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Estimated crop water use

The estimated crop water use for Nebraska Panhandle crops for the previous week and the upcoming week is shown in this table. It is based on data gathered by and calculations made by Nebraska Extension personnel. Crop water use will vary across the Panhandle due to variation in temperature and precipitation events. Crop water use will assist growers with irrigation scheduling and efficient water use.

USDA invests $55.2M in grants to increase capacity and expand access in meat and poultry inspection operations

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on June 21 announced $55.2 million in competitive grant funding available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

“We are building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and mid-sized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through MPIRG, meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities can cover the costs for necessary improvements to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.”

USDA encourages grant applications that focus on improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency; developing new and expanding existing markets; increasing capacity and better meeting consumer and producer demand; maintaining strong inspection and food safety standards; obtaining a larger commercial presence; and increasing access to slaughter or processing facilities for smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, and veteran producers. Eligible meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities include commercial businesses, cooperatives, and tribal enterprises.

MPIRG’s Planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection (PFGI) project is for processing facilities currently in operation and are working toward federal inspection. Applicants can be located anywhere in the states and territories. Whereas, MPIRG’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) compliance project is only for processing facilities located in states with a Food Safety and Inspection Service CIS program. These states currently include Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Applicants must be working toward CIS program compliance requirements to operate a state-inspected facility or make a good faith effort toward doing so.

Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application.

AMS offers webinars for applicants to help walk them through the Request for Application. Additionally, grants management specialists are standing by to answer any incoming questions and emails during regular business hours. For more information about grant eligibility and program requirements, visit the MPIRG webpage, or contact us at mpirg@usda.gov.

Weld County Farm Bureau presents 5 scholarships

The Weld County Farm Bureau board of directors was honored to present three graduating high school seniors and two continuing college students with $1,000 scholarships.


Austin Hays, son of Michael and Michelle Hays, graduated from Eaton High School with plans to attend Garden City Community College and study ag mechanics. Sam Scanga, son of John and Chauna Scanga, graduated from Highland High School. Scanga plans to attend Northeastern Junior College and major in agricultural business. Austin Huwa graduated from Wiggins High School and is the son of Brent and Tonya Huwa. He will be attending Western Oklahoma State College, then transferring to Oklahoma State University. His major will be in animal science, veterinary medicine and equine surgery. Julia Kaitlyn Becker, daughter of Carl Robert Becker and Dianne Pastelak Becker, is a sophomore at the Colorado School of Mines. Becker will be continuing her studies in environmental engineering. Ashlyn Ochsner, daughter of Kevin and Julie Ochsner, is currently majoring in animal science with a business emphasis. Ochsner will continue her studies at Texas Tech University.

Weld County Farm Bureau wishes these winners success in their future.

College National Finals Rodeo crowns 2021 champions

CASPER, Wyo. — The 72nd annual College National Finals Rodeo crowned 2021 individual, all-around and team champions during the final round of competition Saturday at the Ford Wyoming Center.

Cole Franks of Clarendon, Texas, turned in the highest-marked ride of the week — 85 points on Vold Rodeo’s horse Misty Frontier — to win the final round of bareback riding and the national title. Franks, a sophomore agricultural business major at Clarendon College, came into the final round two points behind leader Jacob Lees, a Californian representing Western Texas College.

Franks was crowned the 2021 CNFR All-Around Cowboy and the 2021 Men’s Rookie of the Year. He was the only cowboy to qualify for the final round in two events — bareback and saddle bronc riding. Franks was competing at his second CNFR. His father Bret, the rodeo coach at Clarendon College, is a former CNFR and National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc rider.

Tie-down roper Macon Murphy of Keatchie, La., was another second-generation CNFR athlete to win a 2021 title. His parents K.C. and Julie competed at the CNFR in the late 1980s with K.C. being a member of Montana State University’s 1988 national championship team.

Murphy, who was part of the 2019 national championship team for Panola College, roped and tied his calf in 9.8 seconds. Leader Caleb Berquist had a great opportunity to make a solid run and win the title, but he drew a kicking calf and could not finish fast enough to beat Murphy.

The battle for the championship in breakaway roping came down to two freshmen. Zoie Bedke of Oakley, Idaho, trailed Grace Felton of Susanville, Calif., by three-tenths of a second as the round began. Bedke, a physical therapy major at Idaho State University, caught her calf in 2.4 seconds giving her a total of 10.3 on four runs. Felton, an agricultural business major at Lassen College, also caught her calf in 2.4 seconds, but she started too quickly and was assessed a 10-second penalty. Bedke took the title home to Idaho.

In saddle bronc riding Dylan Schofield of Philip, S.D., scored 84.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s horse Popsicle to take the lead in the final round. Schofield, a junior welding major at Western Texas College, came into the round trailing Clarendon College’s Cash Wilson by 6.5 points overall. Vold Rodeo’s horse Ima Be threw Wilson in the dirt and Schofield earned the national title.

Gavin Soileau of Bunkie, La., was the first national champion to hold onto first place Saturday night. The junior agricultural business major from McNeese State University wrestled his steer to the ground in 4.2 seconds which was good enough for second in the final round. His total time of 19.2 seconds earned him the national steer wrestling title to go along with his two National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association southern region championships.

In goat tying Jill Donnelly of Surprise, Ariz., came into the final round in third place. The junior business administration major clocked a time of 6.5 seconds, giving her a total of 26.4 seconds. When leader Paige Rasmussen of Montana State University clocked a time of 6.3, it looked as if she would win the national title, but the goat failed to stay tied, disqualifying her. Donnelly, who carries a 4.0 grade point average, was competing in her second CNFR and won the national title to go along with her NIRA Grand Canyon region championship.

