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Ag Event Calendar – Canceled or Postponed Events due to Coronavirus

We will update this list as new information becomes available.
Email marketing@thefencepost.com with updates.

Based on recommendations from the US Government and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many events, rodeos and other gatherings have been canceled, rescheduled or modified in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

People who have general questions about coronavirus disease can call The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Information Line at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Canceled or Postponed Events

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
March 3-22, Houston, TX

Weld County State Shooting Sports Training
March 13 -15, CO

2020 Kansas Junior Sheep Producer Day
March 14, Manhattan, KS
For more information, contact Lois Schreiner at 785-532-1267 or lschrein@ksu.edu.

Weld County 4-H Horse Levels Workshop
March 14, CO

Weld County 4-H Sunday Dog Practice
March 15, CO

2023 Informational CWF Meeting
March 15, CO

Young Farmer and Rancher Conference
March 16, Louisville, KY
For further information, please contact ACBeginningFarmersandRanchers@usda.gov.

Weld County 4-H Winter Shooting Sports Practice
March 16, CO

BCHA Annual Meeting, Dinner & Community Social
March 17, Longmont, CO

University of Wyoming Private Pesticide Applicator Education Classes
March 17, Hulett, WY
March 18, Gillette, WY
March 18, Sheridan, WY
March 19, Kaycee, WY

Trout Unlimited – How to Match the Hatch presented by Rocky Mountain Flycasters
March 18, Fort Collins, CO

Weld County 4-H Dog Practice
March 18, CO

Women Supporting Women Event
March 19, North Platte, NE

Black Mesa CattleWomen’s Ag Expo for Delta County 4th grade students
Friday, March 20, Hotchkiss, CO

Wyoming Bee College Conference
March 20-22, Cheyenne, WY

The Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement (NHAA) Banquet
March 20th, Lincoln, NE

Wellington Auction Household Consignment Auction
March 20, Wellington, CO

Laramie County 4-H Benefit Bash
Cheyenne, WY

4-H Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry
March 21, Eagle, CO

2020 Kansas State University Sheep Producer Day
March 21, Manhattan, KS
For more information, contact Lois Schreiner at 785-532-1267 or lschrein@ksu.edu.

4-H Day at the Weld Food Bank
March 23, Greeley, CO

The Merry Mixer 4-H Club 24th Annual Cowboy Poetry Night
March 28, Gateway, CO

4-H Speech Contest
March 28, CO

Larimer County Parks Advisory Board Public Meeting
March, Loveland, CO
The Board’s next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at Natural Resources Administration Offices (AO), 1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland. For additional information, please contact Ken Brink Jr., Visitor Services Manager, at (970) 619-4555.

Yonts Water Conference
April 8, Gering, NE
“It is our plan to develop an online version of this conference for the same date, April 8. When we do, we will be sending out an updated news release with details about that event.”

ServSafe Training Program
April 16-17, Bridgeport, NE
For foodservice employees who need ServSafe Certification this spring, an online course is available at https://www.servsafe.com/ServSafe-Manager.

More Information

(In alphabetical order)

Colorado State University

On-campus events: All university events involving 20 or more external visitors or targeted toward an at-risk population are suspended effective March 23 through April 10. The University will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines in advance of that date.

Off-campus events: All university-hosted off-campus events involving 20 or more people or targeted toward an at-risk population are suspended effective March 23 through April 10. We will re-evaluate and issue further guidelines in advance of that date.

More information: https://safety.colostate.edu/coronavirus

CRMR (Central Rocky Mountain Region)

Following the national trend of eliminating or reducing team sports, the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR), in which the University of Wyoming competes, is canceling the first three rodeos of the spring season. In response to concerns about the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the CRMR has canceled rodeos at Gillette College, Eastern Wyoming College and Colorado State University. The spring season was scheduled to begin next week. The spring schedule has been set back until April 17-19 for the Casper College rodeo. UW’s annual Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo is still scheduled April 24-26. The College National Finals Rodeo is June 14-20 at the Casper Events Center. Both the UW men’s and women’s teams lead the CRMR standings heading into the abbreviated season.

Kansas State University

Kansas State University has suspended classes and meetings for groups over 100 people to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and safety of our participants, volunteers and speakers, the decision has been made to CANCEL Kansas Junior Sheep Producer Day and Kansas State University Sheep Producer Day. We are saddened to have to make this call.

Laramie County Events

With expanding concerns regarding the coronavirus, this past weekend the CDC announced a recommendation that all events of 50 people or more are canceled or postponed. With the safety of our community, guests and event planners in mind, all events scheduled through April at the Laramie County Fairgrounds at Archer have been postponed.

The Laramie County Sportsman’s Expo, originally planned for March 27-29 has been rescheduled for May 15-17, 2020 at the Event Center in Archer. At this time no changes have been made to the 2020 Laramie County Fair. We will continue to monitor updates from the CDC, Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department, and other key entities.

Mid-Plains Community College

Mid-Plains Community College is canceling a number of its upcoming events in an attempt to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to protect its students, staff and the communities that it serves.

Staff are still on campus and will continue to answer phone calls and emails. Whenever possible, prospective students and the public are encouraged to call and schedule an appointment prior to arriving on campus as many needs can be addressed virtually.

