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What a concept. The cattle biz went communal in May. For years, the fractured membership of more than a half dozen major organizations have put up a less than unified front in the face of a tidal wave of profoundly serious matters that face our livestock producers. One entity has had enough.…

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Harold Flowers would be proud. Flowers, who died in 1985, was the quintessential cowman.

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David Gann used to grow trout, which was a sustainable venture. Now, he still grows fish, tilapia and freshwater lobsters, which are an integral part of the highly sustainable South River Aquaponics (SRA) operation on a bend in the Umcompahgre River, just south of Montrose. SRA is a growing …

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The only way climate change remains useful to its proponents is if it remains a potential disaster. Take the negative effect away and it becomes nothing more than a point of interest and a fun footnote about a time when some people really believed that they were more powerful than the mechan…

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I have not written about the assault on the livestock industry in the form of Initiative 16 for a couple of weeks. That is partly because we assumed everything was on hold until the Colorado Supreme Court rules on the alleged illegal title of the petition.

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Cattle producers in Western Colorado may need a red-tipped white cane and a guide dog to see them through the next two years.

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You know that stupid picture you still see here and there, the one showing a fence line with almost no grass on one side and lush hip-high flora on the other side? It has been used for decades to try and convince the world that cattle automatically overgraze the land and cause erosion. It ha…

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To almost no one’s surprise, Oregon has joined Colorado to become the second state where animal rights activists are out to shut down livestock farming. And the group known as End Animal Cruelty, under the guidance of activist David Michelson, have gone a few steps farther than the Colorado crowd.

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I had the pleasure of speaking to the Montrose Cattlewomen during their meeting on Tuesday to give them an update on all the vicious attacks ag is facing, not only here on the Western Slope, but all over the state. We talked about the PAUSE initiative, the Farm Workers’ Rights Bill, and wolves.

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Colorado’s U.S. Sen.Michael Bennet has reintroduced his bipartisan Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act. It won’t help the ag transportation mess that will ensue as the Little Blue Canyon project on U.S. 50 starts moving rock this week. The 19-hour-per-day highway closures begin next …

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The Colorado Title Board, the traffic cop for the introduction of petitions to place matters on the election ballot, rebuffed requests by a broad coalition of livestock stakeholders and has said that Proposition 16, the so-called PAUSE Act, may proceed to the street. The vote came even thoug…

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Colorado is still in the hemp business, even though the once proclaimed “pot of gold” looks more like a bag of weeds than anything else.

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Three rings? We passed three rings a long time ago. For those who have yet to move into their fourth decade, the rings I am referring to are those that used to make up the classic three-ring circus show. There were the elephants in ring one, the clowns in their exploding car in ring two, and…

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When the pandemic hit last year about this time, retail meat prices went through the roof. But the cattle producers were paid as little as 10% of the retail prices of almost all cuts of meat.

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The water is coming down the ditch. The Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association’s canals have water and according to UVWUA manager, Steve Anderson, the irrigation season has begun with no calls for reduction.

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The opposing response to the Governor’s Meat Out proclamation three weeks ago occurred on a biblical scale all over the state of Colorado. Meat celebration events occurred in more than 75 cities and towns. It even leaked into Nebraska and Montana, where their chief executive did their best n…

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Last week the Colorado Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Technology got a taste of just how serious the opposition to the Senate Bill 21-087 (Farm Workers Bill of Rights) really is.

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Next Wednesday, March 31, is the last day on which ag producers can file for Payroll Protection Program loans. There has been discussion in Congress to extend the deadline to May 31, but nothing has been voted on yet. To be safe, farmers and ranchers are urged to make the March deadline.

Japanese General Isoroku Yamamoto said after his country bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 that he feared they had awakened a sleeping giant. Of course, he was right.

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When you have 40,000 pounds or so of fine Merino wool, but it is still attached to 4,200 sheep, what to do? Ernie Etchart worked that matter out a year ago, when he paid Cliff Hoopes for shearing his sheep last spring.

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It seems that the rather foolish ballot initiative with the title, Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation, or PAUSE, (read that “shutdown the livestock business”) will have until August of next year to collect something near 125,000 signatures, required to place it on th…

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Colorado calves started arriving almost two weeks ago, in the heart of that Polar Vortex thing. Not good timing. But heifers tend to go shorter term than the experienced mama cows and suddenly there the calves are — cold and wet. The next several weeks will be a happy and stressful time for …

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The guy who thought the Impossible Burger was great; the guy did a photo op with a summer straw (cowboy hat) on backwards; the guy who three weeks ago called ag the cornerstone of our state; the guy who appointed an animal right advocate to the veterinary board is now the same guy who picked…

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At the end of a recent hour-long virtual public meeting on the controversial Little Blue Canyon project on U.S. 50, long time chairman of the State Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC), Vince Rogalski concluded the meeting with, “This isn’t the end yet.”

