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Support for Colorado Agriculture Remains Strong

From water issues to food safety Coloradans continue to support the state's agriculture industry. A study conducted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with Colorado State University found that 74% of Coloradans believe agriculture is very important to the quality of life in the state.

"It is comforting to know that even through hard times such as drought, Coloradans continue to support farmers and ranchers in the state," says Don Ament, Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "Coloradans prefer to know where their food comes from and trust our producers to provide a quality product."

The study has been conducted every five years since 1996. The purpose of the 2006 study is to understand how Coloradans currently perceive agriculture and whether those perceptions have changed over the past ten years.

Survey highlights:

  • 92% said that they would purchase more Colorado grown and processed products if they were available and identified as being from Colorado.
  • 87% agree that food produced in Colorado is almost always or usually safe.
  • 86% feel that agriculture provides food at a reasonable price in Colorado.
  • 73% believe agriculture should be the top priority for water use in a dry year.
  • 34% rank agriculture as the most important economic sector in the state.
  • Respondents believe that it is important to maintain agricultural land and water in production because it provides food and fiber, open space, wildlife habitat and economic benefits.

Results from this year's survey remained relatively unchanged from previous studies. Survey questions ranged from managing land and water to pesticide use and genetically engineered food.

For more information, contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at (303) 239-4119 or Colorado State University at (970) 491-5487. Complete survey results are available online at www.coloradoagriculture.com.

On the Grow

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry and the Missouri Grow Native! program have joined efforts to develop a Web site that brings together buyers and sellers of Missouri-grown products.

Larry Godsey, economist with the MU center, says the goal is to grow the market for alternative agricultural products grown in Missouri. "You don't have to be a big producer to participate. That's the whole point of this. We want small growers, too," he says.

Products on the site will include locally grown honey, native plants and seeds, culinary and medicinal herbs, specialty wood products and heirloom vegetables.

The Grow Native! program's charge is to restore the state's biodiversity and increase awareness of native plants and their uses. "We frequently receive requests for places to buy native seeds and plants. Now, buyers can check this Web site for sources," says Tammy Bruckerhoff, marketing and business development specialist for Grow Native!.

The Web site will include a product list as well as a directory of members. It will allow buyers and sellers to post feedback as well as provide a space where experts can share educational information with people who visit the site. Consumers registering on the Web site will have access to contact information provided by the buyer or seller. No sales will be made via the Web site.

The site is to be completed by Jan. 1, 2007. In the meantime, growers are invited to begin listing their products for sale by contacting Larry Godsey at www.centerforagroforestry.org, or sending potential postings to the MU Center for Agroforestry, 203 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Columbia, Mo., 65211.

Stock Up on Knowledge

The 2006 Missouri Livestock Symposium is the place to be – whether you are new to the livestock industry or a producer seeking an extra dose of knowledge. The symposium program, a great value with no admission charge, is set for Dec. 1-2 in Kirksville

Farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson and National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Mike John, Huntsville, will kickoff the opening program on Friday evening, Dec. 1. Cowboy poet and humorist Baxter Black is set to perform on Saturday evening, Dec. 2. Other entertainers on hand during the symposium include master bootmaker Joe Patrickus and Randall Reeder, a leading authority and imitator of the legendary Will Rogers.

In the beef session, featured speakers include Dave Nichols of Nichols Farms, Bridgewater, Iowa, and Tom Brink, Five Rivers Feeding, Loveland, Colo. Dr. Dee Griffin, Feedlot Production Management Veterinarian and Professor with the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center at the University of Nebraska, will address the topics of keeping a calf healthy from birth to weaning.

Dr. Dee Cross of Clemson University will speak in both the beef and horse sections of the Symposium. In the beef section, he and David Davis of the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research Center, will discuss new products to enhance performance of cattle on fescue pasture. Producers seeking more forage facts can hear Don Ball of Auburn University; David Davis and Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri, plus a group of progressive producers who will share ideas and strategies that work on their farms.

Stock dog enthusiasts will also have a chance to learn from one of the country's best stock dog trainers, Al Vieira of Orland, Calif. Vieira will put on three programs to help producers get the most out of their stock dogs.

The Missouri Livestock Symposium features an agriculture related trade show and programs for horse producers, sheep and meat goat producers, topics on wind energy and biomass, gardening, quilting, and wildlife.

FYI
For further details visit the Web site, to missourilivestock.com, or call (660) 665-9866. A free beef supper is served at 6 p.m. on Friday night, Dec. 1. A Governor's style luncheon provided by Missouri commodity groups will be held on Saturday noon.

All events are held at the Kirksville Middle School, 1515 S. Cottage Grove, Kirksville. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Nebraska Christmas Tree Directory Available

Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach encourages Nebraskans to purchase and enjoy Nebraska-grown Christmas trees this holiday season.

"Nebraska growers offer a wide range of beautifully grown Christmas trees," Ibach says. "When you visit a Nebraska Christmas tree farm to purchase a real Christmas tree, you will not only have a special tree for the holidays, you'll also be supporting your local economy."

Nebraska Christmas tree operations offer numerous varieties of Pine, Spruce and Fir trees. Many of the Christmas tree farms also offer wreaths, swags, garlands, family pictures, snacks, wagon rides, as well as gift and craft shops. Other services offered by some of the farms include tree cleaning, netting and loading assistance.

To help consumers find Nebraska Christmas tree farms, NDA has released the 2006-2007 Nebraska Christmas Tree Growers directory.

The directory features 41 tree farms from across the state. A copy of the directory is available through NDA's Ag Promotion and Development Division by calling 800-422-6692. Copies may also be obtained at local county Extension offices, Natural Resources Districts (NRD), and the Natural Resources Conservation and Development (RC&D) offices. The directory is also available on-line at www.agr.ne.gov under "Brochures."

Web site unites buyers, sellers of Missouri-grown products

Say you raise honeybees as a hobby. You like honey, but your bees produce more of the thick, syrupy stuff than you can use but not enough to make it worth your while to peddle the extras at the farmers’ market or the local grocer.

Wouldn’t it be sweet to find an opportunity to make a little cash on that extra honey? Now you can.

Folks at the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry and the Missouri Grow Native! program are developing a Web site that brings together buyers and sellers of Missouri-grown products. The site will allow users to post the product they want to sell or buy, said Larry Godsey, economist with the MU center.

“Mostly, we want to grow (the) market for alternative products grown in Missouri,” he said. “You don’t have to be a big producer to participate. That’s the whole point of this. We want small growers, too.”

Products on the site might include locally grown honey, native plants and seeds, culinary and medicinal herbs, specialty wood products and heirloom vegetables.

Godsey expects the site to be complete by Jan. 1, 2007.

In the meantime, he’s inviting growers to begin listing their products for sale by contacting him at http://www.centerforagroforestry.org or sending potential postings to the MU Center for Agroforestry, 203 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Columbia, Mo., 65211. Consumers registering on the Web site will have access to contact information provided by the buyer or seller. No sales will be made via the Web site, Godsey said.

“The online market is the fastest growing market area,” he said. “It’s convenient, and the Internet provides immediate access to the information.” Producers can change prices and update offerings immediately.

Godsey said people who post items on the site choose how much contact information to provide. For example, a grower may post a phone number, an e-mail address, a short biography and a photograph of his or her farm. Others may list only the items they are selling or looking to buy and an e-mail address.

Site funding is provided by a grant from the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program. The grant was awarded to Grow Native!, a joint program of the Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri Department of Agriculture. That program partnered with the MU Center for Agroforestry to develop the site.

“It’s going to be a very user-friendly site,” said Tammy Bruckerhoff, marketing and business development specialist for Grow Native!. Grow Native!’s charge is to restore the state’s biodiversity and increase awareness of native plants and their uses.

“We frequently receive requests for places to buy native seeds and plants. Now, buyers can check this Web site for sources,” Bruckerhoff said.

Godsey said the Web site will include a product list as well as a directory of members. The site also will allow buyers and sellers to post feedback as well as provide a space where experts can share educational information with people who visit the site.

“We want the site to have an educational aspect as well,” Godsey said. “Often in small niche markets there aren’t standards because the markets are so small. We hope to post information that can help people in those small markets.”

Godsey said the Web site would be closely monitored for appropriate postings and up-to-date information.

“If something has been posted for 60 days, we will contact (the seller) to make sure it is still available,” he said. “Our hope is it will highlight the diversity of products that can be grown in Missouri.”

Agro-terrorism prevention resource offered

The National Cotton Council has established an online resource ( http://www.cotton.org/tech/safety/biosecurity.cfm) to raise awareness of how the agro-terrorism threat applies to the U.S. cotton industry. This includes USDA’s voluntary “Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist” for farming operations.

The potential of terrorist attacks against agricultural targets is recognized as a national security threat by the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security, in concert with other federal agencies, continues to develop strategies to protect agricultural production and processing from terrorist acts.

NCC, as a member of the Food and Agriculture Sector Coordinating Council, is working with state and federal government agencies to monitor and communicate counter-terrorism measures that affect all cotton industry segments.

Help Available for Eroding Stream Banks in the Spoon River Watershed

Money is available to help landowners in the Spoon River Watershed fight against soil erosion in Warren, Knox, Henry, Fulton, Bureau, Stark, Marshall, Peoria, Fulton and McDonough counties.

Landowners with stream bank erosion problems on property within the Spoon River Watershed are encouraged to contact NRCS and discuss how to get federal funds through a special Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) project. Landowners who meet program criteria can receive financial assistance for establishing conservation solutions that stabilize stream banks and reduce sediment loading into the Illinois River.

The primary focus of the Spoon River Stream Bank Stabilization project is to reduce sediment loading into the Illinois River by stabilizing stream banks. The most common and successful solutions include repairing and re-grading damaged stream banks, establishing vegetation to anchor and secure stream bank walls, or placing stone along the stream bank or within the channel to slow and control water flow, according to Zane Downing, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist from Fulton County.

Last year, nearly $1 million was given to 46 landowners fighting against soil erosion in Cedar Creek Watershed and a portion of the Spoon River Watershed "We investigated their stream bank problems and then developed plans to address their situation. Once we've figured cost estimates they sign up for an EQIP contract that will help pay for a large percentage of their repair costs," says Downing. Construction and earthwork on many Cedar Creek projects from 2006 are currently underway.

Landowners can apply for the EQIP program at any time as it has an ongoing continuous sign-up period. Applications received will be ranked and those with the greatest need will be funded. NRCS selects applications for funding periodically using batching periods with specific cutoff dates. For more information on this special EQIP effort, contact your local NRCS office.

Panel Finds Australian Wheat Company Bribed Hussein's Government

A high-level Australian commission released a report Monday declaring that AWB, a major Australian wheat company, carried out a scheme to deliberately deceive the U.N. while paying Saddam Hussein's government over $224 million in bribes and kickbacks.

The commission was investigating corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program, which was intended to allow Iraqis to exchange some oil for food and other important products while the government would be further isolated under continued sanctions. However, AWB and the Iraqi government were able to use the program for their own profit.

The commission, led by retired supreme court justice Terence Cole, spent nearly a year compiling the five-volume report, hearing testimony from 70 officials and looking at over 1,500 documents.

In his conclusion, Cole says that AWB's monopoly on wheat exports in Australia led to a "lack of culture of ethical dealing."

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the incoming chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee, plans to hold hearings on AWB's wheat contracts in Iraq after he takes up his post in January.

Commission Finds Australian Wheat Company Guilty of Corruption

A high-level Australian commission released a report Monday declaring that AWB, a major Australian wheat company, carried out a scheme to deliberately deceive the U.N. while paying Saddam Hussein's government over $224 million in bribes and kickbacks.

The commission was investigating corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program, which was intended to allow Iraqis to exchange some oil for food and other important products while the government would be further isolated under continued sanctions. However, AWB and the Iraqi government were able to use the program for their own profit.

The commission, led by retired supreme court justice Terence Cole, spent nearly a year compiling the five-volume report, hearing testimony from 70 officials and looking at over 1,500 documents.

In his conclusion, Cole says that AWB's monopoly on wheat exports in Australia led to a "lack of culture of ethical dealing."

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the incoming chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee, plans to hold hearings on AWB's wheat contracts in Iraq after he takes up his post in January.

USDA Deregulates GMO Rice Line

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will no longer regulate LLRice601, a genetically engineered line of rice. APHIS research found the GMO line to be as safe as traditionally bred rice.

LLRice601, engineered by Bayer CropScience to tolerate LibertyLink herbicides, appeared in commercial long-grain rice this summer. When European Union authorities found the strain in a shipment that had been certified GMO-free, it led the European Commission to push for mandatory tests of all U.S. rice shipments to the EU.

As part of an investigation into regulated rice appearing in commercials long-grain rice supplies, APHIS also announced test results that showed 2003 Cheniere variety as the only foundation seed testing positive for genetically engineered LLRice601.