MPCC Rodeo Team to host breakaway/team roping jackpots

The Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team’s annual fall timed event fundraiser will be Oct. 27-28.

Activities will begin with a breakaway roping jackpot at 6 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Kiplinger Arena in McCook, Neb. A team roping jackpot is planned for Oct. 28 at the same location.

The breakaway roping will consist of two long go rounds and a top 10 short round. Each roper will be allowed to enter twice. Only cash will be accepted for entry fees, and the payout will also be cash. Pre-registration is required.

The second day will begin at 10 a.m. with a #12 team roping, the cost of which is $100 per team for four head, progressive on one. It will be a handicap roping with an up and down slide — 1.5 seconds per number with a #10 cutoff. Entries will close at 10:45 a.m.

Immediately following will be the #9 handicap team roping — down slide only. The $80 fee covers four head, progressive on one. There will be a 1.5 second slide per number down with a #5 cutoff. Contestants must be entered by the short round of the number 12 roping.  

All events are open to the public and free to watch.

Stock will be provided by provided by Tommy Phillips and Russ Kucera.

Anyone interested in registering or obtaining more information about the jackpots can contact Keeley Vaughn at (541) 891-7996.

Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team member Madison McGee swings a loop in the breakaway roping. The team will have a timed event fundraiser Oct. 27-28 in McCook. Photo courtesy MPCC

Nebraska Equine Extension to host second Race Nebraska Seminar

LINCOLN, Neb. — The passing of the Racetrack Gaming Act through a Nebraska 2020 ballot referendum has caused an expansion in horse racing. A series of educational seminars by Nebraska Extension’s equine program have been developed to help those interested in becoming more involved in the industry.

The Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is sponsoring a Race Nebraska Seminar on Oct. 7, 2023, at the Animal Science Complex on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus, 3940 Fair St. 

There will be a variety of presentations to help guide individuals interested in both owning and raising racehorses. Topics include different types of ownership options; buying horses, including how to evaluate conformation; soundness evaluation from a veterinarian’s point of view; the different types of sales; and reading pedigrees. Additionally, there will be an update on the status of tracks and facilities in Nebraska. The seminar will wrap up with information on early training methods and young horse handling, foaling mares and young foal care.                                                                               

Speakers include Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame trainer and HPBA board member Dave Anderson; Dr. Michael Black, DVM, and Dr. Amy Cook, DVM of Nebraska Equine Veterinary Clinic; former trainer and pedigree/bloodstock expert Ben Glass; Equine Massage Therapist Shea Smalley; Shelby Shultz of Elite Equine; Ed Ziemba, president Nebraska Quarter Horse Racing Association; Kathy Anderson, Nebraska Extension horse specialist and others.

Pre-registration is $20 through Sept. 29 at the following link, Registration at the door will be $25 via cash or check.

For more information or questions, please contact Kathy Anderson, (402) 472-6414 or Dani Forster ( 

Race prep at Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb., in April 2023. Photo by Jody L. Lamp

Gering High School FFA and Ag Career Pathway receives $10,000 donation from ACH Seeds

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Dedicated to making a difference in the local communities sugar beet growers call home, ACH Seeds Crystal Brand Sugarbeet Seed has donated $10,000 to Gering High School FFA and Ag Career Pathway of Gering, Neb., through its Homegrown Giving program. 

GHS FFA is one of six organizations across the country selected to receive $10,000 from the 2023 Homegrown Giving program. The funds will be used to support a variety of projects and efforts to enhance the quality of life across rural communities in sugar beet-producing areas.

“We are proud to partner with GHS FFA and support their efforts in the community,” said Ryan Reuter, sales manager at ACH Seeds. “When local communities thrive, everyone benefits. Homegrown Giving empowers and strengthens organizations in those areas working to make real impacts, while also enhancing the future of agriculture.”


With the donation, GHS plans to construct a greenhouse at the high school to provide students with the opportunity to participate in hands-on lessons to explore and learn about food systems.