The canceled events include: 

  • March 18 – Inter-High Day, North Platte/Imperial Campus expansion groundbreaking, Imperial
  • March 20 – Associate of Fine Arts artist reception, Keystone Business Center in McCook 
  • March 25 – Expanding Your Horizons conference, North Platte 
  • March 29 – TeamMates Mentoring event – McCook 
  • April 5 – SKD induction ceremony, North Platte 
  • April 8 – American Red Cross blood drive, North Platte 
  • April 9 – Paint-In, McCook/ Registration Days, McCook and North Platte 
  • April 20 – NPCC Honors Convocation/NPCC Athletic Banquet, North Platte 
  • April 20-25 – Medical Laboratory Professionals Week activities, North Platte 
  • April 21 – NPCC Foundation Scholarship Reception, North Platte
  • April 24 – AFA Exhibition and Thesis Defense Show opening reception, McCook 
  • April 27 – PTK induction ceremony/ MCC Honors Convocation/ MCC Athletic Banquet, all in McCook 

All non-credit, on-campus classes have also been canceled. Decisions about commencement ceremonies and other future events will be announced closer to their scheduled times. Anyone planning to attend an event not on this list is encouraged to contact the hosting campus to determine if the event will continue as planned. More information about MPCC’s response to coronavirus can be found on the college’s website at mpcc.edu.

National 4-H Council

Effective March 22, 2020, all face to face 4-H events, meetings and activities are suspended until May 15, 2020. Please keep in mind, as this develops the March 22nd date could be pushed earlier and the May 15th date could be extended.

  • All face to face 4-H meetings, both club and county, are suspended. This includes those held at the fairgrounds and those that are offsite.
  • All face to face 4-H practices (teams, shooting sports, horse open rides and clinics, dog practices, etc.) are suspended. This includes those held at the fairgrounds and those that are offsite.
  • All face to face 4-H workshops and other 4-H sponsored activities are suspended. This includes those held at the fairgrounds and those that are offsite.
  • The 4-H staff will be communicating with your organizational leader to give options for having virtual 4-H meetings. Weld County 4-H families will receive more specific club and project information from your leaders.

National Little Britches Rodeo Association

Due to the recent high call volume with the concerns over the Corona Virus the National Office has decided to postpone the release of the camping and stalls that was scheduled for this Thursday March 19, 2020. We have decided to schedule it out for one month and the new release date will be April 16, 2020 at 9:00 MST. With all of the company closures and layoff’s currently taking place nationwide our hope is this extension will give everyone a chance to get past the uncertainty and not put additional financial strain on our families during this current situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this will cause to some but think that the decision will benefit most member’s as a whole.

We currently have been experiencing a lot of calls regarding our franchise rodeos. At this time the National Office has decided to leave the scheduling of the rodeo’s up to the franchise’s themselves. As many of you know regulations are different from state to state and in most place’s county to county. It would be impossible to regulate that from our office here in Colorado. At this time, it will be at the discretion of the facilities and franchises to determine if the rodeos will take place. Having said that the NLBRA would encourage everyone to follow the CDC guidelines in your area and follow all state and county regulations.

At this time there has been no change in plans for the National Finals being held in July. We will continue to monitor the situation closely over the coming months and will keep everyone updated as we learn more. We would encourage everyone to enjoy the time spent in the practice pens, take the long overdue horse ride with the kids, and simply enjoy your time with families. This too will pass and we will look forward to seeing all of you at the future rodeos. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all.


See the full list upcoming PRCA Events and whether they are scheduled or canceled here: http://www.prorodeo.com/news-display/2020/03/13/updated-prca-event-status

University of Nebraska -Lincoln Extension

In response to the COVID-19 situation, Nebraska Extension has advised its employees to cancel face-to-face learning events that have been scheduled for upcoming weeks, or else develop on-line options for the public to participate.

Due to the situation with COVID-19, Nebraska Extension has canceled all in-person training, including chemigation and pesticide applicator training, starting March 16. We understand this is inconvenient, and we appreciate your patience and understanding at this time. Please see below for certification and recertification methods.

Private Training

Online private self-study program — Private applicators can certify or recertify by completing this online training program.


Purchase FlipBooks — Initial training for commercial/ noncommercial applicators will be available solely through our FlipBooks. NDA-administered applicator exams have been put on hold. Please contact NDA at 402-471-2351 for more information on exams.

Recertification sessions — For recertification, please contact our office at 402-472-1632.

University of Wyoming Extension

The University of Wyoming Extension has suspended all in-person events through March 31 due to coronavirus concerns. The suspension also includes all 4-H-related in-person activities. County extension offices will remain open and maintain established office hours, dependent upon circumstances within a county, said Kelly Crane, extension director. “We are an important resource for the communities we serve,” he said. “I hope UW Extension offices can continue to provide this critical support to Wyoming communities.” The guidelines are the extension’s efforts to mitigate risk and promote the health of extension employees, their families, and community members. Crane said the policy may change as conditions shift; for example, a determination about April events will be made when appropriate. Residents with questions can contact their local extension offices.

County extension office contact information is at www.uwyo.edu/uwe/county/index.html.

Wellington Auction Service, CO

​​NO Auction Until ​???? Due to the COVID-19 Restrictions, the next AUCTION has been postponed indefinitely. We hope to open again in a week or two and will let you know the date of the Next Auction as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued interest and support. Please check back here for updates: http://www.wellingtonauctionservice.com/index.html Stay Healthy and Hope to See You Soon!