The team roping finalists had tough time connecting. Until the final two teams rode in the box, only one qualified time had been made. The championship came down to two pairs of brothers. JC and LJ Yeahquo of Crescent, Okla., trailed Kellan and Carson Johnson of Casper by one-tenth of a second. The Yeahquos, who both major in business administration at Western Oklahoma College, roped their steer in 6.9 seconds, giving them a total of 27.7. The Johnsons, who major in psychology and education respectively at Casper College, brought the hometown crowd to their feet when they caught their steer in 6.0 seconds to win the national title by one second.

Tayla Moeykens of Three Forks, Mont., came from fourth place to win the barrel racing title. Her time of 13.99 seconds was the fastest of the week and won the final round. The freshman business and marketing major at Montana State University also won the first and the third rounds of barrel racing and earned the Women’s Rookie of the Year title.

Tristen Hutchings of Blackfoot, Idaho, left no doubt as to who should win the bull riding title. The junior animal science major at Sul Ross State University in Texas rode Vold Rodeo’s bull Milk Mustache for 90 points to win the final round. He was the only athlete to ride three of four bulls in Casper.

Montana State University won the women’s team championship with Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s team as reserve champions. Reserve champion men’s team was 2019 champion Panola College.

Plans are underway for the 73rd.


Bareback – Cole Franks, Clarendon College, 330.5 points

Tie-Down Roping – Macon Murphy, Panola College, 39.1 seconds.

Breakaway Roping – Zoie Bedke, Idaho State University, 10.3 seconds

Saddle Bronc Riding – Dylan Schofield, Western Texas College, 310 points

Steer Wrestling – Gavin Soileau, McNeese State University, 19.2 seconds

Goat Tying – Jill Donnelly, Cochise College, 26.5 seconds

Team Roping – Kellan and Carson Johnson, Casper College, 26.7 seconds

Barrel Racing – Tayla Moeykens, Montana State University, 56.84 seconds

Bull Riding – Tristen Hutchings, Sul Ross State University, 241.5

Men’s All-Around – Cole Franks, Clarendon College, 195 points

Women’s All-Around – Paige Rasmussen, Montana State University and Jill Donnelly, Cochise College 180

Men’s Team – Clarendon College, 890 points

Women’s Team – Montana State University, 590 points

Men’s Rookie – Cole Franks Clarendon College 395

Women’s Rookie – Tayla Moeykens, Montana State University, 320

Men’s AQHA Horse of the Year – Bridger Anderson, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, “Teller I Pass”

Women’s AQHA Horse of the Year – Jaylie Matthews, East Mississippi Community College, “Feelin the Firewater”


The following are final round and overall winners at the 72nd annual College National Finals Rodeo, June 19, 2021, courtesy of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Complete results are available at www.collegerodeo.com.

Bareback Riding: (final round) 1, Cole Franks, Clarendon College, 85 points on Vold Rodeo’s Wrangler Valley. 2, (tie) Gauge McBride, Panola College, and Nick Pelke, Missouri Valley College, 83 each. 4, (tie) Waylon Bourgeois, McNeese State University and Kolt Dement, Panola College, 82.5. (overall winners) 1, Franks, 330.5 points on four. 2, Dement, 322. 3, Pelke, 321.5. 4, Jacob Lees, Western Texas College, 320. 5, Bourgeois, 313. 6, McBride, 309.5. 7, Dean Thompson, Western Texas College, 308.5. 8, Brody Smith, University of Montana Western, 307.5.

Tie Down Roping: (final round) 1, Connor Atkinson, Wharton County Community College, 9.4 seconds. 2, Macon Murphy, Panola College, 9.8. 3, Kincaid Henry, Panola College, 11.5. 4, Collin Palmer, Black Hills State University, 13.3. (overall winners) 1, Murphy, 39.1 seconds on four. 2, Caleb Berquist, Montana State University, 44.3. 3, Atkinson, 47.6. 4, Palmer, 49.1. 5, Henry, 52.0. (on three) 6, Ladd King, Weber State University, 32.6. 7, Garrett Jacobs, Sul Ross State University, 33.8. 8, Levi Delamarter, Montana State University, 34.3.

Breakaway Roping: (final round) 1, Zoie Bedke, Idaho State University, 2.4 seconds. 2, Hannah Phillips, Sam Houston State University, 2.7. 3, Catherine Clayton, Cochise College, 2.8. 4, Jayce Blake, Treasure Valley Community College, 3.0. (overall winners) 1, Bedke, 10.3. 2, Courtney Peters, Black Hills State University, 11.3. 3, Clayton, 13.7. 4, Brianna Williams, Chadron State College, 17.9. 5, Grace Felton, Lassen College, 20.0. 6, Phillips, 21.0. 7, Blake, 30.1. 8, (tie) Winter Williams, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Blair Bryant, East Mississippi Community College, 9.5 seconds on three.

Saddle Bronc Riding: (final round) 1, Dylan Schofield, Western Texas College, 84.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Popcicle. 2, Weston Patterson, Clarendon College, 80. 3, Clayson Hutchings, Utah State University Eastern, 79.5. 4, Reed Neely, California State University Fresno, 77.5. (overall winners) 1, Schofield, 310 on four. 2, Patterson, 301.5. 3, Hutchings, 296.5. 4, Neely, 292.5. 5, Russell Kay, College of Southern Idaho, 273. 6, Scott Lauaki, Utah State University Eastern, 264. (on three) 7, Cash Wilson, Clarendon College, 232. 8, Ty Pope, Missouri Valley College, 226.