“This award benefits not only our FFA chapter and agriculture classroom but the entire school,” said Carrie Johns, GHS agricultural sciences teacher and FFA adviser. “We are currently limited in hands-on activities for our students. The addition of the greenhouse will allow for more projects and opportunities.”

The produce grown in the greenhouse will be used in a farm-to-school program to provide students with nutritious foods in the GHS cafeteria and in the school’s culinary program for education on food production. Extra produce will be donated to the school’s PupPack Backpack Program to supply fresh vegetables for students in need. This project will also help GHS expand their Agriculture Career Pathway program, which helps students learn about agriculture-based career opportunities to help meet growing workforce demands in the community.

“I’m grateful to ACH Seeds and their Homegrown Giving program for helping us get one step closer to reaching our goal of getting our greenhouse operational this semester,” said Johns. “We look forward to continue supporting our community through projects from this addition.”

Greenhouse construction will start during the fall 2023 semester and is anticipated to be fully operational for the start of the spring 2024 semester.

ACH Seeds will continue to build its investment in rural communities by propelling the Homegrown Giving program into 2024. Six $10,000 awards will once again be promoted for eligible organizations in the communities, townships and counties customers call home. Local growers and community members alike can nominate an organization for a chance to receive one of the awards.

For additional information on the Homegrown Giving program and to learn how you can make a difference in your hometown, visit  

Gering High School ag education teacher, Carrie Johns, far right, along with members of the Gering FFA Chapter accept the Homegrown Giving donation from Ryan Reuter, ACH Seeds sales manager, far left. Gering FFA was nominated by Becky Fitts, second from left, and was one of six recipients of the 2023 Homegrown Giving award from ACH Seeds. Photo courtesy ACH Seeds

The concept of ‘Not in My Backyard’ is not helpful

In 2021, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a suite of bills related to greenhouse gas emissions and energy production. The bills address streamlining solar energy permitting, encouraging other types of heating and cooling, renewable energy workforce careers and more. This new suite of laws to encourage alternative energy production is not a new concept for Colorado and its residents. In fact, Colorado was the first state to enact a renewable energy standard (RES) in 2004. The energy standard required utilities to transmit specific percentages of energy from renewable sources.

An article in Forbes about solar energy stated, “…the state of Colorado is one of the best states for solar energy.” Colorado’s elevation, weather and broad expanses of flat land make it an ideal area for solar energy generation. In addition to those features, there are portions of Colorado’s landscape that are not suitable for crop production and are even marginal for livestock grazing. One such area is in Morgan County, Colorado, where the soil is comprised mostly of sand. In this specific area, the soil is so sandy that decades ago, water engineers decided to abandon the idea of creating a reservoir in the floodplain because the ground simply could not hold water. 

When local electric utilities purchase energy from out of the area, the money they spend benefits the community where the energy is produced. By generating electricity in their own backyard, communities can benefit from the tax revenue generated from the sale of power. If these communities are also utilizing the energy produced, they are keeping additional funds in the area as well.

While the residents of the state of Colorado have embraced new energy technologies, there are some residents who support solar energy but do not approve of it in their communities. The term NIMBY is an acronym for the phrase, “Not in my backyard.” The Oxford Dictionary defines NIMBY as:

“A person who objects to the siting of something perceived as unpleasant or hazardous in the area where they live, especially while raising no such objections to similar developments elsewhere.”

The Energy Education website says the following about what it calls, “Not in my backyard syndrome”:

“The term describes people who act in their own interests to oppose nearby development of a technology or service from which they benefit and would otherwise support… While self-centered attitudes may play some role in local opposition to development, concerns may also arise over the planning process or other details of a project.” And: “Research has shown that NIMBY attitudes are primarily present during the planning stages of a project… The projects gained greater acceptance after they were completed, however, with 66% of residents showing support in a post-development survey.”