Bipartisan coalition introduces bill to ease farm Chapter 12 bankruptcy rules

A bipartisan group of House members last week introduced the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 to ease the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy rules.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Reps. TJ Cox, D-Calif., Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D. and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.,

“For folks in upstate New York, farming is more than a job — it’s a way of life,” Delgado said.

“And in this extremely challenging farm economy, we must come together to help our family farmers overcome years of low prices and increased market consolidation. The Family Farmer Relief Act will provide the critical restructuring and repayment flexibility these folks need to get through these hard times without permanently closing their operations.”

The bill, which is the House companion to legislation introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Tina Smith, D-Minn., expands the debt cap that can be covered under Chapter 12 bankruptcy from $3.237 million to $10 million.

The changes reflect the increase in land values, as well as the growth over time in the average size of U.S. farming operations and are meant to provide farmers additional options to manage the downturn in the farm economy, the coalition said in a news release.

The legislation is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union.

“The financial choices that family farmers are faced with right now are gut-wrenching, and given the continued slump in the farm economy, this bill will give those farmers and ranchers additional options when it comes to restructuring their debt and trying to figure out a way to keep operating,” said Peterson.

The bill will be referred to the Judiciary Committee for consideration.

Farm groups react to ITC report on USMCA

A range of farm groups said Friday that the International Trade Commission’s report on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade proved that Congress needs to approve the agreement even if the report did not cover the full benefits U.S. agriculture has found under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Brian Kuehl, co-executive cirector of Farmers for Free Trade, the bipartisan coalition supported by American ag commodity groups, said, “The true benefit that USMCA delivers for American farmers is certainty and stability.”

“Especially right now, American farmers need a victory. USMCA will guarantee that their most important export markets remain open for business and free from red tape,” Kuehl said.

“While the ITC report is an important step in the process of considering trade agreements, the benefits of North American trade are already well understood, particularly by farmers and ranchers. Under NAFTA, ag exports to Canada and Mexico, grew from $8 billion in 1993 to $40 billion last year.”

The American Soybean Association said, “The report is a good tool, yet it does not account for valuable non-tariff provisions in the ‘new NAFTA’ — or look back historically on the myriad benefits to agriculture since NAFTA’s inception.”

ASA President Davie Stephens, a soy grower from Clinton, Kentucky, said, “USMCA builds upon the strong foundation set by the original NAFTA”

“Under NAFTA, the value of agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased to roughly $43 billion each year. Soybean exports to Mexico quadrupled under NAFTA, making Mexico the number two market for U.S. soybeans, meal and oil. We also saw a doubling of soybean exports to Canada, making it the number four market for soybean meal and the number seven market for soybean oil.”

Stephens continued, “We know that the modernizations included in USMCA will make trade with our North American neighbors even smoother. These non-tariff enhancements include the highest enforceable sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards of any trade deal to date, an enforceable biotechnology chapter that supports 21st century innovations, and create a rapid response mechanism to address trade challenges. These provisions not only serve to update the North American agreement but set a paradigm for future free trade agreements.”

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Chrisp said, “The release of the ITC report is an important step in moving USMCA toward congressional action.”

“ITC reports typically measure the economic impact of new trade agreements and focus on market access. USMCA is different — it’s an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which already eliminated most tariffs on exports of U.S. food and agriculture products.

“So, the ITC report released today doesn’t fully capture the economic benefits of trade with Canada and Mexico, nor the improvements to trade rules in USMCA that benefit agriculture.

“NAFTA has been a resounding success for agriculture. In 2016 alone, American corn growers exported $3.2 billion in corn and corn co-products to Mexico and Canada. USMCA secures and builds upon this important partnership, which is why ratifying USMCA is so important for agriculture.”

National Pork Producers Council Vice President Nick Giordano said, “NPPC supports ratification of USMCA, an agreement that preserves zero-tariff access to markets that represent more than 30 percent of total U.S. pork exports.”

“We are eager to see the removal of U.S. metal tariffs that prompted Mexico’s 20 percent retaliatory tariffs nearly a year ago. Members of Congress have said that ratification of USMCA will be delayed and the benefits of the agreement diluted as long as this trade dispute goes unresolved.”

Giordano added, “The value of U.S. pork exports to Mexico are down 32 percent this year due to punitive tariffs. Our farmers need zero-tariff trade restored to our largest export market.”

NPPC has designated USMCA ratification as a “key vote,” and will closely monitor support of the agreement among members of Congress. U.S. pork exports to Mexico and Canada support 16,000 U.S. jobs, the group said.

National Association of Wheat Growers President Ben Scholz, a farmer from Lavon, Texas, said, “It is critical for Congress to understand how substantial USMCA is for agriculture, especially the undervalued wheat market.”

“As the International Trade Commission report just assesses the USMCA agreement as compared to the status quo (NAFTA), in which U.S. wheat farmers already have free market access, it doesn’t fully capture the importance of USMCA.

“Once NAFTA was implemented, U.S. wheat exports to Mexico shot up to an annual average of almost 3 million metric tons (more than 100 million bushels). This made Mexico the largest U.S. wheat importer in the world in the 2016/17 marketing year

“Additionally, USMCA captures the original intentions of NAFTA while improving some of the provisions for wheat growers. It retains tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for our long-time flour milling customers in Mexico. Furthermore, the USMCA makes important progress towards more open commerce for U.S. wheat farmers near the border with Canada by working to fix the broken grain grading system and making trade more reciprocal along the U.S.-Canadian border.