Steer Wrestling: (final round) 1, Grant Peterson, Cal Poly State University – San Luis Obispo, 4.0 seconds. 2, Gavin Soileau, McNeese State University, 4.2. 3, Trisyn Kalawai’a, Central Arizona College, 4.4. 4, Bryce Harrison, University of Montana Western, 4.6. (overall winners) 1, Soileau, 19.2 seconds. 2, Peterson, 27.8. 3, Harrison, 29.2. 4, Chadron Coffield, University of Wyoming, 29.8. 5, Seth Peterson, University of Wyoming, 32.1. 6, Kalawai’a, 33.5. 7, Gus Franzen, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 35.4. 8, Sterling Lee, Mid Plains Community College, 40.9.

Goat Tying: (final round) 1, Sheyenne Anderson, Missouri Valley College, 6.2 seconds. 2, Jill Donnelly, Cochise College, 6.5. 3, (tie) Heather McLaughlin, University of West Alabama, and Maddee Doerr, Cochise College, 6.8 each. (overall winners) 1, Donnelly, 26.4 on four. 2, Anderson, 26.6. 3, Doerr, 27.5. 4, Kodey Hoss, Weatherford College, 27.6. 5, McLaughlin, 27.7. 6, Kamryn Duncan, McNeese State University, 27.8. 7, Madelyn Schauer, Eastern New Mexico University, 28.2. 8, Taylour Latham, University of Wyoming, 29.4.

Team Roping: (final round) 1, Kellan and Carson Johnson, Casper College, 6.0 seconds. 2, J.C. and L.J. Yeahquo, Western Oklahoma State College, 6.9 seconds. 3, Jase Staudt, University of Wyoming and J.C. Flake, Gillette College, 11.5. 4, Ethan Griffin, Oklahoma State University and Blayne Horne, Western Oklahoma State College, 11.7. (overall winners) 1, Johnson and Johnson, 26.7 seconds on four. 2, Yeahquo and Yeahquo, 27.7. 3, Will Eddleman, Cisco College and Garrett Jacobs, Sul Ross State University, 46.4. (on three) 4, Griffin and Horne, 24.7. 5, Staudt and Flake, 27.4. 6, Wyatt Murray, and Whitt Crozier, Panhandle State University, 29.1. 7, Jon Peterson, and Trae Smith, Gillette College, 29.8. 8, Jace Hanks, Utah Valley University and Kale Lamb, Utah State University Eastern, 36.8.

Barrel Racing: (final round) 1, Tayla Moeykens, Montana State University, 13.99 seconds. 2, Bradi Good, Weatherford College, 14.03. 3, Shai McDonald, Montana State University, 14.21. 4, Abby Hepper, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 14.24. (overall winners) 1, Moeykens, 56.84 on four. 2, Jaylie Matthews, East Mississippi Community College, 57.13. 3, Hepper, 57.16. 4, McDonald, 57.29. 5, Good, 57.54. 6, Karson Bradley, University of Wyoming, 57.71. 7, Payton Schoeppach, Cuesta College, 57.75. 8, Sadie Wolaver, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 61.84.

Bull Riding: (final round – two rides) 1, Tristen Hutchings, Sul Ross State University, 90 points on Vold Rodeo’s Milk Mustache. 2, Cole Skender, Three Rivers College, 83. (overall winners) 1, Hutchings, 241.5 points on three. 2, Skender, 167.5 on two. 3, Austin Allred, Utah State University Eastern, 147.5. 4, Holden Moss, Three Rivers College, 147. 5, Stefan Tonita, Larimie County Community College, 81. 6, Quinten Taylor, Casper College, 79.5. 7, Cullen Telfer, Tarleton State University, 78. 8, Hunter Tate, Coffeyville Community College, 77.

Men’s All-Around: 1, Cole Franks, Clarendon College, 395. 2, Seth Peterson, University of Wyoming, 185. 3, (tie) Garrett Jacobs, Sul Ross State University, and Jace Staudt, University of Wyoming, 160.

Women’s All-Around: (tie) 1, Paige Rasmussen, Montana State University and Jill Donnelly, Cochise College, 180 points each.

Men’s Team: 1, Clarendon College, 890 points. 2, Panola College, 790. 3, Casper College, 755. 4, Western Texas College, 715.

Women’s Team: 1, Montana State University, 590. 2, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 432.5. 3, Cochise College, 403.33. 4, East Mississippi Community College, 257.5.

Neb. youth qualify for National High School Rodeo competition

HASTINGS, Neb. — The Nebraska High School Rodeo season wrapped up last weekend with the high school finals in Hastings at the Adams County Fairgrounds. Rodeo athletes from across the Cornhusker State competed in two go-rounds on June 17-18 and the short go-round on June 19. The top four contestants in each of 15 events were determined, and they will go on to compete at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Neb., at the Lancaster Events Center July 18-24.

The 2020-2021 champions are Spencer Denaeyer, Seneca, bareback riding; Elle Ravenscroft, Nenzel, barrel racing; Cooper Bass, Brewster, boys cutting; Jaya Nelson, Bassett, breakaway roping; Hunter Boydston, Grover, Colo., bull riding; Mekenna Fisher, Hershey, girls cutting; Wacey Day, Fleming, Colo., goat tying; Madison Mills, Eddyville, pole bending; Brody McAbee, Ansley, saddle bronc riding; Dane Pokorny, Stapleton, steer wrestling; Hayes Wetzel, Palmer, team roping header; Ryan Shepherd, North Platte, team roping heeler; Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff, tie-down roping; Tatum Olson, Bloomfield, reined cow horse; Jate Saults, Big Springs, light rifle shooting, and Tanner Ellis, Minden, trap shooting.

Boys rookie of the year is Hayden Stump, Elsmere, and the girls rookie of the year is Clancy Jo Brown, North Platte. Cooper Bass is the year-end boys all-around champion; Wacey Day is the year-end girls all-around champion. Girls state finals all-around winner was Madison Mills, Eddyville, and the boys state finals all-around winner went to Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff.

The 2021-2022 Miss Nebraska High School Rodeo queen is Ashton Werth, Hyannis.