As developers of agriculture, at AGPROfessionals we have seen this phenomenon take place in agriculture as well. Whether the issue is affordable food or farm to fork options, objections sometimes arise when it comes to producing the food people are requesting. These objections can be frustrating for producers who are innovative and working hard to meet the demand for nutritious food, to either make it affordable for everyone, or to provide a boutique, more direct, food buying experience. What happened to a producer family in Missouri working to provide the ultimate farm to fork experience for consumers and restaurants is a classic example. For more information about the Missouri family there’s a link to an article at the bottom of the page titled, “Valley Oaks Steak Company.” Whether it is renewable energy or agriculture, the concept of “not in my backyard” doesn’t help.

It is understandable and expected that residents will have concerns about large projects in their community. Questions from residents range from the initial planning and decision process to construction and operations. It is important to remember that the policymakers in your communities live there too. This is why many counties and city municipal districts have developed a written plan for the future of their community as well as policies and regulations that must be adhered to during all phases of any project from the planning and permitting process to operations and beyond. It is important to know that projects, from agricultural facilities, and manufacturing plants to housing developments and energy production all go through a rigorous process that is often years in the making before plans are approved and the construction phase commences. The following bullets are a high-level list of some of the steps that are taken:

  • Evaluation of site options
  • Due diligence and feasibility studies
  • Environmental and wildlife impact assessments
  • Soils and other environmental tests
  • Property procurement
  • Land surveys
  • Site plans — engineering for infrastructure including utilities, road access, waterways, drainage and more
  • Building plans — engineering of structures
  • Land use permits

    If we want renewable energy, which is what the lawmakers we elected to represent us have determined is best for our state, we are going to have renewable energy generation in our communities. However, this fact of our future does not mean that we can’t have a constructive voice in the process. The following are steps you can take to make sure you are an informed member of your community:

    ·       Be Informed — Don’t rely on second-hand information, attend city and county meetings yourself to stay abreast of proposed projects as well as the status of projects in process.

    ·       Know the Steps That Have Been Taken — When new projects are proposed, there is an extensive planning process project owners must step through. The plans and reports they submit are part of the public record and are accessible by visiting your county planning office. By taking the time to review the information for yourself, you might be surprised to learn about all the aspects that have been considered and addressed.

    ·       Communicate — Welcome outreach efforts by the project owners. This is a perfect opportunity to communicate with them directly, to express your concerns, share information, and have questions answered.  

    ·       Be Proactive — Don’t wait until the last minute to communicate with your county or city representatives about your support, suggestions, or concerns. By being proactive and communicating, this gives city and county planners, representatives, and project developers the opportunity to ensure the needs of your community are carefully considered, provide concerned community members with information, and to adjust if appropriate. 

    With Colorado’s mandates, and the new bills signed into law in 2021, new renewable energy projects are the future of our state’s landscape. There are going to be projects where land use is changed to accommodate these projects. Taking a constructive, cooperative, and collaborative approach will help to ensure our communities both benefit and thrive.
  • Links
  • Colorado HB 23-1272
  • Colorado SB 21-261
  • Colorado News Online article about clean energy measures:
  • Farm Progress article, How to Navigate Wind and Solar leases:
  • Forbes article:
  • Valley Oaks Steak Company article:
  • Daily Yonder article:

Colorado co-hosts Fall Focus

DENVER — Fall Focus 2023 brought about 200 eager-to-learn cattlemen to Denver. Simmental enthusiasts and commercial cattlemen, representing 28 states and three Canadian provinces, attended the successful gathering on Aug. 25-29, 2023.

The event featured a gathering with live cattle demonstrations and displays; a day-long educational symposium; a celebration of the Lifetime Promoter and Golden Book recipients; interactive committee meetings; and a productive American Simmental Association board meeting.

Colorado Simmental and Colorado Cattlemen’s associations co-hosted the kickoff event on Friday, Aug. 25.