“The ITC report is not reflective of vast benefits USMCA will bring to agriculture. A vote for USMCA means more jobs for Americans, stronger export markets for farmers to sell their crop, and billions of dollars added to the economy.”

International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Michael Dykes said the report determines that USMCA “would likely have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy,” and that the U.S. agricultural and food exports will increase by $2.2 billion.

For dairy, the ITC expects exports of U.S. dairy products to increase by more than $277 million overall — rising $227.0 million to Canada and $50.6 million to Mexico, respectively.

“We believe the USMCA is a big win for the U.S. dairy industry and this report confirms that fact,” Dykes said. “The next step is for Congress to swiftly take up the agreement and vote to pass the USMCA.”

U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Tom Vilsack said, “We shipped $1.4 billion in dairy products to Mexico last year, which accounts for more than one-fourth of U.S. dairy exports.”

“Without a trade treaty with Mexico in place, the dairy industry would be hard pressed to maintain and expand these sales, as our competitors in Europe are expected to implement a lucrative new trade arrangement with Mexico by next year.

“Moreover, without USMCA we lose out on the new rules this deal puts in place such as key reforms to Canada’s dairy system. Congress must pass USMCA to shore up our market in Mexico and harness the gains made in other areas through USMCA.”

In addition to increases in tariff-rate quota access for dairy products to the Canadian market, Canada will remove a controversial milk pricing scheme that disadvantaged American businesses, impose new disciplines on its dairy pricing programs and Mexico will update the way it treats imports of common-name food products like parmesan and swiss cheeses that could face trade roadblocks, USDEC said.

“When examining USMCA’s benefit to the economy, we believe it is important to keep the full picture in mind of what’s at stake here,” said National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

“USDA recently reported that our country lost an average of seven dairy farms a day in 2018 due to the poor economic conditions in rural America. That’s a startling number, and reversing this alarming trend is what we should be discussing. USMCA helps put us on a path to doing that by safeguarding our largest export market and instituting valuable new improvements to dairy trade in North America.”

The Business Roundtable, a broadly based group, said, “This comprehensive analysis shows that all broad industry sectors across the U.S. economy will benefit from USMCA.”

“Business Roundtable will continue to work with Congress and the administration to pass implementing legislation for USMCA this year to preserve and strengthen the $1.4 trillion in trade and over 12 million American jobs that depend on trade with Canada and Mexico.”

Sizzlin’ S of Montana raises $10k for Nebraska ranchers

After seeing the outpouring of support for his community following the 2017 Lodgepole Fire, Rod Paschke of Jordon, Mont., knew he had to do something for Nebraska ranchers devastated by flooding.

“That fire didn’t affect us personally. It came to within about 20 miles of our property line,” he said. Paschke’s wife Julie helped manage donations that poured in: lining up hay deliveries, helping arrange moving cattle, making sandwiches for volunteers. “We got to witness it firsthand. It was pretty devastating, but the stuff we saw, people shipping hay from Nebraska, Wyoming, it was coming in steady. It was really memorable for us.”

Rod and Julie, who ranch and operate an outfitting business, were in agreement that they ought to contribute in some way to their Nebraska ranching friends. He was thinking of writing a check but was hoping he could do more, somehow.

“My wife said, ‘can we raffle a hunt?’ and she had the idea planned out in no time.”

Sizzlin’ S Outfitters offered 100 online “raffle” tickets at $100 each, hoping to raise $10,000 quickly. Julie arranged the raffle with a little help from a Nebraska friend whose family runs a custom combining business. The friend, Tracy Zeorian, also runs her own online business, so she helped set up the ticket purchasing details.

Paschke said many neighbors who had been on the receiving end of donations following the Lodgepole Fire were the first to buy a ticket. But tickets also went to people from the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California and many more states.

The Paschkes posted their raffle on Facebook at about 5 p.m. on a Friday and by the next Tuesday, the raffle tickets were all spoken for. Eastman’s Hunting Journal promoted the raffle via their social media, reaching some people that the Paschkes may not have on their own.

Robert Schwier won the raffle. The farmer and rancher from Minnesota will enjoy a five-day all-inclusive trophy mule deer hunt. Paschke is throwing in the $700 tag as well.

“It’s all for the right cause, that’s the best part.” He said the $10,000 is going to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s disaster program. “They can do what they want, they can disperse as it needs dispersed. I realize it’s a drop in the bucket to the disaster down there, but it’s what we could do.”

Paschke appreciates Julie for her role in the fundraiser. “She did a heck of a job setting it up. I get to do the fun part – guiding the hunter.”

A challenging time for aerial applicators as they share the air with other aircraft

Spring is marked in farm country by field work, the movement of equipment between fields, and aerial spraying, all of which are jobs that require an eye for safety. Drones, both used by hobbyists and used commercially, often for field imaging, are a tool more producers are utilizing that also pose a risk for ag pilots.

According to Jessica Freeman, executive director of the Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association (CoAAA), 14 industries fly legally below 400 feet of altitude and neither ag pilots, nor drone pilots want the two to collide.

