Good morning! This is Bob Bragg. Welcome to the June 11th Edition of Farm News and Views.
Delphinium species plants have showy purple flowers and are often planted in flower gardens, but this common wild flower, known as Larkspur is deadly if it’s consumed in quantity by cattle and sheep. According to the Gallop Independent Newspaper, ranchers in northwestern New Mexico, near Shiprock, suspect that Larkspur is responsible for the death of a dozen or more cattle. The plant is growing in abundance on grazing lands in the area because of the unusually wet weather this spring. Larkspur is often a problem for livestock producers who move sheep and cattle to mountain ranges during late June. If cool temperatures at higher elevations favor Larkspur growth over grass and other range plants, livestock may graze larkspur that is flowering or developing seed pods, which is Larkspur’s most poisonous stage.
On May 30th, 28 Colorado counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas by the USDA, which enables farm operators in primary counties and contiguous counties to be eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, including FSA emergency loans. Farmers in designated counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for the loans, according to Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. Dolores, La Plata and Montezuma Counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas in the Four Corners Region, along with San Jaun County New Mexico, and Apache and Navajo Counties, in Arizona. San Juan County, Utah is also eligible because it is considered a contiguous county with Montezuma County.
Last week, USDA regulators identified genetically engineered wheat growing in a field in Washington state, not Washington, sorry George D.C. The plants are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. Genetically engineered wheat hasn’t been deregulated in the U. S., and isn’t available for sale, but it keeps showing up in the northwest. It was last found in Washington in 2016, and the plants were identified because when glyphosate was applied on fields where it was growing, and the surrounding weeds died while the modified wheat stood tall. Wheat growers are concerned about this plant, because foreign wheat buyers may stop buying all wheat from the area because of possible contamination of shipments by the resistant wheat.
JBS Swift Beef U.S. a subsidiary of a Brazilian meatpacking company JBS S.A. has been sued by the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch in U. S. District Court in Denver. The suit alleges that the company has violated its federal discharge permit for years by dumping slaughterhouse waste that is fouling the South Platte River and Lone Creek near Greeley in northeast Colorado. JBS was already under scrutiny before the suit was filed because the USDA is paying the company $62.4 million part of the trade mitigation payments.
While a trade war with Mexico has apparently been been averted, on Saturday President Trump tweeted, “Mexico has agreed to immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great patriot farmers!” His message has met with some skepticism on both side of the Rio Grande. Neither the USDA, nor Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., Martha Bárcena,have any information about a trade deal involving additional agricultural products heading south. Ken Smith Ramos, a former Mexican official who was Mexico’s chief negotiator on the U.S Mexico-Canada trade deal, stated that there is no clear way for Mexico to engineer higher purchases of U.S. farm goods because Mexico has a free-market economy, where private firms make the business decisions.
Remember what self-help author Dr. Robert Anthony said, “Moving fast is not the same a going somewhere.”
Until next week, I’m Bob Bragg