La Plata County Farm Bureau celebrates 100-year anniversary
This year is the Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Anniversary, and La Plata County Farm Bureau is hosting a “Boots and Blossoms” themed celebration of agriculture at the Sky Ute Casino Friday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. to commemorate this milestone event. The La Plata County Farm Bureau’s celebration includes their annual meeting and dinner; tickets available at Basin Co-op and Farm Bureau Insurance office on Main Avenue — $18 adult, $12 children.
Colorado’s new agriculture commissioner and prior resident of Durango, Kate Greenberg, will be speaking at the event. Greenberg was appointed last year at only 31 years of age, and brings to the state a fresh perspective with focus on young farmers and ranchers. “We’re honored to have Kate speak, and we care about her focus in office which is to encourage the next generation,” said La Plata County Farm Bureau President, Charly Minkler.
“There have been many technological advances in how farm and ranch operations are run today, and the next generation’s going to be critical for continued innovations in the agriculture industry,” Minkler said. “Crops in the field look pretty much the same today to the way they looked 100 years ago, but the way we produce crops and raise livestock, and the ways we bring food to the table have changed dramatically.” Minkler cited technological advancements such as systems which lower the amount of water used for crops and computerized systems which are synched to weather so watering is cancelled or adjusted when it rains. “These are technologies farmers and ranchers are managing from an app on their phone,” said Minkler.
Another trend for the next generation of farmers and ranchers is the “Farm to Table” movement, a tradition from the past which has come full-circle. “The public is regaining appreciation for the freshness and added variety when markets and restaurants source their food from local farms and ranches,” said Minkler. According to Minkler at least 87% of U.S. ag products sold are produced on family farms or ranches. Buying local requires less energy and money for transportation, which also translates to better value and quality of nutrients just by getting food from the farm to the table in a shorter time and distance.
Minkler emphasized how the agriculture industry is actively looking at ways to work smarter using science, technology, and common sense to their advantage. “Still, while we’re working to increase conservation and productivity, it seems like the public’s knowledge about farming and ranching is decreasing.” According to a 2017 study by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy, 7% of American adults actually thought brown cows made chocolate milk! The general public even seems to share the misconception that brown eggs are better for you, when in fact brown and white shelled eggs have identical nutritional values. “We all eat, but few understand the effort behind the groceries on display or the items on the menu,” said Minkler. “Acknowledging this gap is a good place to start.”
The La Plata County Farm Bureau will also be premiering a Perspectives on Agriculture video at their Sept. 20 event, which is sponsored by La Plata County Farm Bureau; Katie & Charly Minkler; Reata Ranch — Debbie & J Paul Brown; Huntington Ranches, LLC; and Montoya Cattle of Colorado, Inc. The video is produced by Will Witt, a national media personality known for his “man on the street” style videos which break down topics, news, and issues from an educational and often humorous angle. “The video’s objective is to highlight existing perspectives on agriculture, which is an apolitical assignment,” said Minkler. “It’s going to give us a glimpse of our local community’s knowledge and views on agriculture, and we’re looking forward to sharing the results.