In the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration, it is the responsibility of the UAS, or drone, operator to see and avoid manned aircraft, leaving the UAS operator “an unknown liability if there is an accident.” In 2014, there were multiple close calls reported, most of which the FAA said resulted from a lack of knowledge rather than malicious intent on the part of the UAS operator. There were close calls between UAS and agricultural aircraft, a news media helicopter in Seattle, and the New York Police Department helicopters in two separate incidences.

Sam Rogge, past president of the CoAAA, experienced a bird strike in 2001 when a duck hit and came through the front wind screen of his aircraft at about 50 feet above ground level. According to a CoAAA fact sheet, Rogge had just completed the last spray pass on a field, pulled over power lines, and began a turn to ferry to the next field. The Mallard hen, weighing approximately 3 pounds, struck Rogge in the chest at approximately 150 miles per hour, before continuing out the back glass. Rogge’s lost his vision temporarily but was able to land the aircraft before being taken to the hospital. Rogge flies with a helmet with a visor, saving his face and eyes, and he made a full recovery and returned to aerial application.

Like a bird strike, a drone collision is potentially deadly, made more so by the lithium ion battery in the drone, a significant fire hazard.

With an increasing use of wind energy in Colorado, the use of Meteorological Evaluation Towers (MET towers) is increasing. The towers, used to determine location suitability for the placement of wind towers, are 200 feet above ground level and, as such, do not have to be on aviation charts or marked in accordance with the FAA definition of obstructions. The towers are often in proximity to agricultural land, are slim and difficult for a pilot to see, and are stabilized with guy wires.

Multiple fatalities have occurred from collisions with MET towers in the United States, including the death of 25-year aerial application veteran Stephen Allen in California. His family was awarded $6.7 million in a wrongful death suit in 2014 when it was determined that Allen was not made aware of the MET tower by the landowner, property manager, or client that contracted the spray job.

Freeman said Colorado passed legislation requiring MET towers to be properly marked in order to be visible to a pilot. Colorado Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, she said, was a staunch advocate for Colorado legislation requiring tower markings and the FAA adopted the state’s language.


In Colorado, there are approximately 42 active spray operations with an average of 80 to 85 pilots flying for those operations, typically flying in the 0 to 500 feet above ground level altitude. Though the pilot visually inspects each field for obstacles and hazards prior to lining up a spray pass, there are a number of challenges. According to the National Agricultural Aviation Association, aerial application is completed at 8-20 feet above ground level with trees and crops frequently blocking both the sound and view of the aircraft from others in the air space. Fixed wing aircraft climb rapidly out of the field and turn around over adjacent land to the field being sprayed.

Of the 85 pilots in Colorado, each is averaging 300 hours per year for a total average of 24,000 hours spent below 500 feet above ground level. These pilots comprise only one of the manned industries operating at low altitude.

The NAAA requires that drone operators remain below 400 feet above ground level and outside of five miles from any airport or airfield; keep the aircraft in sight at all times; and stay clear of temporary flight restrictions and media interest areas including fires, crime scenes and sporting events. With first responders, birds, aerial firefighters, aerial applicators, towers, and general aircraft hazards existing in low altitude, the responsibility to see and avoid hazards is the drone operators’.

Other examples of low altitude manned flight operations include coyote hunters, military helicopters, air tankers, livestock roundup helicopters, powerline and pipeline patrol operators, law enforcement helicopters, power line maintenance operators, game catch and survey operators, helicopters used for GIS mapping of noxious weed populations, power line erection companies, and seismic operators.

Freeman said UAS Colorado, a trade organization for drone operators in the state, has partnered with CoAAA on a safety project called Think Before You Launch. It included a visibility test between a drone and ag aircraft and a YouTube video from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

“It comes from both sides,” she said. “It’s not just us complaining, it’s drone operators saying, ‘we need to be careful­ — we can all work we just can’t be in the same space at the same time.’”

Freeman said it may be unlikely for an aerial applicator and a drone to be in the same field, aerial applicators need room over adjacent fields to turn between passes.

“It’s not so much that we would be in the same field, it’s just that we need room to turn over another field,” she said. “What scares us is if Farmer A hires somebody to come in and spray, and Farmer B, with a neighboring field hires somebody to image. If we both cross that border at the same time, do we have a collision?”

Freeman said the unique situation requires education. Without flight planning or technical solutions for deconfliction, communication and cooperation is vital to avoid potentially fatal collisions. Aerial applicators cannot see drones in the air from a distance allowing them to avoid a crash. With this, and the FAA regulations placing the responsibility to avoid aircraft on the shoulders of the drone operator, the liability and danger are both extremely high.

“We realize we have to share the air and we realize it’s not the easiest thing in the world to communicate, but how do we make this better so everybody is safe and profitable?” she said. ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.

Colorado cowboy’s late invite turns into big day

Denver’s Rodeo All Star competition, held at the National Western Complex on April 12-13, 2019, invited 126 cowboys and cowgirls from seven different associations and boasted a total purse of $126,000.

The two day event was a high energy rodeo, with the winners automatically earning a qualification to compete in the million dollar Days of ’47 rodeo in Salt Lake City. With all that in its favor, it was unexpected for a contestant to cancel just before the rodeo began.