The “Ranch Gathering” kickoff included live cattle demonstrations for pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) testing by Dr. Tim Holt and feet and leg scoring by Lane Giess. Willie Altenburg, Jake Owens, and Ben Elliott provided cattle for the two demonstrations. CSA members Bridle Bit Simmentals, Hill Brothers Livestock and Reflected R Ranch provided display cattle in the new National Western’s Stock Yards Events Center.

Despite the rain, a few participants enjoyed exploring the nearby Colorado State University Spur campus’s educational displays.

During the evening, CSA leaders surprised Susan Russell. Willie Altenburg, CSA president, and Chad Cook, ASA trustee, presented Russell with a personalized brand necklace to commemorate her silver anniversary — the 25th consecutive year of serving as the CSA executive secretary.

The evening concluded with tri-tip steaks, cooked by Merck Animal Health and MultiMin representatives.

This was the eighth annual Fall Focus, an educational industry event, co-hosted by the state and the American Simmental Association.

On Saturday, Aug. 26, education became the focus, showcasing a snapshot of issues important to the entire beef industry. An attentive audience quizzed the speakers and panelists on PAP, congestive heart failure and on sustainability.

Breed-specific awards and meetings finished out the annual Fall Focus event, which rotates around the U.S.

Wheat planning and planting

The first step when planning for a wheat crop is observation of last year’s crop. Observing different fields, attending wheat field days and researching wheat varieties will provide you with information regarding newer wheat varieties in an effort to find wheat varieties that fit your farming operation.  Wheat varieties offer traits that have herbicide resistance, wheat stem sawfly tolerance, strong versus weak straw strength, and heat and drought tolerance. Finding varieties that fit your operation’s needs can be found on-line at various websites such as industry sites or or 

As you plan ahead, there are other decisions that can affect your wheat yields:  planting date; seeding rate; and seed size.


Wheat has a wide window for optimum planting dates across Colorado. In the central part of eastern Colorado, planting early to mid-September has provided best results with Sept. 15 being optimum most years.

Many producers favor early planting to ensure adequate stand establishment. But early planting can also increase the risk of Hessian fly infestations, wheat streak mosaic and barley yellow dwarf diseases. Waiting until later will greatly reduce these problems. Early planted wheat is also more likely to have excessive fall growth that uses valuable soil moisture. Yet, planting into moisture early will ensure a wheat stand before soil conditions dry. 

Wheat planted too late may have a higher risk of winterkill and poor fall growth and tillering, which can lead to increased wind erosion. Delaying planting dates past the optimum time can also reduce yields. Studies at Garden City, Kan., show a 22 percent yield reduction by delaying the planting date from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1, and another 18 percent by delaying to Dec. 1.

As the planting date is delayed past the optimum, the seeding rate should be increased to compensate for the reduced wheat tillering potential.


Seeding rates vary across the state. For dryland plantings 30 to 60 pounds per acre is common, with most using 45 to 60 pounds per acre (note: 600,000 seeds per acre is optimum). Know your variety’s seeds per pound number. If purchasing certified seed, the number is on the seed tag. Seeding rates in Colorado have been increasing slightly over time, possibly because more shorter strawed varieties are being planted.

As planting dates are delayed, seeding rates should be increased. In recent studies at Hutchinson and in northwest Kansas, high seeding rates were necessary to maximize yields when wheat was planted late. Normal seeding rates (in the recommended range) resulted in maximum yields at normal planting dates but not from later planting dates. Therefore, when planting later than Oct. 1, increase seeding rates.


Large seed has been noted to increase wheat grain yields in Kansas, but only under difficult soil moisture conditions where deeper planting was necessary. Large seed increases vigor, tillering and fall forage production compared to small seed.

However, increased grain yields cannot be guaranteed every year or with every variety when planting large seed. For example, there were no differences in yield between light- and heavy-test weight seed of a popular variety, which had excellent tillering capability. Varieties that tiller well can compensate for small seed size when planting small sized seed at shallower depths.

With September planting dates, the benefits of large seed may be reduced because seedlings from small seed have more time to tiller and become established. Also, when planting by volume (as many of us do), more seeds per acre will be planted when using small seed without drill adjustments, which may negate the positive effect of large seed.

