Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cows Snow and Water Requirements

Jim Keyes - USU Extension Area Animal Scientist; e-mail:; phone: When winter hits and temperatures drop below freezing, it becomes harder to keep a fresh water supply for cattle grazing on range. It can be difficult to access areas to cut ice and open reservoirs or to haul tanks of water. Many wonder if cows can eat snow in the winter to supply all their water needs. The answer is yes. There are many situations where cattle can survive on snow without having any other water supply. Many ranches throughout the West and Midwest with cattle on large pastures and few or no water resources depend entirely on snow for winter grazing. Just turning cattle loose on the snow sounds like a very simple management technique, but it requires that ranchers pay very close attention to the animal’s body condition and general health. Several studies have shown there is no reason to expect cattle performance to deteriorate when animals use snow for water. Researchers found cows using snow for water did not differ in live weight amount of body fat compared to cows receiving water. Another study evaluated the effects of snow as a water source on milk yield and calf growth. A group of pregnant beef cows were provided only snow as a water source. A similar group of cattle were given access to heated water. Cows eating snow consumed between 30 and 40 pounds of snow per day to meet their water needs. Cows with access to water drank 2 to 3 gallons, but also ate 7 to 25 pounds of snow. In the end, there was no difference in average milk yield or body weight between the two groups of cattle or the calves they produced. Research in Montana showed when cattle have access to water and snow, 2% of cows never drank any water, and only 65% drank water every day. The other 33% drank every second or third day while eating snow the rest of the time. There was no visible difference in the appearance of any of the animals. When using snow as the only water source, several points should be considered: Thin cattle (Body Condition Score of 3 or less) should not be forced to depend only on snow. Cattle should have at least a BCS of 4 and should be in good health. An alternate water source must be available in case conditions change and there is not enough snow to meet the herd’s water needs. Snow must be clean and accessible. Ice crusted, wind-blown or trampled snow is not adequate. It takes approximately 4 inches of snow to get a half-inch of water. Make certain feed intake does not decline. A mature cow will eat 2.5 percent of her body weight on each day. Reduction in feed intake may mean insufficient water intake. Eating snow is a learned behavior. It can take some cows 4 or 5 days to learn the technique. It’s always best to put inexperienced cows with herd mates that have experience using snow as a water source. Cows can survive and do very well using snow as their only source for water. Ranchers can use pastures without water, increase the length of the grazing season, and save money by not having to provide water during times of snowfall. It is imperative, however, to continually monitor the feed intake and the body condition score of the cows.

Winter Storms and your Farm The impact of winter storms on farms can involve a number of issues. Farm buildings can be damaged due to heavy snow or ice accumulation. Power failures or fuel shortages can impact animal production. Prepare now to protect your farm during winter storms. •Stay informed. □ Monitor for severe winter weather in your area at the NOAA National Weather Service. •Know the terminology. □ Winter Storm WATCH: Severe winter conditions, such a heavy snow and/or ice, are possible for your area in the next 12 to 36 hours. Prepare now! □ Winter Storm WARNING: Severe winter conditions are expected in the next 12-24 hours; 4-6 inches of snow or sleet, or 1/4 inch or more of ice is expected. Seek shelter immediately! □ Blizzard WARNING: Snow and strong winds (gusts up to 35 mph or greater) will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life threatening wind chill; expected to occur for three hours or longer. •Be prepared for power outages or conditions requiring you to remain at home for several days. •Develop an emergency plan for water and feed resources. □ Obtain emergency supplies of forage and grain. □ Identify emergency resources for water. □ Have a list of suppliers, truckers, and people that can help with the animals, especially if normal working conditions are disrupted. •Stockpile emergency materials. □ Standby electric generator for emergency power □ Sandbags, shovel, road salt or ice melt •Winterize any buildings that may provide shelter for your family, livestock or equipment. □ Install storm shutters, doors, and windows. □ Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows. □ Check the roof structure for its ability to hold heavy weight accumulations of snow and ice. □ Repair any roof leaks. □ Add insulation, insulated doors, storm windows, or thermal-pane windows. □ Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so they will be less likely to freeze During a Winter Storm • Stay informed. □ Listen to local news and weather channels for situation developments and road closures. • Have an emergency plan in place for farm workers. □ Have shelter and extra food, water, and blankets. • If you are caught outside during a storm, □ Try to find a shelter out of the wind. □ Stay dry and cover all exposed parts of your body. After a Winter Storm • Stay safe during cleanup. □ Wear sturdy shoes or boots, layered clothing, hat and gloves. □ Avoid overexertion. Strain from the cold and the hard labor could cause a heart attack - a major cause of death in the winter. □ Pace yourself, work slowly, and rest frequently. □ Make sure you have good footing when lifting the snow shovel. □ Take your time and lift small amounts. □ Lift snow/shovel properly to avoid back injuries. • Use caution with gas powered equipment. □ Dangerous carbon monoxide can be generated by gas-powered equipment as well as alternative heating sources. □ Use these items only in well ventilated areas. • Account for your inventory. □ Note any livestock losses. □ Check buildings and fences for damage (e.g., downed power lines or trees, accumulated snow or ice). □ Take photographs of all damage for insurance or emergency assistance purposes.

