Rocky Ag Notebook: CSU vet professor honored, proposed bill could leave farms and ranches exposed to lawsuits |

Rocky Ag Notebook: CSU vet professor honored, proposed bill could leave farms and ranches exposed to lawsuits

Large-Animal Veterinary Professor at CSU Earns Top Teaching Honor

During nearly 20 years teaching large-animal veterinary medicine at Colorado State University, Dr. Robert Callan has reassessed his role: He no longer sees himself as a traditional stand-and-deliver professor, but as a coach who helps students enrich their knowledge and skills.

The method makes a difference, whether Callan is focusing on sheep, goats, llamas, beef cattle or dairy cattle.

Callan’s dedicated and interactive style recently earned him a spot among the 15 Top Large Animal Vet Professors recognized by Vet Tech Colleges online. The large-animal veterinarian and professor in the CSU Department of Clinical Sciences is among the faculty and staff who have elevated CSU’s Professional Veterinary Medicine Program to the No. 3 vet school in the nation, based on U.S. News and World Report rankings.

Callan is chief of staff for the Large Animal Hospital within the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He leads his students with energy and a true passion for veterinary medicine, said third-year veterinary student Elyse Dowdy.

In 2007, Callan earned the American Association of Veterinary Medicine Student Teaching Excellence Award in Clinical Sciences. He also has been recognized with and the Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teaching Award sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health.

Analysis: Farms, ranches in Colorado More Exposed To Lawsuits Under Proposed Bill

A bill intended to increase protections for farms and ranches that allow tourists onto their property for an up-close look at real-life agriculture may actually increase exposure to lawsuits for working farms and ranches, an analysis by Colorado Civil Justice League indicates.

“I know the intentions behind this bill are noble, but the fact is that ordinary farms and ranches actually lose protections,” Colorado Civil Justice League executive director Mark Hillman said in a new release.

Hillman also operates a farm on the eastern Plains.

“Let’s hope these shortcomings can be fixed, so the bill truly is helpful to agriculture,” he added.

HB 1280 removes the option to “exercise reasonable care,” notes the analysis by Colorado Civil Justice League, it strips farms and ranches of any protection if they didn’t require visitors to sign a waiver of liability or didn’t post signs explaining the inherent risks, and the bill lowers the standard of care required from “willful or wanton.”

55 Groups Ask Congress to Help Stop USDA from Introducing FMD Into the U.S.

In a letter, 55 organizations asked a bipartisan group of five U.S. Senators for help in stopping the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from going forward with plans to relax the nation’s protections against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

On Dec. 23, 2013, APHIS proposed to relax U.S. disease protections to allow the importation of fresh beef from Brazil, a country where, according to the group’s letter, FMD is still considered endemic.

“We are concerned that APHIS is disregarding its responsibilities under the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA),” the groups told the Senators.

The groups want Congress to require APHIS to suspend consideration of its Brazilian rule until after the agency updates its 2003 Final Report for the Animal Disease Risk Assessment, Prevention, and Control Act of 2001.

Citing USDA trade reports indicating that the U.S. has been importing fresh beef from China and fresh pork from Colombia, even though both countries are banned from exporting either beef or pork to the U.S. due to FMD, the groups are also asking Congress to conduct an immediate investigation to determine if U.S. import controls have already been undermined.

The bipartisan group of Senators that received the group’s request include Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

University Foundations Win Wyoming Ranchland Case

The Wyoming Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against a Denver woman who sued to block foundations at the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University from selling a ranch she donated to them in the late 1990s.

According to the Associated Press, Wyoming’s high court unanimously upheld a district court ruling that Amy Davis lacked standing to contest plans by the University of Wyoming Foundation and Colorado State University Research Foundation to sell the Y Cross Ranch.

Davis envisioned that the universities would use the Y Cross as a field classroom for agriculture students, and that profits from the working ranch would fund scholarships in agriculture education. But neither happened on a significant scale.

The foundations began preparing to auction off the ranch in 2001 but suspended those plans after Davis sued in 2012.

In Search Of A Fair Deal

State Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, plans to introduce a bill Monday in the Legislature that would help allocate extra funds for the Colorado State Fair.

Garcia’s bill would allocate $300,000 to be used to add new carpet to the 4-H dorms, install new air fans in the Livestock Pavilion and the Palace of Agriculture, and add a new sound system for the Livestock Pavilion. The money also would be used to purchase new portable goat pens.

The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Monday afternoon.

Wiseman said the Fair can’t afford to install new air conditioners to quell the relentless heat in some of the buildings during the 11-day event. He said the new fans would move a tremendous amount of air and make it more comfortable for Fairgoers.

“They can reduce the temperature in a building between 4 and 5 degrees,” Wiseman said.

Garcia said he wants to help the Fair because it is important for the state and Pueblo.

Regional Ag Association Elects 1st Woman President

The Rocky Mountain Agribusiness Association named a new board of directors as part of its 2014 activities at their Winter Meeting recently.

The 10-person board will work to continue the efforts of RMAA to provide leadership for agriculture professionals and to improve legislative and advocacy efforts of agribusiness as a whole.

RMAA welcomes Sandra McDonald, of Mountain West PEST, as the 2014 president of the association. McDonald’s role as president sets a precedent for the association as she is the first women to serve as president of RMAA.

When asked about what being the first female president means to her, McDonald said, “This is just another example of the advancements that the agriculture industry is making; it is an honor to be recognized as a leader of this industry.”

In its 60-plus years as the leading agribusiness association, RMAA has had women serve as directors and officers on the board, but has never seen a woman in the president role.

McDonald was elected as president of the association by her 350 fellow, predominantly male, RMAA members.