The following are synopses of some of the champions.

Barrel racing champion – Elle Ravenscroft, Nenzel

Ravenscroft led the pack all year long, with her competitors in the rearview mirror.

The Nenzel cowgirl led the barrel racing rankings the entire year, and even with a bobble at state finals, finished as the 2021 state barrel racing champion.

Going into state, she was 20 points ahead of the number two cowgirl, Taci Flinn. In the first round, she finished fifth; in the second round, she tipped a barrel to add a five second penalty to her time and take her out of the placings.

Nenzel’s Elle Ravenscroft won the barrel racing title for the 2020-2021 Nebraska High School Rodeo Association. A graduate of Cody-Kilgore High School, she will play basketball at Chadron College this fall. Photo by Steph Miller

In the short round, she finished second behind Flinn. “She was on my back the whole finals,” Ravenscroft said. “Being chased is not a great feeling. I had great competition and that was a little intimidating at times.”

She didn’t realize she had won the state title till the announcer mentioned it. “I was holding my breath,” she said.

She’s excited to compete at the NHSFR in Lincoln, because of its proximity. “It’s hometown. I think there will be pressure to represent your state well. I’m really excited about it.”

The 2021 Cody-Kilgore High School graduate won’t compete in collegiate rodeo; she will play basketball at Chadron (Neb.) State College, where she’ll pursue a degree in physical education and health.

She was recruited by both the basketball and rodeo coaches, but chose basketball. “That was honestly, a big decision. I decided we’re going to try basketball. I can always rodeo in the summer. I wanted the opportunity to play basketball because rodeo’s always going to be there.”

She is the daughter of Eric and Shannon Ravenscroft.

Bareback riding champion – Spencer Denaeyer, Seneca

Denaeyer was the only bareback rider to make three qualified rides at state, to win the state title.

Entering state finals, he was three and a half points behind Tanner Drueke.

“I just went in super motivated, knowing I had my work cut out,” he said. “I had people to chase, and I think that honestly improved my performance more than anything.”

Spencer Denaeyer, Seneca, is the 2020-2021 Nebraska High School bareback riding champion. He will be a senior at Mullen High School this fall. Photo by Steph Miller

This is his second qualification for the NHSFR; his first one was as a freshman, which didn’t go as well as he would have liked. That provides incentive for this year. “I think it’s time to take advantage of the fact that it’s in Lincoln. It’s time to give it everything I’ve got and compete with all the year-end champs. It’ll be tough. It’ll be time to put the pedal to the floor.”

Denaeyer will be a senior at Mullen High School this fall; he participates in football, wrestling, and track and was on the honor roll for two quarters this year.

He is the son of Martin and Bree Denaeyer.

Goat tying champion – Wacey Day, Fleming, Colo.

The closest race in all of the events came down to the goat tying, with 18-year-old cowgirl Day winning the title by one point over the number two cowgirl, Jessica Stevens.

It was a roller coaster year, with ups and downs all season, but at state, Day dominated, winning both the first and second round and the short round as well. “I didn’t have a choice but to do that if I wanted to win it,” she said.

She also finished second in the breakaway roping and will compete at nationals in that as well. This will be her fourth trip to nationals.

The salutatorian of the of Lone Star High School Class of 2021, she will attend Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo., this fall and get her prerequisites done before transferring to another school to work towards a certification in radiology. She will rodeo collegiately, in the goat tying, breakaway roping, barrel racing, and team roping.

The daughter of Shane and Heather Day, Wacey is also the year-end all-around winner.

Pole bending champion – Madison Mills, Eddyville

Mills’ 2021 pole bending title was the third state championship the Eddyville cowgirl has won.

She led the state the entire year, and felt a little pressure from freshman Clancy Jo Brown, but after four years of high school state qualifications and two years of junior high, she’s taught herself how to handle the pressure.

“I’ve learned how to deal with it and calm my nerves,” she said. “I tell myself, ‘it’s nothing new, I’ve been doing it for six years (through high school and junior high rodeo), we practice all week long,’ so I trust my horse and my own riding ability and that’s how I calm myself down.”

The Sumner-Eddyville-Miller High School graduate will attend Mid-Plains Community College in McCook this fall to study criminal justice. She has decided to forego college rodeo, at least for her freshman year, to be able to concentrate on her studies. “Rodeo will take up a lot of time and practice and I’d rather focus on school,” she said.

She also finished in third place in the barrels and will be at nationals in that event as well.

She is the daughter of Matt and Melissa McTygue.

Light rifle champion – Jate Saults, Big Springs

Saults is the light rifle champion for the Nebraska State High School Rodeo Association.

State competition was held in an indoor shooting range, which was beneficial, he said, with no bad weather to affect the competitors.

He shot a personal best, with a final score of 298 out of 320. “That was a really good day for me.”

This will be Saults’ third trip to nationals in the shooting; he will also compete in the team roping at the NHSFR, having won second with header Brent Charlton.

He’s ready to be in Lincoln for nationals. “I’m looking forward to representing Nebraska. I think a lot of kids will really like how big our city is and how much there is to do. When you’re in Rock Springs (Wyoming, where former NHSFR events have been held), it’s out in the middle of nowhere.”

Cooper Bass wins the boys cutting for the 2020-2021 Nebraska High School Rodeo Association. He is a resident of Brewster. Photo by Steph Miller

For complete results, visit http://www.hsrodeo-nebraska.com/results. For more information on the state finals and the NHSFR, www.hsrodeo-nebraska.com, www.NHSFRLincoln.org, and www.nhsra.com.

Nebraska High School Qualifiers for the 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Neb. July 18-24.

