Jensens Brothers plead guilty to all counts in deadly listeria case
Eric Jensen, age 37, and Ryan Jensen, age 33, brothers — who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colo, and were charged them with introduction of adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce — pled guilty last week to all of their six counts. U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Food and Drug Administration special agent Patrick Holland said the defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Magistrate Judge Hegarty on Jan. 28.
According to the stipulated facts in the plea agreement, as well as other court documents, Eric and Ryan Jensen were responsible for the farm where they grew, picked, packaged, sold and shipped cantaloupe.
In six separate shipments, the cantaloupe produced by the Jensens bore a poisonous bacteria, listeria monocytogenes, which rendered it injurious to health.
A total of 33 people were killed due to the listeria outbreak.
Investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe, and then maintained the fruit in unsanitary conditions.
USDA Issues CRP Rental Payments, Direct Payments and ACRE Payments
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that USDA has begun distributing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments to participants across the country.
USDA also will distribute 2013 direct payments and 2012 Average Crop Revenue Election program payments beginning Oct. 24.
Payments originally were scheduled to be issued earlier in the month, but were delayed by several weeks due to the lapse in Federal funding.
Producers will receive payments on almost 700,000 CRP contracts on 390,000 farms covering 26.8 million acres.
Direct payments for 2013 for the DCP and ACRE programs are being made to the more than 1.7 million farms enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s programs.
Water groups brace for fight
A survey by the Colorado Water Congress indicates voters trust local water providers, support agricultural water values and generally favor the existing legal framework of water rights in Colorado.
The group is gathering the information in preparation for the possible return of a public trust question on next year’s ballot.
“The public trust doctrine in Colorado would be unlimited employment for water lawyers,” Doug Kemper, executive director of CWC, told the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District this month.
“The survey showed most people are uncertain, but (the public trust proposal) does have certain resonance,” Kemper said. “Most people are comfortable with local control of water.”
The CWC has been gearing up for a return bout with Richard Hamilton of Fairplay, who is planning on using the same ballot language that finally was approved in 2012.
Hamilton said legal challenges by the CWC to the ballot title hurt chances for gathering signatures by reducing the time needed, so he withdrew the initiative last July.
After Hamilton earlier this year announced his intentions to begin a campaign for 2014, CWC began a two-year, $325,000 program to counteract the effort.
Water groups, such as the Southeastern district or Pueblo Board of Water Works — even the CWC itself — are limited in their ability to campaign against the measure once it is on the ballot, Kemper said.
The survey provides arguments that might be made by private groups against the proposal. The Colorado Farm Bureau already has stepped up to fill that niche.
CSU equine surgeon honored for research
Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, a Colorado State University Distinguished Professor and world-renowned equine orthopaedic surgeon, recently received one of the highest honors in his field from the Academy of Surgical Research.
McIlwraith, who is founding director of the CSU Orthopaedic Research Center, gained the honor for pioneering, developing, and refining arthroscopic surgery in the horse. He also was recognized for leading the development of large-animal models for the surgical repair of cartilage defects and evaluation of articular cartilage repair.
His discoveries have provided new insights for orthopaedic advances in human medicine. In fact, McIlwraith is the only equine surgeon to earn the award among more than two dozen medical luminaries who have discovered new surgical techniques and technologies to improve patient outcomes.
McIlwraith received the award during the Academy of Surgical Research annual meeting in Clearwater Beach, Fla., in late September.
Weld dairyman receives CSU honor for 4-H efforts, public service
If Bill Erickson were to lose count of the number of years he’s been involved in 4-H, there are constant reminders around the community that would help him at least estimate his decades of involvement.
“Anymore, I run into people who see me and lean over to tell their grandkids, ‘That guy was my 4-H leader,’ ” Erickson said. “That tells you something — when the kids you remember helping now have grandkids of their own.”
This month, Erickson was given the Colorado State University Alumni Association 50 Year Club’s Public Service Award — given annually by the 50 Year Club as part of CSU homecoming festivities.
