Over 35 people attended the annual Delta County Livestock Association meeting on Friday, July 20. This year the group decided to host the meeting and following picnic supper in Cedaredge, hoping to increase attendance from the Surface Creek area.
After a brief welcome, approval of last year's meeting and treasurer's report the group welcomed numerous special guests.
First was Elyse Casselberry with the Delta County Master Plan. She thanked the group for its diligent help and contributions toward creating the Master Plan over the last year. Several members raised their hands when being asked if they attended every meeting.
The next step, she said, is to work on implementation. Two working groups have been established -- confined feeding animals operations and oil and gas regulation. Both will develop recommendations to work into Master Plan regulations to benefit the county.
"It's time to see how we're dealing with land use," said Casselberry. She also encouraged the group to look into ENGAGE, a local initiative encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship within Delta County through sectors like energy and agriculture.
Cedaredge game warden Cody Purcell informed the group of a new coordinator for game damage. "I think he'll be a little stricter," he said.
Purcell advised the members to document any game damage immediately and to call with any concerns. Bears are slower this year, he said, but mountain lions are worse.
The group discussed ways to combat the increase in lions but also agreed there needs to be balance.
The new brand inspector, Jason Burnes, introduced himself next. He gave details on his rich agriculture background, ensuring the members he "rides for every brand."
Burnes plans on doing traffic stops and will be in a white truck with a red and blue light bar. The purpose, he said, is to prevent missing livestock and also check that proper documentation is in order for those transporting livestock.
Alan Bull gave an update from Farm Service Agency on how extreme drought conditions have triggered a couple of programs to help livestock. For example, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program can cover grazing losses and if anyone is starting to haul water in for livestock they need to contact the FSA.
Robbie LeValley gave an update on the Beef Council, with positive news on an increase in consumption, largely due to advertising dollars and social media targeting millenials. She said, "Your dollar is being put to work effectively."
Concluding her report, LeValley informed the group that public lands council is making progress with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). For example, the Council of Environmental Quality asked for help to rewrite some of the language of the rules to make it relevant for agriculture.
Bureau of Land Management's Lenae Rod-gers answered several questions on the current drought. She is implementing site specific monitoring, and a proper resource management plan is in the works.
Janie Vanwinkle related good news, saying "CCA [Colorado Cattlemen's Association] is looking out for ranchers at the legal level." She invited DCLA members to join CCA and also invited them to a Stockmanship and Stewardship Training in Montrose on Sept. 21 and 22.
A CCA drought workshop is scheduled Aug. 20.
Mark Taylor, candidate for Delta County sheriff, and Mike Lane, Delta County commissioner candidate, made an appearance, saying they're both eager to work with the DCLA.
Nate Adam, president of DCLA, gave some association updates to conclude the reports. Last school year, DCLA awarded $11,000 in scholarships to students in Delta County.
Adam said he is "keeping an eye on" the desire for wilderness boundaries to be extended in the county. Likewise he is adamant on keeping out oil and gas.
Next Adam handed out an updated bylaws packet. Minor adjustments were made to reflect the difference in times and needs from the organization's beginning in 1977. Many were surprised the bylaws had not been updated before.
Wrapping up DCLA business, the group nominated one new board member for each town in Delta County.
Teresa Burns finished the meeting with other business from Black Mesa CattleWomen. She reported a good turnout at the agriculture days in Hotchkiss, with over 500 youth in attendance. DCLA helped with transportation and donations to make the event possible.
She hopes to build on the program to make it longer and more accessible to other towns. Additionally, she asked for donations to help support the fair breeding program for youth in Delta County.
After the meeting the group enjoyed a picnic dinner and fellowship. The next DCLA event will be the Delta County Fair barbecue Aug. 11.