Ag Notebook: Hemp registration opens; Water help on the way; Ukraine and turbulent commodities; Chipotle’s ‘farmed and dangerous’
March 6, 2014
Historic Industrial Hemp Registration For Colo. Growers Underway
In 2013, the Colorado Department of Agriculture adopted the first industrial hemp rules in the state’s history, and producers could begin this past weekend to register with CDA’s industrial hemp program.
CDA officials stress, though, it is important that potential registrants are aware of issues and understand the potential risks. CDA’s regulatory role with industrial hemp is limited to registration of growers and inspection of crop. The state of Colorado has no jurisdiction over many other factors producers are faced with.
While Colorado legalized the production of hemp, growing it commercially is still considered illegal under federal law. The Department of Justice has issued guidelines that will, if followed, limit the likelihood of federal enforcement against commercial producers. Additionally, Congress included in the 2014 farm bill a provision permitting research and development activities if following state rules.
The annual registration fee for commercial production of industrial hemp will be $200 plus $1 per acre. The annual registration fee for production of industrial hemp for research and development will be $100 plus $5 per acre.
Complete information can be found at http://www.colorado.gov/ag/dpi, and clicking on “industrial hemp.”
USDA Announces New Grants For Meeting Water Challenges
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $6 million in grants available this year and up to $30 million total over the next five years as part of a new initiative to provide solutions to agricultural water challenges.
The NIFA has identified three critical topics that will be funded:
Ukraine and Turbulent Commodities
After the rapid overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last weekend, tensions have been rising as Ukraine struggles to carve out new political leadership. As a former Soviet Republic, Ukraine had been closely tied with Russia, but is considering closer economic alignment with the European Union. This has resulted in internal and international conflict as different groups vie for dominance.
Furthermore, if the conflict between Russia, Ukraine, and the West should escalate, other commodities markets could be drawn into the turmoil. Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of both crude oil and natural gas and has used its control of these vital energy sources as a diplomatic weapon in the past. As a result, energy traders are closely watching events in Kiev and Moscow.
Despite these looming threats, neither wheat nor crude oil made major moves this week; wheat had a moderate 15-cent decline to $5.97 per bushel, while crude had a minor 30-cent rally $102.50 per barrel.
Chipotle’s ‘Farmed and Dangerous’ Misleads Viewers, Farm Groups Say
Some farmers aren’t finding much humor in a new television comedy that has exploding cows and an underlying serious message critical of large-scale agriculture.
Produced by the restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, the comedy series “Farmed and Dangerous” satirizes the lengths to which corporate agribusiness and its image-makers go to create a positive image of industrial agriculture, Chipotle says.
The first episode of the show, which began last week on Hulu and Hulu Plus, focused on farmers planning to feed cows petroleum pellets — a move meant to boost profits by lowering costs but which backfires when a cow explodes.
Later episodes begin with snippets of text on issues like the use of antibiotics in meat and food, and libel laws that make it easier for big food companies to sue their critics, according to The New York Times.
“Starring the actor Ray Wise, the series is a full-throated attack on industrial agriculture, complete with a Dr. Strangelove-like scientist inventing eight-winged chickens and cash bribes being delivered in gift boxes,” The New York Times wrote.
The new television series underscores social values, Chipotle says.
Farm groups, however, see the comedy as yet another attack on agriculture.
Wyoming Man Named Outstanding Young Farmer
Patrick Zimmerer of Huntley, Wyo., was selected a national winner at the 58th annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress held Feb. 13-16 in Rapid City, S.D. Four national winners were selected from a group of 10 finalists for the award based on their progress in an agricultural career, extent of soil and water conservation practices, and contributions to the well-being of the community, state, and nation.
Zimmerer is a fourth generation farmer who was determined to develop a business venture that would allow him to keep the family’s farmland and heritage intact. After attending a meeting about growing grapes in the Wyoming area, he researched the idea and planted 300 vines. In the past 13 years, he has expanded to 10,000 vines on 10 acres, producing 15-20,000 bottles of wine each year. An event center with a tasting room helps market the product, and more than 60 stores throughout Wyoming carry the wine of Table Mountain Vineyards.
Zimmerer’s experiences led him to establish the Wyoming Grape Growers Association. He serves as chairman of the Wyoming Board of Agriculture and sits on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean’s Advisory Board, the Wyoming Ag in the Classroom Board, and the county lodging tax board.
Renowned Professor Joins CSU Animal Sciences Faculty
A renowned expert of meat science has joined Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences as a professor of animal sciences.
According to a news release from CSU, Robert “Bob” Delmore will teach courses in meat science, meat processing and food safety.
He also will serve as one of the faculty members in the Center for Meat Safety and Quality, conducting research to address national and global issues.
Delmore spent the last nine years with the Animal Science Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. At Cal Poly, Delmore developed a nationally recognized undergraduate teaching program in meat science.
Delmore has received several national recognitions, including Meat Processing Magazine’s Rising Star Distinction in March 2000 and the American Meat Science Association Achievement Award in June 2007.
In 2009, he was recognized by Meatingplace Magazine as one of nine up-and-coming industry leaders.
Colorado Ag Officials Hosting Meeting On Deadly Pig Virus
Colorado State Veterinarian Keith Roehr and Colorado State University Extension will be hosting a meeting on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus at 10 a.m. March 13 in Brighton.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, or PEDV, has swept through the nation’s pig supply, and in light of its deadly and devastating effects, there is increased awareness about the need for strict biosecurity.
The virus has killed as many as 4 million pigs since it showed up in the U.S. last April, according to Associated Press reports.
The March 13 meeting will be held at the Adams County Fair Grounds in the Red Cross Building (south of the Adams County CSU Extension Building).
Watchdog Groups Ask Feds To Stop Ardent Mills In Colorado
Watchdog groups are asking the U.S. Justice Department to block the formation of what would be the nation’s largest flour mill in Colorado.
The Denver Post reports that the American Antitrust Institute and Food & Water Watch filed objections to Ardent Mills last week. It’s a proposed joint venture of ConAgra Foods Inc., Cargill and CHS Inc. and would be headquartered in the Denver area.
The merger is undergoing an antitrust investigation by the Justice Department.
Gov. John Hickenlooper talked about the efforts to lure Ardent Mills to Colorado during his State of the State address and said it would be a boost for rural communities.
The American Antitrust Institute thinks the joint venture could lower prices paid to wheat farmers and raise prices for consumers.