Although the large seed does not necessarily result in higher grain yields every year, large seed is good insurance and may show yield advantages under adverse and difficult growing conditions when planting depths must be deep. Recommended wheat planting depths are 1.5 to 2 inches. 

If planting deeper than 2 inches, plant a wheat variety with longer coleoptile lengths. Wheat’s coleoptile is the shoot emerging from the seed that will grow above the soil surface. Wheat varieties such as Brawl CL have a very long coleoptile and can be planted below 2 inches deep whereas the old variety Bill Brown has a short coleoptile and cannot be planted deep. 

Colorado Sorghum Field Days

Colorado State University Extension, the Colorado Sorghum Association, and the CSU Crops Testing Program invite you to attend one of our Colorado Sorghum Field Days to see new and adapted hybrids side-by-side in trial plots. We will discuss hybrid characteristics, herbicide tolerance technology, microbiological product trials and agronomy.

The field days will be held at the Akron USDA-ARS Station four miles east of Akron on Hwy. 34 at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 3 and Brandon at our field site ~six miles north of Brandon on CR 57 (1 mile south of CR W) at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26. Breakfast will be provided.

Please contact Sally Jones-Diamond at (970) 214-4611 with any questions.

Fritzler Farm Park pays tribute to Reba McEntire with corn maze

LA SALLE, Colo. — In celebration of the October release of Reba McEntire’s upcoming lifestyle book Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots and companion album Not That Fancy, Fritzler Farm Park is preparing to open a country music corn maze honoring the long-time legend. The maze is scheduled to open Sept. 17, 2023.
“While l admit being in a corn maze is one of the more unique things I’ve ever been invited to be a part of, I couldn’t be more excited to be involved with some of the things that matter most to me — farming, family and friends,” said McEntire. “Growing up on a ranch in Oklahoma, I know how important agriculture is and I love being involved with something that brings more people out to farms across the country for good wholesome fun!”
Along with getting lost in the maze, guests will have the opportunity to enter to win a grand prize trip to Nashville for a one-night-only special event, “Not That Fancy: An Evening with Reba & Friends” set for Nov. 5 at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium. The prize will also include a two-night stay at a local hotel.
“This is an exciting time to be working with Reba and we’re thrilled to honor her in our maze design this year,” said Glen Fritzler, owner, Fritzler Farm Park. “Our farm and maze are all about providing wholesome family fun and lasting memories, and we know those things are just as important to her.”
Fritzler Farm Park is located at 20861 County Road 33, LaSalle, Colo. 80645. The farm park is seven miles south of Greeley or 22 miles north of Brighton on the west side of Highway 85. Visitors will have a chance to enjoy all the favorites such as the U-Pick-Pumpkin Patch, corn maze, pillow jumps, slides, ball zones, Orbeez shooting gallery, pumpkin cannons, multiple Beer Gardens, several new activities, Scream Acres and so much more. The 2023 season begins Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 29.

Hours are as followed:
Fridays: 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Saturdays: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 17 and 24, Oct. 1: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 8,15,22 and 29: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. with haunting starting at 6 p.m.
Haunting in Scream Acres takes place throughout the season on Friday and Saturday nights shortly after dusk. We are also adding in some haunting on Oct. 8, 15, 22, and 29 this year. On Friday nights there will also be a fireworks display that it is fun for all ages to enjoy starting at dusk.
Daytime tickets are $26.95 plus tax for ages 3 and over for a Fun Pass that includes the maze and the courtyard activities. Make it an Ultimate Fun Pass for $42.95 and you can include the Orbeez Shooting Gallery and Pumpkin Cannon. Inflatables can be purchased at the gate for an additional $10. Come get scared at Scream Acres. Purchase a general admission ticket for $39.95 or skip the lines with our VIP ticket for $59.95. Tickets for all events can be purchased online or at the gate.
*NOTE: For dates October 13, 14, 15 and 20, 21, 22 there will be an increased price for peak season tickets.
Additional information is available at or Group discounts, team building, company parties, birthdays parties, and additional information not found on the website can be obtained by emailing Or you can call (970) 737-2129.
Come for the day, stay through the evening, whether you want to get scared or not, there is something for everyone. There are food vendors, activities, and farmtastic fun that will meet all of your agritainment expectations and make great fall memories for any age: from toddlers to grandparents.

