Ag Notebook: Colorado takes important step in resolving Republican River dispute; CSU professor named to ‘40 Under 40 in Ag’ list
January 17, 2014
Colorado takes important step in resolving Republican River dispute
Colorado this month completed successful negotiations with Kansas and Nebraska to allow for operation of the Compact Compliance Pipeline to deliver water to the North Fork of the Republican River in 2014. The agreement marks an important step toward resolving long-standing disputes under the Republican River Compact and providing more certainty to the agricultural economy across the region.
The agreement allows Colorado to operate the pipeline in 2014 and demonstrate its benefits to agricultural operators in Kansas and Nebraska. The 12-mile pipeline will deliver irrigation water directly to the North Fork of the Republican River near the Nebraska state line, providing the water necessary for Colorado to meet its Compact obligations with Kansas and Nebraska.
Colorado sought arbitration of this matter in May after Kansas denied Colorado’s request to operate the pipeline indefinitely to comply with the Compact. This fall, Kansas proposed a path forward that would allow Colorado to operate the pipeline for Compact compliance in 2014 so all parties could gain experience with its operations.
On Thursday, the three states voted to approve a resolution to use the pipeline in 2014. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources and its Division of Water Resources, along with the State Engineer, express their appreciation to the Attorney General’s Office in its efforts to negotiate with Kansas, and also thank the Republican River Water Conservation District and the Sandhills Ground Water Management District for their efforts to assist in reaching a resolution.
CSU Animal Sciences Professor Honored with ‘40 Under 40 in Agriculture’ Award
Colorado State University professor Dale Woerner has been honored with Vance Publishing Corporation’s inaugural 40 Under 40 in Agriculture Awards.
The assistant professor of Animal Sciences was selected from among 200 applicants to join researchers, consultants, executives, and other top agricultural professors on this prestigious list. Woerner was selected for his leadership and commitment in advancing the cause to double food production by 2050.
For the past couple years, Woerner has worked with the U.S. Meat Export Federation to address questions from U.S. export markets about beef-cattle production and marketing practices, efforts that have helped to grow markets for U.S. beef.
He has developed engaging taste-test presentations for food media and other audiences made up of thought leaders in the food industry. These presentations, often at lunch and dinner events, invite participants to sample different cuts of grilled steak as they learn about production methods and consumer preferences. The presentations compare and contrast organically produced beef, grass-fed beef, and conventionally raised beef from cattle finished in feedlots with corn-based rations. The presentations invite participants to consider their expectations, as well as qualities such as flavor and texture.
NCGA Announces National Corn Yield Contest Winners for 2013
Advanced production techniques, informed growing practices and improved seed varieties helped corn growers achieve high yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2013 National Corn Yield Contest. Entrants continued to far surpass the national average corn yield, setting a contest record with a new all-time high yield of 454 bushels per acre.
Additionally, a record five national entries surpassed the 400-plus bushel per acre mark.
The National Corn Yield Contest is in its 49th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members, setting a new participation record this year with 8,827 entries.
This surpasses the previous record of 8,431 entries, set in 2011, and far outstrips the 8,263 entries received in 2012.
The 18 winners in six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 354.6 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 160.4 bushels per acre in 2013. While there is no overall contest winner, yields from first, second and third place farmers overall production categories topped out at 454.9837.
Colorado ahead on interstate water deliveries
Colorado’s credit for water deliveries at the Kansas state line stands at more than 58,700 acre-feet under a rolling 10-year average.
The annual accounting of deliveries, related to a 24-year U.S. Supreme Court case over the Arkansas River Compact, was given to the compact administration Wednesday.
In 2012, marked by statewide drought, there was a net depletion of 5,500 acre feet to the Arkansas River. That was combined with other flows since 2003 to calculate the 10-year average.
While the final decision in the court case was issued in 2009, Colorado and Kansas continue to work through issues related to water deliveries.
Drought slows flow of dollars
The Bureau of Reclamation will extend the repayment contract for Trinidad Lake to 75 years because prolonged drought has reduced the anticipated use of storage in the reservoir.
The reservoir, formed by the completion of Trinidad Dam in 1977, was built by the Corps of Engineers for flood control, but the project also includes recreation and wildlife values, as well as an irrigation contract between Reclamation and the Purgatoire River Water Conservancy District.
The contract dates back to 1967 and the original debt was $6.46 million.
The construction of Trinidad Dam was a matter of dispute when Kansas sued Colorado over violations of the Arkansas River Compact in 1985. The compact commission reviews operating principles at the lake every 10 years.
“The contract repayment is tied to water supply, and we determined the contract could not be repaid over 70 years, so we extended it to 75 years,” Andrew Gilmore, Reclamation engineer, told the compact commission this week.
He explained that several years of drought, including just a 17 percent of average snowpack in the Purgatoire River basin last year, have reduced payments by the district to a minimal level.
Vilsack reports progress at the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this past week reported progress on a number of trade issues with China as a result of the 24th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), which wrapped up today in Beijing.
The JCCT is the highest level bilateral forum for the resolution of trade and investment issues between the United States and China.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman co-chaired the JCCT with China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang.
“My discussions with Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders laid the groundwork for future cooperation related to our shared interests in food security, food safety, and sustainability, as well as the expansion of export opportunities for American farmers and ranchers,” Vilsack said.
Universities Start Unique Veterinary Program to Benefit Alaska and Colorado
Sled dogs, reindeer and musk oxen will join the animals of interest as Colorado State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks launch a collaborative veterinary training program, allowing students from a subarctic home base to polish their learning and earn degrees from CSU’s renowned Professional Veterinary Medicine Program, the No. 3 vet school in the nation.
Officials at the two institutions, including UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and CSU President Tony Frank, signed an agreement to formalize the veterinary partnership on the CSU campus in Fort Collins, Colo., on Thursday afternoon.
Leaders at the two universities agreed that the future of public higher education depends in part on innovative partnerships that offer cost-effective ways to improve teaching and research. In fact, the partnership makes veterinary education viable at UAF, where developing a standalone program would be cost-prohibitive.
The collaborative veterinary program will start in 2015 at UAF and will admit 10 students each year, with preference given to students from Alaska; these students must meet the steep admissions standards already established for the CSU Professional Veterinary Medicine Program.