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If you are of a mind to try and keep up with either one of these Unaweep Canyon natives, you had better be in Olympian condition. Just reading their resumes will wear you out. This sister act, Janie VanWinkle and Callie Hendrickson have left an indelible mark on Colorado agriculture. For tha…

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There is a big difference between Bill Gates and me — I mean besides all that money — and that is that I have worked with his product, a lot, and understand it. I have also endured the stress of using his company’s bug-ridden software over the decades. He, on the other hand, has perhaps eate…

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I know, I’m going to step in it. But I’ve stepped in it before — I just shuffled my boots through the dirt and I was good. So here goes.

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Eckert rancher Hugh Sanburg will chair the national Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB) after the election held during the group’s winter meeting. The board is responsible for providing direction for the national Beef Checkoff program during 2021. Sanburg was vice-chair last year.

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The ‘71 International Harvester Lodestar flatbed truck with a manure spreader on its back was already in a bone yard when George Rosenbaum saw gold in the battered red paint job. The farmer from Olathe says that he walked around the truck, which had springs popping through the driver’s seat …

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It was like no other Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association (UVWUA) meeting ever. While about 60 stakeholders wired in on the now ubiquitous Zoom system, another 40 or so attended in person at the Montrose County Event Center. The group never approached the cap on the number of people wh…

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Look out, Yellowstone and Longmire, here comes Tyson vs. Easterday.

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The 11th Western Colorado Soil Conference will be an online treasure trove of information and inspiration and is set to go live Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7:45 a.m.

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I was on a visit to my cardiologist’s office last week. While waiting for Dr. Lee, with whom I have become too well acquainted in the last four months, I noticed the clinic had a rather large blowup of the photo of the Gunnison Tunnel Opening Gate downtown, circa 1909, on the reception area wall.

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A few years back, we started hearing from portfolio managers about buying “cropland” — that was their code word for farmland. Their argument was farmland had two values. It could create a revenue stream from the operation, and it was going nowhere but up in basic value. And that was even bef…

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As I pulled into the yard at the new headquarters of the Horsefly Creek Veterinary Clinic, Alicia Ashley was getting out of her truck with a two-day-old lamb in her arms. A palomino gelding with hock arthritis was taking a walk in the sunshine. Another pickup rolled in. And the new clinic wa…

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One of the hundred or so books that I retained from the pickup load of volumes that I donated to the Phoenix Library upon my leaving that desert metropolis is “The Last Sorcerer.” Some of you may recognize the title as Michael White’s concise, 361-page, biography of Isaac Newton.

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Despite a well-attended and vocal protest meeting in Montrose this past summer, the project known as the Little Blue Canyon Project on US 50 will go as scheduled, according to John Knowles, the Central Federal Lands Highway Division manager for the project. Knowles said on Tuesday that the p…

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They are shooting off fireworks up in Wyoming this week. The reason for the celebration is that the Wyoming legislature just passed another amendment to the state’s Food Freedom Act, a five-year-old, work-in-progress bill that they are kind of making up as they go. The newest addition will a…

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The Semmis family’s chicken farm was a quarter mile up the hill from our orchard. We got our eggs from them. David Semmis was my best fourth and fifth grade friend. Mrs. Semmis was of sturdy Italian stock and had the voice to prove it. We got an opera performance whenever she was working in …

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The principals of the Goldenhorn Consulting group presented their feasibility findings for a meat processing plant in San Miguel or West Montrose County. In a nutshell they were not encouraging, although some of those who sat in on the virtual meeting found the exercise useful.

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Because of the pandemic interruptions of life on the Western Slope, the Ninth Annual Western Food and Farm Forum will go virtual this year. According to Carol Parker, founder of the event, it will feature live question and answer sessions, film screenings, and even a virtual happy hour. In t…

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I wish that I could just jump on board and wholeheartedly endorse the idea of the demand management plan that is proposed by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. But I can’t. I also have friends on that board and even they cannot really stomach the idea.

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Jan Congour, second grade teacher at Northside Elementary, has been named Teacher of the Year by the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts (CACD). Congour caught the attention of the conservation community after she led the effort to develop and maintain the Learning Garden at North…

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In early November, the USDA mailed out about a 1.75 million ballots for the 2020 Farm Service Agency election of county committee members. About a third of the 7,000 committee members are up for re-election. The ballots must be completed and returned to the USDA, postmarked no later than Dec…

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Matt Miles, founder of the hemp processing company General Processing announced this week that he has completed the sale of his company to the EcoGen BiosSciences division of Kadenwood, a privately held consumer products lifestyle company, focused on shaping CBD into a trusted and safe mains…

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Marc Catlin, 58th District Colorado State representative has been feted by the Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute for the second time. Catlin scored the “Faith, Family and Freedom Award” for his 2020 session votes in the Colorado Assembly.

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If you are new to farm and ranch country, make note that stock animals live outdoors, and they are okay with that. That does not mean that when we get a front coming through like the two that came through in the past two weeks, our critters do not deserve a little extra consideration.

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The Colorado hemp industry is in disarray. The number of acres planted in 2020 were down 56% from the record year of 2019. The state’s hemp management plan has not been approved by masters at the USDA. And with the ongoing delay of the full approval of the 2018 enabling federal legislation f…

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