A peach of a Year

The Talbott name has been synonymous with Palisade fruit since 1907. Gone are the days of making a living on 10 acres, but the fruit business is a sweet one, and one you can raise a glass to.

Palisade sits in the Grand Valley at the base of the Book Cliffs with Mount Garfield to the west and Mount Lincoln to the east in Colorado’s wine and fruit country. Mild days and cool nights are part of the key to success for the orchards and wineries that draw tourists year-round. Peaches, wine grapes, cherries and plums are handpicked and make their way to the packing shed, to the cooler, and to grocery stores and Bruce Talbott of Talbott Farms said this year will be counted a success.

Mount Garfield towers behind a peach orchard. Photo by Rachel Gabel

“We’re a week later than we have been on average, quality has been better, we’ve had better packouts than usual,” he said. “Markets have generally been really stable, so it’s been a good year. The industry as a whole is going to come out of it saying, yeah this was a successful year. And you always come out of it saying and here’s what I’ll do differently next year.”

A picker gently unloads peaches into bins that will be hauled from the orchard to the packing shed. Photo by Rachel Gabel

Talbott said the economy of the fruit industry has changed significantly since his family began growing fruit and it varies greatly depending upon the region.

“Land splits are problematic, but the other thing is the economy of the industry,” he said. “Five to 20 acres is what anyone had during WWII, anyone with over 200 acres was a huge grower and they just didn’t really exist or were pretty rare, but you could make a living on 10 acres, especially if you had a spouse with a part-time or even a full-time job, 10 acres was a comfortable living and you could do fine, Today, I look at the families that make a living out of fruit growing and it’s 60-100 acres per family. At this point, if you’re doing that somewhere with a lot of parcels, you’ve got to farm a checkerboard of parcels. If you’re doing that in the Columbia Basin or Washington State or something, you’re looking at potato ground and wheat ground and transitioning some of that over to perennial crops, you have sections to work with and you don’t deal with these small parcels. As an old district, we’re a small parcel district. There’s no way around it.”

Bruce Talbott said the year will be counted as a good one. Photo by Rachel Gabel


Labor has long been top of mind for fruit growers. Talbott said they utilize local labor in the packing shed, and they did have enough employees this year, a refreshing change from the two previous years.

“The previous two years we really really struggled to get the people we needed so it’s a little better,” he said. “H-2A is what we do in the field and that is a prescribed program and we don’t have labor problems of significance when we’re using that program because we have a huge area to pull from and we have a group of people who are very incentivized to keep us happy, and of course, we’re incentivized to keep them happy. It’s a stable, very good quality work force.”

Peaches in bins in the packing shed. Photo by Rachel Gabel

Talbott said immigration was top of mind even back in 1986 to begin the conversation for agriculture but loose ends remain today.

“We went and redid the immigration in 1986 and then again in 1992 or 93,” he said. “Everytime it came up, it was a mess because it was we have a lot of people here — they’re pseudo locals — and we need to address their status to acknowledge the reality of the situation we’ve gotten ourselves into through unlimited illegal immigration, but we’re going to give you a program so it doesn’t happen again. It never happened.”

He said the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Replacement Act in the 1990s was put in place, several rounds of amnesty were granted to workers and the government continued to promise a workable program would be crafted.