Fortunately for bareback rider Casey Colletti, when the other participant couldn’t make it, Rodeo All Star organizers called to see if the Pueblo, Colo., cowboy could show up by that afternoon to fill the vacancy. It seemed to be fate intervening, as Colletti had attempted to enter the rodeo at an earlier date, but circumstances left him out of the competition.

“We thought he was up Saturday (April 13), only to find out Casey actually wasn’t entered at all due to miscommunication,” said Colletti’s wife, Kacee Willbanks Colletti. “I reached out to (rodeo organizer) Leon Vick to let him know we did want to come, so when he had a turn out he reached out to me Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and asked if Casey wanted to come up that day. So I woke Casey up and asked him if he wanted to go. He said, ‘well I guess we’ll just go’ and the rest is history.”

That history she described was Colletti driving up and notching the highest score of Saturday afternoon’s round with an 84-point ride. The first place finish qualified Colletti to advance into Saturday night’s championship round and he was pleased with the result.

“It is really cool, because I didn’t know what the horse was,” he said of the afternoon’s winning ride. “I have heard of him, but I have never been on him. Everyone was telling me good things about it. I was pretty excited and it worked out good.”


Moving ahead to Saturday night’s rodeo action also worked out good for Colletti. The evening’s format consisted of two phases of competition, where eight contestants from each event competed against each other to earn the top two scores or times and progress further into a head-to-head round, where the Rodeo All Star title then would be decided. Along with winning the title if they emerged the victor in the head-to-head round, there was also an accompanying bonus of $5,000 to add incentive.

When Saturday night’s performance kicked into gear, Colletti showed his affinity for competing at the National Western Complex by posting yet another high score for the round. His 87-point ride was one point better than Will Lowe’s 86 points, and it ensured the two veteran riders would return in short order to compete against each for the bareback title and the extra $5,000 check. To say the Colorado cowboy was enthusiastic about facing off against former world champion bareback rider Will Lowe would be an understatement. “I’m excited,” said Colletti about the upcoming match-up. “Being able to go against three time world champion Will Lowe in a shootout, head-to-head format? It is pretty cool. This is the kind of stuff we live for, you know what I mean? That final round, bear down, best of the best, run your hand in and see who is first.”

Lowe led the way out of the gate, and his flashy, black and white bronc soared and kicked throughout the 8-second ride, earning the Texas cowboy an impressive 90 points from the judges.

“What a great little horse,” said Lowe after the ride. “She was really electric. She bolted out of there hard and had kind of a wild move and then just set up and bailed in the air and had a lot of electricity and a lot of flash to her. She had a lot of hang time and a lot of snap with her back feet to help send your feet to the rigging. She was a great dancing partner and a lot of fun.”

Not only was it fun for Lowe, but it was fun for the crowd as they anticipated Colletti’s turn inside the arena. Needing to beat 90 points, he spurred a Cervi Rodeo Company bronc throughout a successful ride, but his efforts came up short when the judges awarded a score of 88 points. While he didn’t take home the title, Colletti remained upbeat.

“You know, I am happy,” he said after exiting the arena. “I had that horse in the short round of Denver this year and we were like 75 points and she knocked me goofy. So I kind of had revenge more on that horse than I did beating Will. Of course, it would have been nice to beat Will, but when somebody is 90 points?” he paused with an appreciative grin. “I went for broke and was trying to be 92. It didn’t work today.”

With every other event providing a similar measure of excitement, the weekend worked for Rodeo All Star organizers and fans alike.

“It was great,” described Leon Vick, NWSS senior director of Rodeo and Horse Show Operations, about the level of competition over the weekend. “It is always so fun to do the tournament style (format of rodeo), because the cream keeps rising to the top. I think that really showed tonight.”

2019’s bareback winner Will Lowe had high praise when summing up the rodeo.

“It is such a great event here,” he said while he collected his gear behind the chutes. “I loved the timed events, with the longer chute run and alley run. That just adds another element. I think rodeo fans in the area that don’t show up are missing out. The facility is great, the Cervis bring great animals, and it is exciting. You can’t say enough about an event like this.” ❖

— Rogers is a freelance writer and photographer located east of Parker, Colo. He can be reached at lincoln@lincolnrogers.com or you can find him on Facebook at Official Lincoln Rogers Writing & Photography Page.

Cheney named interim manager of the Wyoming State Fair

DOUGLAS. Wyo. – The Wyoming State Fair Board is pleased to announce that Dan Cheney has been named interim manager of the Wyoming State Fair while a search is conducted for a full-time manager.

A Wyoming native, Cheney grew up on a ranch and competed as a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card-carrying steer wrestler. Cheney brings years of experience and expertise in all levels of the fair, festival and rodeo industries to the Wyoming State Fair. He has served as COO of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, president and CEO of Cheyenne Frontier Days, founder/CEO/president of Forbes Capital Business Group Inc., director of global marketing and business development for Pro Equine Group, and general manager of The Show Place Arena in Memphis, Tenn.

“Dan’s background and accomplishments in this industry will be an incredible asset to the Wyoming State Fair as we plan and prepare for the 2019 Fair,” said Joe Rankin, Wyoming State Fair board chairman. “While the board searches for a full-time manager, we know the 2019 fair is in good hands with Dan. His expertise and perspective will help make the 2019 Wyoming State Fair a successful and exciting event in this time of transition.”