Bareback riding: Champion: Spencer Denaeyer, Seneca; 2. Tanner Drueke, Sutherland; 3. Cole Kerner, Sutherland; 4. Tate Miller, Springview

Barrel racing: Champion: Elle Ravenscroft, Nenzel; 2. Taci Flinn, Arcadia; 3. Madison Mills, Eddyville; 4. Jenae Whitaker, Chambers; Alternate -Clancy Jo Brown, North Platte

Boys cutting: Champion: Cooper Bass, Brewster; 2. Hayden Jennings, Seneca; 3. Cody Miller, Broken Bow; 4. Bo Bushhousen, St. Libory; Alternate – Tatum Olson, Bloomfield

Breakaway roping: Champion: Jaya Nelson, Bassett; 2. Wacey Day, Fleming, Colo.; 3. Jace Hurlburt, Arcadia; 4. Tehya From, Crookston; Alternate – Emma Ohm, Hyannis

Bull riding: Champion:. Hunter Boydston, Grover, Colo.; 2. Cole Kerner, Sutherland; 3. Tanner Drueke, Sutherland; 4. Dalton Garey, Broken Bow ; Alternate – Drew Farrell, Merriman

Girls cutting: Champion: Mekenna Fisher, Hershey; 2. Peyton Fisher, Hershey; 3. Faith Storer, Arthur; 4. Whitney Jennings, Seneca; Alternate -Emma Pearson, Broken Bow

Goat tying: Champion:. Wacey Day, Fleming, Colo.; 2. Jessica Stevens, Creighton; 3. Emma Ohm, Hyannis; 4. Kaci Wickersham, Verdigre; Alternate – Kinley Greenough, Kearney

Pole bending: Champion: Madison Mills, Eddyville; 2. Clancy Jo Brown, North Platte; 3. Abigail Lawton, Overton; 4. Jenae Whitaker, Chambers; Alternate – Lauren Lehl, Alliance

Saddle bronc riding: Champion: Brody McAbee, Ansley

2. Leif Meidell, Harrison; 3. Monty Bailey, Lakeside; 4. Dean Schroder, Taylor; Alternate – Augustus Painter, Ainsworth

Steer wrestling: Champion: Dane Pokorny, Stapleton; 2. Coy Johnston, Stapleton; 3. Rhett Witt, Valentine

4. Rex Day, Bartlett; Alternate – Gage Davis, Cody

Team roping: Champions: Hayse Wetzel, Palmer and Ryan Shepherd, North Platte; 2. Brent Charlton, North Platte and Jate Saults, Big Springs; 3. Cooper Bass, Brewster and Zack Bradley, Brewster; 4. Jace Hurlburt, Arcadia and Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff; Alternate – Jasper Neal, Amherst, Sage Dieter, Alma

Tie-down roping: Champion: Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff; 2. Layne Wallinger, Stuart; 3. Trace Travnicek, Minatare; 4. Matthew Miller, Callaway; Alternate – Rhett Witt, Valentine

Reined cow horse: Champion: Tatum Olson, Bloomfield; 2. Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff; 3 (tie) Charlie Bortner, McCook, and Tucker Gillespie, McCook; Alternate – Hope Brosius, Enders

Light rifle shooting: Champion: Jate Saults, Big Springs; 2. Cooper Phillips, Burwell; 3. Kalyn Nielsen, Verdigre; 4. Hope Brosius, Enders; Alternate – Justin Wenzel, Arthur

Trap shooting: Champion: Tanner Ellis, Minden; 2. Ashton Higgins, Neligh; 3. Justin Wenzel, Arthur; 4. Ty Growcock, Barlett; Alternate – Shealynn Rasmussen, Burwell

MPCC Rodeo Team finishes strong at nationals

Four Mid-Plains Community College cowboys are ranked in the top 10 in the nation following the conclusion of the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. Saturday.

“I was extremely proud of these kids this week,” said Aukai Kaai, MPCC Rodeo Team roughstock coach. “It seemed like we just had to battle tough draws all week long, and they were able to make the best of them. They gave it their all, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Sterling Lee, of Rhame, N.D., finished eighth in the steer wrestling for Mid-Plains. Lee just missed the top 10 in the first go-round earlier in the week with a run of 7.8 seconds. He then threw his steers in 10.2 seconds and eight seconds in rounds two and three and ended up with a time of 14.9 seconds in the short go.

His teammate, Zane Patrick, of Bartlett, started out strong by initially tying for first in the steer wrestling with a time of 4.5 seconds. He followed that up with a 7.2-second run in Go Round Two but had a no score in the third round, which knocked him out of the running for finals.

Austin Madison, of Whiting, Iowa, and Wynn Schaack, of Wall, S.D., didn’t make it to the short go in steer wrestling either. They both had no scores in two of the three preliminary rounds. Madison was in 12th place following the third go-round, during which, he scored a 6.8. Schaack had a 12.6-second run in round two.

Madison did bounce back in the tie-down roping, ending up ninth on the national leaderboard. His times in the first and second go-rounds were identical with 13.4 seconds each. He leapt 11 spots to fourth place in round three with a run of 9.1 seconds then sustained a no time in the short go.

Schaack and Patrick also had some tough luck in the short round but finished 10th in the nation anyway in the team roping. Their times were 16.7, 12.4 and 16.5 seconds, respectively, in each of the go-rounds leading up to the finals.

Danielle Wray, of Ord, also represented MPCC in the team roping. She and her roping partner Scott Halverson, of South Dakota State University, had a no time in the first round then stretched their steers to times of 31.1 and 15.3 seconds in each of the subsequent rounds. It wasn’t enough to take them to the short go.

Koby Jacobson, of Hershey, placed 15th in the national standings in bull riding after bucking off in the first two go-rounds then riding to a score of 68.5 in the third.

Overall, MPCC’s men’s team ended up 24th.

Among the other accolades the team received at the CNFR — former coach Garrett Nokes was posthumously recognized as the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year. He had been named Coach of the Year for the Great Plains Region in May.