Weather got you mentaly overwhelmed

The New Mexico Crisis and Access line (1-855-662-7474) is aware that they could get some calls from distressed ranchers or dairy people and their families who are just tired of fighting the weather. If you are feeling mentally overwhelmed and need to talk this is a good resource.

Weather Information

Current weather is the we in Eddy County will be the focus of incoming weather for the next 48 hours. Predicted 3-6 inches new snow. If you can get livestock feed or hay put out, need to do so today. If you need resources to do that call your local county agent. In Eddy that is Woods Houghton 887-6595 361-2852. He will contact the Eddy EOC and see what can be done. Call your FSA office and file losses. If you know there are dead livestock or you suspect there are call, go into e-mail or fax in to FSA and start the process. We also need these to help us. Due to the way the Farm Bill is written you need to separate 2015 and 2016. There is a January 30 dead line to file for 2015 losses. The positive is the payment limitation restarts 1 January. One thing you can do to keep water tubs open that I use is to fill a couple one gallon jugs half full of salt water and put in drinkers they wont freeze and will float. It helps and if you do have to break ice gives you a starting point.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Finding out a lot of cattle are surviving this but if you have losses.

If you have to haul dead caucus to landfill please call ahead to the land fill and notify them how many you are bring call 575-499-4300. If you are not hauling you own, you have to use a registered solid waste hauler see NM department of Environment web page. If you need help call the Eddy Extension office for Eddy County we will send to the Eddy EOC.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

NMSU researchers confirm consumer willingness to pay more for NM chile

NMSU researchers confirm consumer willingness to pay more for NM chile DATE: 12/28/2015 WRITER: Amanda Bradford, 575-646-1996, CONTACT: Jay Lillywhite, 575-646-5321, Ask any New Mexican and they’ll tell you the best chile comes from right here in the Land of Enchantment. When your official state question is “Red or green?” and state law requires chile retailers to back up their “Grown in New Mexico” claims, it’s clear that how you pick your peppers is important here at home. But does that affinity for New Mexico chile extend beyond our borders? Researchers from New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences recently examined whether New Mexico chile peppers have value based on their region of production and whether consumers across the U.S. were willing to pay a premium price for chile from New Mexico. The researchers asked survey respondents about their willingness to purchase chile from an unspecified region or chile from New Mexico at various price points to learn at what point the consumers felt the chile was just too expensive. “About one-third of the consumers we surveyed stated that they were willing to pay a 20 percent premium for New Mexico-certified green chile,” said Jay Lillywhite, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and lead author on the research report. “So the findings suggest that there’s value associated with that certification.” The study, funded by a specialty crops grant from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, explored the types of consumers who purchase two common types of chile pepper products – fresh green chile and dried, ground red chile powder – and provided an analysis of the market potential for a regionally differentiated chile pepper by gauging consumer interest in red and green New Mexico-certified chile products. The data provide evidence that a potential market exists for both red and green chile pepper products that are “Certified New Mexico.” “Vidalia onions command anywhere from 8 percent to 400 percent of the retail price of other onions. A brand, whether it is associated with a food product like Vidalia onions or a consumer product like brand-name shoes, can convey value to consumers based on their experience,” Lillywhite explained. “It’s the same thing with chile. If you’ve had a good experience with ‘Certified New Mexico’ chile, that experience can lead you to purchase the chile again in the future.” The state law protecting the New Mexico chile brand only applies to retailers in New Mexico – there’s no recourse against a retailer in Texas, for example, who sells peppers falsely identified as having been grown in New Mexico. To build the product’s brand, both locally and beyond the state’s borders, the New Mexico Chile Association has developed the New Mexico Certified Chile program, which requires participating producers to complete an application and certification process. Once the authenticity of their region of production claim is vetted, producers can use the New Mexico Certified Chile trademark to distinguish their product. In a statement on the chile association’s website, President Dino Cervantes said the New Mexico Certified Chile program provides the opportunity for consumers around the country to be certain that they’re enjoying the authentic flavor that’s unique to homegrown New Mexico chile products. Lillywhite said the findings of the consumer preference survey, which he conducted with research specialist Jennifer E. Simonsen and Professor Emerita Rhonda Skaggs, also of the agricultural economics department, show that people do value knowing where their chile is coming from – which further confirms the value of the chile association’s efforts to distinguish New Mexico chile products from those produced outside the state. The importance of that distinction – and the premium price it commands – will only continue to increase, according to the New Mexico Chile Association. While chile is a significant contributor to the state’s economy – valued at more than $460 million a year – the number of acres harvested in New Mexico hit a 43-year low in 2014. Efforts to mechanize the harvest process – including additional research going on at NMSU – could help reverse that trend, and marketing that’s based on the premium value of New Mexico Certified Chile could be another important factor in the specialty crop’s continued success. - 30 - Follow NMSU News on Twitter: Follow NMSU News on Facebook:

