By CANDACE KREBS Contributor
The Colorado Ag Council, which was made up of a large number of people from many backgrounds, spent three days at the capital of Colorado promoting Ag Week.
Dan Waldvogle (director of external affairs at Rocky Mountain Farmers Union) presented live to the state legislature how some of his members use virtual fencing for better rotational grazing management.
Remote controlled cattle? He said it was pretty amazing to me.
With fertilizer prices at an all time high, he said it was crucial that all farmers have equal access technology like variable rate fertilization. This allows for precise application based on the crop’s actual nutrient needs. He said that rural broadband of high quality is essential to make this happen.
Researchers discovered alarming levels in Rocky Mountain National Park’s nitrogen deposition. The livestock industry voluntarily formed an ag subcommittee. This committee will focus on ways to reduce emissions and combat the movement of gases. Justin Miller, manager of environmental affairs at Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, explained.
CSU research has shown that there are certain climatic conditions in which emissions from the Eastern Plains can be carried up into a park. Therefore, we created an early warning system to notify producers.
He said that Ag Next, a Colorado State University program, is also being launched by the livestock industry. It will examine how to make livestock production more sustainable, as well as how to reduce emissions.
His main request to legislators was that they keep the ags role in context.
Ag producers want to be productive partners in environmental sustenability. He said that we want you to see us as partners in solving problems.
Jerry Wilkens, representing a cooperative of mostly Northern Colorado egg producers, described how egg farms capture all of the egg wash water used for cleaning 700,000 eggs per day, apply it to farmland and also captured poultry manure to make lawn fertilizers or compost.
He asked legislators for tax incentives and better access to renewable energie resources to ensure that farms can continue becoming more sustainable.
Morning Fresh purchases from local farmers and vendors that are as close as possible to our customers, he explained. Let’s keep farming here in Colorado and the United States.
Governor Jared Polis and Kate Greenberg, the Ag Commissioner, praised numerous state programs to increase industry resilience and combat climate change and drought.
The new STAR program for soil health provides technical and financial assistance to farmers who want to adopt conservation practices. According to the governor, the ACRE3 program has already helped Colorado farmers save hundreds of thousands in utility costs.
The commissioner also mentioned funding grants up to $10 million for processors to improve supply chain resilience.
She also promoted the 150th anniversary of the Colorado State Fair, which will be held later in the year. It is receiving substantial funding along with the National Western Stock Show, 48 county fairs, and other events throughout the state.
While the main focus was on environmental success stories ag representatives had the opportunity to emphasize the effects of higher costs as well as increased economic uncertainty. They stressed that financial sustainability is essential to achieve environmental sustainability.
Wilkens stated that egg producers have seen their production costs rise 7 percent in the past few months.
Miller reminded the chamber about the increasing operating costs of regulations.
He said regulation is the main driver of conoslidation. Regulations can be costly or burdensome. We manage this by leveraging economies of scale.
The discussion also included discussions about world affairs and how they impact price increases.
Commissioner Greenberg noted that Russia has a huge impact on the availability and cost of inputs and food as well as the cost of doing business. This is in addition to the worsening global food insecurity.
This chapter in history confirms how critical domestic production of food is and how important it is to have allies, she stated.