Mid-Plains was also recognized again at nationals for having the region’s Rodeo of the Year — the MPCC Stampede.

NCBA delivers progress on backend 150 air-mile exemption for livestock haulers

WASHINGTON — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association delivered progress on much-needed regulatory flexibility for livestock haulers. The addition of the backend 150 air-mile exemption from hours-of-service, crucial language pulled from the HAULS Act, was agreed to by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Ranking Member Roger Wicker, R-Miss., in the Senate Commerce Committee and adopted into the larger Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021 by a bipartisan vote.

NCBA spearheaded introduction of the larger HAULS Act in both the Senate and House this spring, and worked hard to get the backend 150 air-mile exemption included in the Surface Transportation Investment Act that will be sent to the Senate floor.

Livestock haulers are a critical part of the supply chain keeping grocery stores stocked with high-quality U.S. beef. The upheaval of the pandemic and ongoing market volatility has only underscored the need for further flexibility in livestock hauling regulations to keep the supply chain strong.

“When one-size-fits-all government regulations fail to account for expertise on the ground, livestock haulers are put in the impossible position of either complying with regulations or doing what they know is best for the humane and safe transportation of live animals,” said NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera. “We strongly support this bipartisan, commonsense effort to give livestock haulers the flexibility they need to maintain the highest level of safety for drivers on the roads, transport livestock humanely, and ensure grocery stores remain stocked with beef. We thank Sen. Fischer, Sen. Tester, Sen. Cantwell, and Sen. Wicker for their leadership on this legislation, and we will continue working with members of Congress to move this language across the finish line.”


Current hours-of-service rules allow for 11 hours of drive time, 14 hours of on-duty time, and then require 10 consecutive hours of rest. When transporting livestock, there is a real need for further flexibility beyond the current hours-of-service. Unlike drivers moving consumer goods, livestock haulers cannot simply idle or unload their trucks when drive time hours run out without jeopardizing animal health and welfare. The HAULS Act language adopted into the Surface Transportation Act would add a 150 air-mile radius exemption under HOS regulations to the backend of hauls for those transporting livestock.

NCBA is working with members of Congress from across the country to ensure that any infrastructure and transportation spending bills reflect the unique needs of rural communities and cattle producers.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NCBA successfully fought every month for a renewed emergency declaration which provides an exemption from hours-of-service for livestock haulers, while also working with Congress to maintain the ELD delay for livestock haulers until Sept. 30, 2021.

Wyoming State Veterinarian Logan retires

The Wyoming Livestock Board held a meeting on June 9, 2021, in their Cheyenne offices. The board announced they had accepted the upcoming resignation and retirement of State Veterinarian Jim Logan.

Dr. Logan has served the Wyoming Livestock Board and producers of the state as state veterinarian through two appointed terms, 1997-2004, and 2009 to present. He also served as assistant state veterinarian 2007-2009, and as a member of the Livestock Board 1993-1997.

A few of the honors received by Dr. Logan during his career include; National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials Award, University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Agriculturist of the Year Award and Wyoming Stockgrowers Association Guardian of the Grasslands Award.

Dr. Logan has served many local, state and national organizations, including serving as chairman of the Riverton Memorial Hospital Board, Wyoming Woolgrowers Association, and the American Sheep Industry Association.

Gov. Mark Gordon, “Dr. Logan is a staple of Wyoming and his absence will leave a thoughtful and wise hole in many arenas. His dedication to the veterinary profession, agriculture, and his consistently fair approach to the challenges that face our producers, wildlife managers, and citizens is beyond compare. Jim’s work will be held up as the example of what the state vet should be for years to come. I’m grateful for his work and wish him nothing but happiness going forward. Most of all, Jim deserves a very large “thank you” from everyone and I’m happy to extend my thanks for his many years of service.”

Current WLSB Board President Shaun Sims, “My experience with Jim Logan is that of a man who is committed to the protection and progression of the livestock industry in both the state and national arenas. His work and dedication will be used as an example of what a state veterinarian should be both now and in the future. Thank you Jim, for your years of service”.

Current Vice President Kirby Camino, “We would like to thank Jim for the time he has put in for the livestock industry, and I want to wish him the best in his future endeavors”.

Past President Todd Heward, “Jim Logan has served the Wyoming livestock producers and communities well for many years. His efforts have made our industry safer and more productive. We are grateful to him and all he has done”.

Past President Mark Eisele, “We are a lucky industry to have an individual so dedicated to its protection and improvement. An individual of the highest integrity and reputation”.

The Wyoming Livestock Board would like to thank Dr. Jim Logan for upholding the agency mission statement “To represent and serve Wyoming’s livestock industry through protecting livestock health and verifying livestock ownership.” We thank Dr. Jim Logan and wish him all the best in his retirement.

Vilsack announces plan to revive organic livestock, poultry rule

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that USDA will reconsider the Trump administration’s Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule.

“We intend to reconsider the prior administration’s interpretation that the Organic Foods Production Act does not authorize USDA to regulate the practices that were the subject of the 2017 Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule,” Vilsack said in a statement on Thursday, June 17.

“I have directed the National Organic Program to begin a rulemaking to address this statutory interpretation and to include a proposal to disallow the use of porches as outdoor space in organic production over time and on other topics that were the subject of the OLPP final rule. We anticipate sending the proposed rule to OMB [the Office of Management and Budget] within six to nine months from the date of the remand. We look forward to receiving public comments on those topics and, after reviewing the comments, USDA will publish a final rule.”

The Organic Trade Association said in a news release that Vilsack had previewed the rule on Wednesday when he spoke to group’s annual membership meeting, which 250 members attended online.

“Vilsack laid out a forward-looking agenda for the organic sector, including a vow to resolve the ongoing issue over USDA’s failure to implement a critical and fully vetted organic animal welfare regulation,” OTA said.