Pickers unloading peaches into bins. Talbott said the harvest was about a week later than average but the pack outs have been better than years previous. Photo by Rachel Gabel

“Well, that was 30 years ago and there’s never been a program that has come up and by in large, most of Congress agrees there needs to be a program and an improvement for ag,” he said. “The challenge has been all kinds of interest groups want to attach their interests and their social programs to a farm worker program… different things that involve people who have absolutely nothing to do with agriculture on an immigration bill. Nobody’s been willing to pay the piper and we’re not willing to add that much (unrelated content) in a farm worker bill. So, we still have no bill. I guess no one’s gone hungry yet.”

Talbott said the peach picking season is winding down but with leaf peeping season right around the corner, the agritourism in the area isn’t slowing down a bit.

Transitioning into hard ciders and wines, as well as the addition of a taproom has allowed the family tradition to continue and grow.

The next generation of Talbotts run the tap room and brewing side of the business. Photo by Rachel Gabel

“We took over for my grandpa in 1985, he was mostly apples up in that period,” he said. “It’s transitioned now to 65% peach, 30% grape, and 5% cherry and plum. At this point, I am the farm person, my brother, Charlie is the business person, my brother Nathan is the pack and process person, and David, the fourth brother, is a silent partner. But that’s who runs the business. The alcohol and retail side is all the next generation and my wife.”


As for the miles of grapevines in the area, Bruce said it’s prime time to be a wine lover.

Miles of grapevines stretch through Palisade’s orchards. Photo by Rachel Gabel

“As for the wine grapes, about 85% of our crop this year was Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Petite Sirah are the three that are really dragging their feet on production,” he said. “The local thing is kind of in balance, we’re doing pretty well, there’s always some odds and ends that end up without a home but I’m fairly enthusiastic about the year. National and international wine is overproduced at the moment. When you’ve got people excited about wine, they buy more wine, even at the grocery store.”

Though harvest is winding down, agritourism season for wine lovers and leaf peepers is gaining speed. Photo by Rachel Gabel

Talbott said industry experts are writing that the reason for the oversupply of wine now is a decrease in wine consumption.

“Drink more wine, drink more craft beer,” he said.

USFWS releases 10(j) rule ahead of schedule

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the availability of the final Environmental Impact Statement and draft record of decision to establish an experimental population of gray wolves in Colorado under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act, nearly three weeks ahead of schedule. 

Once finalized, this action will provide Colorado Parks and Wildlife with more management flexibility, which is expected to increase the likelihood of overall gray wolf restoration success. The 10(j) rule is now expected to be in place in Colorado more than a month before the statutory deadline of releasing gray wolves by Dec. 31, 2023. 

In the EIS, the USFWS selected Alternative 1, which will provide the management flexibility afforded by 10(j) throughout the entirety of the state of Colorado.

“This demonstrates a sincere and effective commitment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to accomplish this task on a very accelerated timeline,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis. “National Environmental Policy Act work typically takes two to three years and it was accomplished in a little over a year-and-a-half. CPW leadership is very thankful to the demonstrated commitment and partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Now that the rule has been published, a 30-day cooling period will occur, followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s finalization of the rule. It is anticipated that the 10(j) rule will go into effect after an additional 30-day period, well before capture and release operations begin.

There is no public comment period open at this time, as the public comment for this rule has already occurred.

According to FWS, the FEIS and draft ROD were produced in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The service will implement proposed Alternative 1 from the scoping and draft process; this alternative proposes approval of a 10(j) experimental population designation. A 10(j) experimental population rule will allow the service to provide designated management flexibility to the state for reintroduced gray wolves in Colorado. This management flexibility can help ensure co-existence between wolves and affected landowners contributing to the conservation of the species while reducing the potential impacts of reintroduction to stakeholders.  

The service will issue a final ROD and 10(j) experimental population designation no sooner than 30 days after this announcement is published in the Federal Register. A 30-day notice period is required between the publication of the draft ROD and final ROD.  

The publishing of the 10(j) earlier than anticipated does not necessarily translate to an earlier capture operation to reintroduce gray wolves. CPW will wait until capture conditions are ideal to begin capture operations, but the first reintroduction is still anticipated to occur prior to the Dec. 31, 2023, statutory deadline.