management, welding and ag mechanics.

“The students who make up these FFA chapters are not only our future, but represent some of the brightest and most hard-working among our young people. It’s our pleasure to assist them, and their impactful projects, in any way possible,” said Colorado Corn executive director Mark Sponsler. “There’s no doubt that our FFA grant dollars represent a worthy investment, and exemplify our principles of collaboration and leveraging resources.”

The National FFA Organization was founded in 1928, and, with its focus on middle school and high school classes that promote and support ag education, is the largest of the career and technical student organizations in U.S. schools. This year, the organization has 610,240 members in 7,665 chapters throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The Colorado Corn FFA Grant Program assists FFA chapters in Colorado on projects that lack funding within their school district’s budget. Adding to its support of other youth-focused projects, Colorado Corn began its FFA grant program in 2013, awarding $5,000 in grants during its first year. However, in this most recent go-round, the caliber of projects proposed by the applying chapters led Colorado Corn board members to allocate more dollars toward the grant program, more than doubling the previous amount spent.

This year’s Colorado Corn FFA Grant recipients are:

  • Poudre FFA, Poudre High School in Fort Collins ($5,000) – Poudre FFA is in its inaugural year and the chapter’s project, “Strong Foundation; Livestock Management Curriculum,” looks to help the chapter add a secondary course for livestock management, through which students will oversee care for livestock on Poudre High School’s campus.
  • Lone Star FFA, Lone Star School in Otis ($4,244) – Recognizing the importance of welding, not only in ag but also in renewable energy and other industries, Lone Star FFA’s project, “Welding Technology Improvements; A Move into the 21st Century,” looks to increase the school’s welding equipment and class opportunities. Among the project’s goals are to teach all freshmen in the school the basics of arc welding, and all sophomores the basics of metal inert gas (MIG) welding.
  • Antonito High School FFA in Antonito ($2,240) – In the chapter’s first year in existence, the project proposed by Antonito High School FFA, titled “Ag Mechanics Class Development,” looks to purchase equipment to help get the program and its ag mechanics classes off the ground, specifically with the purchase of a 45-amp plasma torch cutter.

To learn more about the CO FFA – CLICK HERE

Colorado Corn, based in Greeley, is made up of the Colorado Corn Growers Association and Colorado Corn Administrative Committee, working on behalf of more than 4,000 corn producers through market development, communications, research and technical assistance. See more about the work of the organizations at www.coloradocorn.com.


01-05-15 Inside the RMFU with Harrison Topp: Youth Development and Beginning Farmer/Rancher Programs and More…

To listen to the interview with RMFU’s Harrison Topp, click the mp3 audio link below… 


Harrison Topp - RMFU 2(BARN Media & CoAgNews Network – Briggsdale, CO) January 5, 2015  – Joining me Inside the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network for this month’s Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Radioline Report is Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Membership Field Representative Harrison Topp, discussing several topics pertaining to youth development & beginning farmer / rancher programs @ RMFU. Harrison, first off, tell our listeners about yourself, your background, and what eventually led you to become a part of the RMFU…

  • Topp’s background
  • RMFU’s Beginning Farmer/Rancher Programs
  • Upcoming RMFU Events
  • 2015 NWSS – RMFU’s booth in the Hall of Education
  • Upcoming RMFU Youth events
  • & More…

To learn more about the Rocky Mountain Farmers Uinion – CLICK HERE

12-30-14 CDA News: Colorado’s Brand Fees Increase Effective January 1, 2015…

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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

12-18-14 CAB News – Demand study: Quality builds future for beef…

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.

Continue reading

12-15-14 Colorado Corn’s 2014 awards focus on Farm Bill program implementation, other efforts benefitting ag…

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Colorado Corn recently honored those who were instrumental in getting implemented a new federal crop-insurance tool for 2015, rather than in 2016, as the USDA had originally said it would do.

This recognition was part of Colorado Corn’s Annual Awards Luncheon on Dec. 10 in Loveland, where others were also honored for their contributions to Colorado Corn and the ag industry as a whole.

It was music to the ears of many producers when the USDA announced in October that it would make available the new Actual Production History (APH) provision in 2015, instead of 2016. But long before this political victory for producers was celebrated, many efforts were put forth.

Those who were recognized Wednesday, for their efforts in helping get the APH provision implemented in a more timely manner than what the USDA had originally outlined, were: Continue reading

12-15-14 *CSU Ext SEA News* Fertility Management for High Quality Alfalfa by Wilma Trujillo…

CSU Extension LogoAlfalfa 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.

Continue reading