OTA added that it “welcomes Secretary Vilsack’s acknowledgement that the department is walking away from the illegal Trump withdrawal of the organic animal welfare rule, and its acknowledgement that porches should not qualify as outdoor access in organic poultry operations.”

“The USDA has already conceded that its economic analysis underpinning the Trump withdrawal of the OLPP rule is flawed. We hope that USDA’s acknowledgement of these matters that are of grave importance to the organic industry facilitates a full and timely resolution of this critical issue.”

OTA noted that the rule has been in the courts since 2017 when the association took legal action to defend organic standards.

OTA said Vilsack told its members, “We understand, appreciate the concern of getting this done, getting it done right, getting it done in a way that preserves the brand … I am committed and I committed our team to an accelerated approval process.”

OTA said Vilsack had addressed “positively the majority of the Organic Trade Association’s priorities for the Biden administration” and said, “I understand and appreciate, that we’ve got some work to do in rebuilding the trust between the department and the [organic] industry. And I am committed to that. And those who work at USDA are committed to that.”

OTA said Vilsack also announced other actions:

▪ Working to finalize the Origin of Livestock rule in 2021;

▪ Re-establishing the position of USDA organic policy adviser;

▪ Increasing by “tens of millions of dollars” the funds available through USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Share program to help farmers transitioning to organic;

▪ Expanding the procurement for USDA’s emergency feeding programs to “small- and medium-sized distribution systems,” and giving “socially disadvantaged producers” access to more federal procurement dollars;

▪ Significantly expanding processing capacity in the U.S. through a soon-to-be-announced USDA initiative to “provide resources that could be leveraged with state economic development, resources, private sector investment, and others” to build out processing capacity, boost competition and provide value-added products with more processing outlets;

▪ Beefing up organic enforcement and “expanding the number and the diversity of those who will be involved in inspections and certifications;”

▪ Prioritizing climate-smart agriculture and regenerative practices, and creating “new revenue streams for producers who are embracing climate-smart agricultural practices in a way that is beneficial to farmers.”

“We are working hard to protect the [organic] brand and to expand a number of issues and opportunities for the organic industry … all designed to provide a strong message of the significance and importance that I place personally, and that the department places on this industry,” said Vilsack.

“We recognize the importance of it, we recognize the value-added opportunities that it presents, and we think it is an important — a very important part of the industry that will help us to a much better, climate-friendly agriculture.”

OTA said that following the annual meeting, “members had the opportunity to participate virtually in an off-the-record listening session with the White House.”

“During the robust 30-minute session, members expressed their most pressing messages about organic. This included requests that organic have a seat at the table in any climate change discussions and solutions, that organic be included in farm-to-school programs, and that critical technical assistance be provided for organic farmers, particularly for those seeking to transition to organic.”

The Center for Food Safety called Vilsack’s announcement on the livestock and poultry practices rule “a victory for organic farmers, advocates, and animal welfare.”

“After four years of hard-fought litigation, the Biden administration is recognizing that the Trump withdrawal decision was inconsistent with organic standards and principles,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at Center for Food Safety and counsel in the litigation.

“This is a major victory for all those who care about a meaningful organic label,” said van Saun. “Finally, USDA will close the loophole allowing factory farms to produce ‘organic’ eggs and chicken, and level the playing field for real organic farmers already providing high welfare to their animals.”

“Consumer trust in the USDA Certified Organic label is vital and assures the success of the organic seal in the marketplace,” said Abby Youngblood, executive director at the National Organic Coalition, a plaintiff in the case.

“Reinstating the organic animal welfare rule is a huge victory in securing the trust of consumers and farmers alike who expect meaningful and consistent standards for animal welfare under the Organic label,” Youngblood said.

CFS explained that “CFS and its allies sued the Trump USDA in March 2018. The Trump administration initially claimed the organizations lacked legal standing to challenge the withdrawal decision. In August 2018, a federal court rejected these arguments. The court held that the withdrawal of the rule that set organic animal welfare standards injures the organizations’ members because it ‘undermines the organic label’ for consumers.

“In 2019, a federal court again sided with CFS and allies, ruling that USDA could not hide communications and documents that led to the controversial withdrawal. The case is currently stayed for settlement discussions.”

“We’re thrilled the Biden administration will reissue the organics rule and we urge them to do so as soon as possible to improve the lives of millions of farm animals,” said Peter Brandt, managing attorney for Farm Animals at The Humane Society of the United States, a plaintiff in the case.

“Like laws in California and many other states, the rule ensured that pigs, chickens, and other farm animals could not be tightly confined, and it closed a loophole that allowed large poultry companies to skirt the law by using skimpy screened-in porches to satisfy outdoor access requirements.”

CFS added, “The OLPP rule was the culmination of over a decade of work by organic stakeholders and the National Organic Standards Board.”

“Most notably, it ensured adequate space and outdoor access for organic poultry by establishing clear and enforceable minimum spacing requirements and specifying the quality of outdoor space that must be provided. It also clarified outdoor access for other organic animals, like cows, and prohibited inhumane physical alterations, like de-beaking and tail docking.

“The Trump administration delayed the final rule’s effective date three times, and then formally withdrew it. USDA claimed the animal care regulations could not be issued because the agency lacked the authority to regulate practices such as animal space and preventative health care for livestock under the organic label.”

“We are glad the court has cleared the way for the National Organic Program to finally align with the expectations of consumers,” said Cristina Stella, managing attorney at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a plaintiff in the case.

“Confusing consumers is a hallmark of industrial animal agriculture, and restoring the intended meaning of the organic label is a welcome step toward increasing transparency.”