In addition to serving as a leader for the local Galeton 4-H Club, Erickson, a longtime Weld County dairyman, has served as president of the Weld County 4-H Leadership Council and Colorado’s State 4-H Leadership Council.
A decade ago, Erickson was recognized in the 107th U.S. Congressional Record for his accomplishment as a 50-year leader.
USDA deputy under secretary to present sustainability lecture at CSU
Ann Bartuska, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, will visit Colorado State University on Wednesday, Oct. 30, to talk about sustainability research.
During her time on campus, Bartuska also will meet privately with CSU deans, administrators and SoGES faculty to learn more about the groundbreaking sustainability research being conducted at the University.
The USDA REE Mission Area is dedicated to the creation of a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system, and strong, healthy communities, families, and youth, through integrated research, analysis, and education.
Local businesses, community members support Colo. Farm Bureau disaster fund
Thousands of local community members and businesses have banded together to support Colorado’s farmers and ranchers through the Colorado Farm Bureau disaster relief fund.
One of the biggest supporters of the fund is the Farm Credit System. Farm Credit’s Colorado-based members — CoBank, Premier Farm Credit, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, and American AgCredit — have collectively donated $40,000 to support our disaster relief efforts.
To date, the Colorado Farm Bureau disaster relief fund has raised nearly $175,000 to aid Colorado’s farmers and ranchers. More than $100,000 of that amount was raised through individual and small business donations.
However, much more funding is needed. CFB has received requests in excess of $1.5 million for aid that is needed.
To donate and aid these producers go to, www.coloradofarmbureau.com/disasterfund, or contact Robyn Scherer, director of communication for the Colorado Farm Bureau, at (303) 749-7505, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSU hosting flood information meeting
Colorado State University Extension is hosting an informational meeting for farmers, ranchers and landowners affected by the flood. The meeting is taking place Thursday, Oct. 31, from 1-4 p.m., at the McKee Building at the Ranch in Loveland.
The meeting will be useful for landowners and ag producers with flood-related damage to infrastructure, business and crop losses.
This Northern Colorado Flood Recovery Assistance Meeting will feature presentations from agencies and experts ready to help, including:
• USDA/Farm Service Agency
• CSU Extension
• Colorado Farm Bureau
• Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
• Local Food Shift Group
• Living GREEN Foundation
• Colorado Department of Agriculture
• Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment
• Representatives from the offices of Colorado’s Congressional delegation
For more information, contact Adrian Card with CSU Extension’s Boulder County office at (303) 678-6383, or Adrian.Card@colostate.edu.
Farm Aid funds available to flood-impacted producers
Rocky Mountain farmers Union and the Boulder County Farmers Market have been asked to assist is distributing Farm Aid payments to farmers in the South Platte basin who suffered agricultural losses in September flooding.
This funding is intended to function as emergency relief and to assist farmers and farm families with non-business, household expenses.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, please submit your application by Nov. 1 for review.
Completed applications should be emailed as a PDF or Microsoft Word attachment to email@example.com, or mailed to
Colorado Farm Flood Relief
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
7900 E. Union Ave #200
Denver, CO 80237
Garfield County commissioners sign on in support of Tipton water rights bill
Garfield County commissioners lent their support Monday to a bipartisan bill aimed at protecting private water rights for those seeking to obtain permits for use of federal lands.
The proposed Water Rights Protection Act, introduced as H.R. 3189 in late September by 3rd District U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, also has two Democratic co-sponsors including Colorado’s 2nd District Congressman, Jared Polis. The other is Utah Congressman, Rep. Jim Matheson.
The bill, if passed, would prohibit the U.S. Forest Service and BLM from conditioning permits on the transfer or relinquishment of privately held water rights, or requiring water users to apply for a water right in the name of the U.S. government, instead of the purchaser, as a condition of the permit approval.
In doing so, “Federal land management agencies are using coercion to acquire private water rights,” according to a resolution recently passed by the governing board of Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC).