Report 3-9-21

Barring a change in the weather, farmers and ranchers are likely to face dry conditions this growing season. To help producers adjust to this problem, the Colorado Drought Advisers program is offering the Livestock and Forage Grower Update, a series of webinars to help producers deal with expected dry conditions. All presentations are available using zoom between 10 -11:30 am today and the on the next two Tuesdays. Today, the topics is Drought planning from the rancher’s perspective, and legalities of stock water retention and stock water rights. Speakers include Jeff Meyer and Erika Murphy of Coyote Creek Ranch on creating their drought plan, and Brian Romig, Lead Water Administrator, Colorado Division of Water Resources, Division #6. The March 16th webinar will cover grazing management during drought on rangelands in western Colorado, and will feature decision tools developed by CSU Extension’s agriculture and business management team on strategic choices in drought. Speakers are Retta Bruegger and Jenny Beiermann of CSU Extension. The March 23rd webinar will focus on forage options and considerations as well as weed management in drought. Speakers are Gus Westerman and Robin Young of CSU Extension, and Dr. Kelcey Swyers, owner and operator of Grassland Nutrition Consulting. Contact CSU Extension offices or go to for information about signing up for the webinars. Those who sign up will receive a link for recordings of the webinars, whether they can attend or not. Paste this address into your browser: to participate in the webinar.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has stirred up livestock producers in the state by declaring March 20th as a meat-free holiday. He stated that “Removing animal products from our diets reduces the risk of various ailments, including heart disease, high-blood pressure, stroke, various cancers, and diabetes, and a plant-based diet helps protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, preserving forests, grasslands, and wildlife habitats, and it reduces pollution of waterways.” Farmers and ranchers point out that research shows that animal products are nutritionally beneficial in a balanced diet. Also, while about 400 million acres of land is used to grow crops, over 600 million acres are unsuitable for crop production, and are best utilized for livestock grazing. So they contend that in order to provide food and fiber for an increasing world population, we should not rule out livestock production.

According to Purdue University researchers, compared with other developed nations, the United States would not feel much of an impact from climate mitigation efforts modeled on the Paris Climate accord. They projected that revenue for the agriculture and processed food sectors would be less just two tenths of a present lower than if there were no attempts at slowing global warming. They also concluded that with these climate mitigation practices, U.S. food prices would be less than one precent higher, while household income in 2030 would be less than two tenths of a percent lower than the “no climate policy baseline.

And in related climate mitigation news, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that work on climate-smart agricultural policies should take place in the next two years, so that Congress has experiences from which to learn before writing the 2023 farm bill.

Wendell Berry wrote, “Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

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