CFS concluded, “By gutting the rule, the Trump administration made a complete reversal of the legal and policy positions that the USDA has held for 28 years, since the inception of organic, and what organic consumers and farmers believe: that organic standards do include considerations of livestock care and welfare. It also claimed that the regulations would be costly, despite its own economic analysis finding only minor costs.”

Biden to nominate Torres Small as USDA rural development undersecretary

President Biden announced Friday, June 18, he intends to nominate former Rep. Xochitl Torres Small as agriculture undersecretary for rural development.

In the announcement, the White House noted that Torres Small was elected in 2018 as the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico’s second congressional district. She was defeated in 2020 by Republican Yvette Harrell, whom she had defeated in a narrow race in 2018.

The agriculture undersecretary for rural development oversees a vast array of USDA programs that are not directly related to agriculture including rural electricity, rural telephones and the attempts to bring high speed internet service to rural America.

The Rural Development mission area also includes programs to help rural communities with facilities such as hospitals and community buildings and also the provision of water and sewer facilities in some of the poorest rural communities in the country. In recent years, Rural Development has also attempted to increase the use of ethanol even while the renewable fuels industry has been engaged in battles with the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Advocates for nonagricultural rural development say the mission area can and should be of more assistance to low income rural Americans than any other USDA division but it does not have the industries and lobbies that fight so hard for money for other divisions of the department.

In its announcement, the White House emphasized Torres Small’s roots and efforts to help low-income New Mexicans, but did not mention her education.

The White House said, “The granddaughter of migrant farmworkers, Xochitl Torres Small grew up in the borderlands of New Mexico. In 2008, she came home from college to work as a field organizer, working in colonias in southern New Mexico.

“She continued serving rural New Mexico as a field representative for Sen. Tom Udall [D-N.M.], where she collaborated with local grassroots leaders, business owners, elected officials, and regional and state economic development officials to help communities access American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Inspired by Sen. Udall’s work on water in the West, Torres Small studied water law and worked closely with rural water utilities.”

The White House continued, “In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Rep. Torres Small kept a rural hospital from closing its doors, improved constituent access to healthcare over the phone, and helped secure tens of millions of dollars for broadband in New Mexico through USDA’s ReConnect Program.

“Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Torres Small raised the alarm on broadband disparities, serving on Majority Whip James Clyburn’s [D-S.C] Rural Broadband Taskforce and as an original cosponsor of the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act.

“As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Torres Small helped build the case for dairy farmers harmed by Canada’s violation of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, and drafted legislation to help local farmers and rural communities invest in infrastructure to navigate new markets. Torres Small also partnered with Sen. Udall to introduce the Western Water Security Act, and helped secure key provisions of the legislation in the FY 2021 Appropriations Omnibus.

“In addition, Torres Small worked closely with the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to secure New Mexico water priorities in the Water Resources Development Act, including Rio Grande ecosystem restoration from Sandia Pueblo to Isleta Pueblo and increased authorization for the Tribal Partnership Program within the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

“Throughout her career, Torres Small has employed her experience organizing in vulnerable, rural communities to achieve lasting investments that combat persistent poverty.”

The White House left out many details of Torres Small’s biography. According to a Wikipedia entry, she was born on Nov. 15, 1984, in Portland, Ore., to Marcos and Cynthia “Cynta” Torres. Her parents were educators, Marcos with child care providers, parents and fathers, Cynta as a public school special education teacher. Marcos also worked as a social worker in child protective services and as a union leader.

She was raised in Las Cruces, N.Mex.

After graduating from Mayfield High School in absentia while she earned an international baccalaureate diploma from Waterford Kamhlaba United World College in Mbabane, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), she earned a bachelor of science in foreign service degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

She was also a water attorney with Kemp Smith, a Texas law firm with offices in Las Cruces, and sat on the boards of the Mountain View Market Co+op and La Semilla Food Center.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement, “Rep. Xochitl Torres Small’s nomination to serve as undersecretary for rural development reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to advancing rural prosperity. Her nomination is responsive to rural stakeholders and Congress; both have emphasized the importance of having a dedicated advocate for rural communities among the department’s subcabinet.”

“As the daughter of migrant farm workers and a native of rural New Mexico, Torres Small represents the heart and soul of rural communities. Rep. Torres Small began her work in southern New Mexico, serving as a field organizer in colonias, and continued her work in rural New Mexico as a field representative for Sen. Tom Udall, where she collaborated with local leaders and elected officials.

“She went on to the University of New Mexico School of Law and in 2018 became the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, the largest district that isn’t its own state.

“Throughout her career, Rep. Torres Small has put her experience to use in the name of making lasting investments in the people, institutions and infrastructure essential for tribal nations and communities throughout the rural U.S. to thrive. Her expertise will further USDA’s mission to advance equity and opportunity in and for rural America. I am fully confident in Rep. Torres Small’s ability to excel in this essential role at the department.”

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who will preside over Torres-Small’s confirmation hearing, said in a statement, “I am very pleased to see President Biden nominate Xochitl Torres Small for this important post.”

“She was a champion for rural development, particularly expanding high-speed internet, during her time in Congress, and I look forward to her nomination. I’m also thrilled President Biden has moved quickly to nominate someone to this critical position, which the Trump administration had eliminated. I led the fight to reestablish the position in the 2018 farm bill.

“But even then the Trump administration failed to nominate anyone for it. Rural Development plays an essential role in so many programs that help small towns and rural areas thrive. It deserves to be championed at the highest levels.”

Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose said in a statement, “Farm Credit congratulates former Rep. Xochitl Torres Small on her nomination as undersecretary for rural development.”

“This is an important position within USDA. Rural communities and agriculture need strong advocates, and she has a demonstrated track record of understanding and supporting efforts to strengthen rural America.

“We look forward to working with Ms. Torres Small again and encourage the Senate to move quickly to approve her nomination.”