Cheney has a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wyoming and a MBA from the University of Memphis.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be named interim manager of the Wyoming State Fair” Cheney said. “As a Wyoming native, I’m excited to help the state fair board bridge the gap to a full-time manager and be a part of putting on this great event that impacts so many in our state in 2019.”

With an interim manager in place, the Wyoming State Fair Board will now start the process of selecting the ful-time manager of the Wyoming State Fair. The permanent Wyoming State Fair manager is expected to be named following the 2019 Wyoming Sate Fair.

The 2019 Wyoming State Fair will take place on August 13-17, 201, in Douglas, Wyo. For more information on the Wyoming State Fair, visit http://www.wystatefair.com/.

National Milk, NFU, Farm Bureau skeptical of dairy supply management

Officials from the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation all expressed skepticism last week about the idea that Congress would address the problems in the dairy industry by establishing a system of dairy supply management under which the government or some other entity would try to estimate the amount of milk in the country and tell farmers how much to produce.

With small dairy farms going out of business while larger farms produce ever more milk even though there is a surplus, the idea of supply management has gained popularity, especially since Canada has defended its supply management system so vigorously in the negotiations to revise the NAFTA.

Dairy processors oppose the idea, saying it could make the supply of milk unstable and that it flies in the face of attempts to grow the industry through exports.

The National Milk Producers Federation, the largest organization of dairy farmers and their co-operatives, has “a lot of constituencies within it,” Alan Bjerga, NMPF senior vice president for communications, told the North American Agricultural Journalists on April 8.

In 2014, he noted, NMPF came up with a plan that some considered limited supply management, but it was met with resistance from the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents companies that make and market dairy products to retailers, and from then-House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

That year, the farm bill included a Margin Protection Program based on the concept of giving farmers a margin between the price of milk and the cost of feed, but many dairy producers ultimately said the payouts were too low and did not sign up.

In 2018, Bjerga said, the goal was to “get dairy on the same page, to come up with real assistance to dairy producers.”

The result in the 2018 farm bill is a new, more generous program based on margin protection called the Dairy Margin Coverage program. Both NMPF and IDFA supported it.

NMPF’s leaders believe the new program will help dairy farmers, particularly if they sign up for higher levels of coverage, Bjerga said.

“Dairy farmers are not guaranteed a profit, but they are guaranteed a bit of a cushion if times are not catastrophically bad,” he added. NMPF’s current goals are to get farmers to sign up for the program and to convince bankers that help is on the way and that they do not need to plan to auction off farmers’ assets, he added.

But dairy farms are continuing to fail, and there are NMPF members who say the organization should push Congress to establish a supply management system.

NMPF’s goal is “to create tangible policy gains,” and “we can’t go down that road” of supply management, Bjerga said.

But Bjerga acknowledged there “are certainly devotees” of supply management within NMPF. “We welcome the discussion,” he added, explaining that the “window of what is the allowable range of discourse on an issue changes over time. A lot of constituents are putting out an idea that can move that window.”

A spokesman for National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said that Johnson is not skeptical about supply managment and that NFU members passed a special order that includes an “an incentives-based inventory management program to manage milk inventories based on market demand and pricing stability.”

Johnson told ag journalists that “internally in Farmers Union, the dairy voice is really loud” and that dairy farmers “have been arguing to us we need to get supply management through Congress.”

Johnson said he has told the dairy farmer members “that is not going to happen unless the demand comes from the countryside.” As a result, the Wisconsin Farmers Union is leading a national campaign to create support for dairy supply management.

There is unity in the industry that plant-based dairy products should not be labeled the same as products that contain milk from animals.

Johnson said he’s not sure that labeling “makes a big difference economically over the long haul.” But said, “We believe we need to be transparent with consumers. You need to be clear to the consumer you are buying dairy milk or something else.”

On trade, Johnson said, “People are deluding themselves if they think trade is going back to what it was. You cannot expect that countries are going to forget when the president of our country spends enormous amounts of time offending leaders all around the world. Those actions are going to have long-term repercussions.”

Meanwhile, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Market Intel service published a discussion of dairy supply management and an analysis of Farm Bureau’s internal discussions on the issue.

In the analysis, Farm Bureau Chief Economist John Newton noted that “grassroots leaders debated this issue in 2019 and ultimately decided to oppose a mandatory quota system with the willingness to consider a flexible supply management system that is administered through the marketplace and not through the federal government, i.e., milk processors and cooperatives alongside individual dairy farmers.”

Newton also noted that milk supply management programs, which provide incentives or penalties to limit perceived over-production, have been used previously in the U.S. with mixed results. “These programs included a USDA-administered milk diversion program, government-administered and industry-funded herd buyout programs, and base-excess plans, i.e., two-tiered pricing. In addition, a milk supply management program was heavily debated during the 2014 farm bill.”

“While this type of coordination could prove beneficial in the short run, some reflection should be given on the long run, such as considering reforms that would drive further investment and innovation in the U.S. dairy sector as well as expand our market access around the world,” Newton added.

“As a first step, Farm Bureau dairy farmer leaders will convene in 2019 and consider these very issues as they relate to milk pricing reform and, ultimately, the profitability and viability of U.S. dairy farmers,” he concluded. ❖

Senate confirms ambassador to UN food agencies ahead of election

The Senate late Thursday confirmed Kip Tom, an Indiana farmer, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies in Rome including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

The confirmation of Tom, which has been pending since 2018, comes a little more than two months before the election of a new FAO director general to succeed José Graziano da Silva, a Brazilian.

The election is scheduled to be held between June 22 and 29 during a meeting of delegates of the member countries at the FAO headquarters in Rome. Each member country gets one vote.

The candidates for the post of FAO director-general are Ramesh Chand of India, Davit Kirvalidze of Georgia, Qu Dongyu of China and Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle of France.

The Trump administration has not announced which candidate it will support.

Sources with FAO experience who are watching the run-up to the election say that China is promoting its candidate and they believe he is ahead. That raises questions of whether China sees holding the director=generalship of the FAO as a way to advance its international strategic goals.

One source also noted that an American has traditionally held the No. 2 position at the FAO and that the potential election of a Chinese candidate raises the question of whether that pattern would continue.

The four candidates addressed the council last Thursday, but their speeches were not webcast.

On Friday Chatham House, the British public policy group, and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies sponsored a discussion in Rome entitled “Beyond Food Security: The Challenges for the next FAO Director-General.” That event was webcast. (See link.)

Chatham House and the Italian institute invited all the candidates to take part, but only two agreed to participate, Kirvalidze and Geslain-Lanéelle.

During that event, Per Pinstrup-Andersen, a professor emeritus at Cornell University, said that FAO needs to move beyond trying to make sure that everyone in the world has enough calories to improving diets.

In some countries people do not have enough iron, in others not enough Vitamin A, while in many countries people are overeating, resulting in obesity, Pinstrup-Andersen said.

The FAO’s goals should be improving human and environmental health, reducing poverty and mitigating climate change in helping countries adapt to it, he said.

Gerda Verburg, coordinator of the UN Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement, agreed, saying “The future of food is not in the calories, it is in the quality” of food.

Verburg said it is also important to bring technology to female food producers in developing countries.

In her presentation, Geslain-Lanéelle said agriculture needs to be made more productive and efficient while more food processing and retail jobs are created in rural areas. She also said that FAO should be a “convenor” with other international organizations to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Kirvalidze emphasized that trade should be fair as well as free.

When Graziano da Silva addressed the FAO Council last week, he said that FAO will focus over the next two years on promoting nutrition-sensitive food systems and innovation in agriculture.

“We cannot only focus on tackling hunger anymore,” said Graziano da Silva. “The Sustainable Development Goal number 2 calls for the eradication of all forms of malnutrition. And there is a steady growth in the levels of overweight and obesity all around the world.”

“While hunger is circumscribed to specific areas, obesity is everywhere. In fact, we are witnessing the globalization of obesity,” he added.

2 Nebraska high school rodeo athletes to join the Marines

CRAWFORD, Neb. — Two Nebraska High School rodeo athletes are headed for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Dodge Daniels, Scotia, Neb., and Ralph Saults, Big Springs, Neb., are Marine recruits and will head to boot camp this summer.

Daniels, the son of Joan and Leroy Leth, has wanted to be a Marine since he was young. A friend of his mom’s, Kip Hughman, was a Marine who left a big impression on him. “He’s a really great guy,” Daniels said. “He’s smart, and has a level head. I’ve just always looked up to him.”

Saults has also wanted to be a Marine since he was young. “When I was little, I drew pictures all the time of the Marine Corps symbol, of Semper Fi.” His mother’s cousin and her brother-in-law are retired Marines, and their influence on Saults had an impact on him.

Daniels will graduate from Central Valley High School next month. In high school, he played football, wrestled, and was involved in FFA. He loves to hunt and fish, and would like to make a career out of the military.

Saults, the son of Scott and Jill Saults, will graduate from Big Springs High School in May. In high school, he played basketball, was in FFA, FCA, and was on the quiz bowl team. Saults was on the honor roll every semester from seventh grade throughout high school. Like Daniels, he loves to hunt.

Both men are planning on going into infantry, and both will attend Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, Calif. Daniels will leave in August, and Saults will go in September.

After boot camp, both will go to the Marine Corps MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), where they will refine their studies for more specialized roles.

Saults is looking forward to being a “leatherneck,” for several reasons. “Their morals are great, they strive for perfection, they are loyal, they emphasize teamwork, honor and leadership,” he said. “Everything about the Marine Corps is good. It’s a brotherhood. It’s something I like.”

If the men stay in the Marine Corps for four years, their college will be paid for.

Saults isn’t sure, but he thinks he’ll like it. “The way I see it, if I love it, I might stay, or not. It’s only four years out of my life. They pay for my college, and they set me up for greater things. If I hate it, it’s only four years of my life. More than likely, I’m not going to hate it. I’ll like it.”

Both men are members of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association. Daniels competes in the bull riding; Saults is a tie-down roper and team roper. Daniels finished the 2017-2018 high school rodeo year in third place in his event, and went on to represent Nebraska at the National High School Finals Rodeo. Saults competed at state finals the past three years and is the 2017-2018 state high school rodeo light rifle champion. He competed in the light rifle shooting at the National High School Finals Rodeo.

The Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo will be held in Hastings at the Adams County Fairgrounds June 13-15. The rodeo is held at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13 and Friday June 14, with the finals at 1 p.m. on June 15. Tickets are $7 for everyone ages 5 and up and are available through the office and at the gate. For more information, visit AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com or hsrodeo-nebraska.com, or call (402) 462-3247.