The following CES publication has been revised and is now available online in PDF format.

Guide E-324: Processing Fresh Chile Peppers Revised by Nancy C. Flores (Extension Food Technology Specialist, Dept. of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences) And Cindy Schlenker Davies (County Program Director/Extension Home Economist, Bernalillo County Extension Office) Guide E-321: Freezing Fruit Basics Revised by Nancy C. Flores (Extension Food Technology Specialist, Dept. of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences) And Cindy Schlenker Davies (County Program Director/Extension Home Economist, Bernalillo County Extension Office) Guide B-229: Immunity and Serum Neutralization ??Titers for Cattle By John C. Wenzel (Extension Veterinarian) Guide B-230: Trichomoniasis in Beef Cattle By John C. Wenzel (Extension Veterinarian) Guide B-231: Estimating Water Intake for Range Beef Cattle By Marcy A. Ward (Extension Livestock Specialist) Nicholas K. Ashcroft (Extension Range Management Specialist) Samuel T. Smallidge (Associate Professor/Extension Wildlife Specialist) And Eric J. Scholljegerdes (Assistant Professor)

Final Rule Will Clarify and Improve the Transparency of Ingredients in Minimum Risk Pesticide Products

Final Rule Will Clarify and Improve the Transparency of Ingredients in Minimum Risk Pesticide Products The Environmental Protection Agency has published a rule to clarify the substances on the minimum risk pesticide ingredient list and the way ingredients are identified on product labels. Minimum risk pesticides are a special class of pesticides that are not required to be registered with EPA because their ingredients, both active and inert, pose little to no risk to human health or the environment. The Agency is reorganizing these lists and adding specific chemical identifiers to make clearer to manufacturers, the public, and federal, state, and tribal inspectors the specific ingredients that are permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. EPA is also requiring producer contact information and the use of specific common chemical names in lists of ingredients on minimum risk pesticide product labels. EPA’s revisions to the exemption, announced in a December 28, 2015, Federal Register notice, do not alter the substance of the minimum risk pesticide ingredient lists, but more accurately describe which chemical substances can be used in pesticide products that are exempt from federal pesticide registration requirements. State enforcement agencies have expressed support for the changes. EPA believes the industry – manufacturers of these products and businesses considering entering the market for minimum risk pesticides – will benefit from clearer guidance. Consumers will benefit from the clearer information on which chemicals the products contain. To view the final rule, go to, Docket ID EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0305-0047. Please see EPA’s minimum risk pesticide Web pages for more information on these products that are not subject to federal registration requirements.

Snow diaster

If you need help get to livestock to fed call your extension agent in Eddy County Woods Houghton 575-887-6595 575 361-2852. Read the Whole animal composting Right now because there are so many dead animals the renders are going to be working full time. If you have to stack them and cover them with snow until they can be rendered or pickup as long as it stays cold they will keep. Ag weather predicts warm days and cold nights for the next 10 days. Record ear tag if you have them Photograph if possible. We have reported in SE NM mostly dairy over 3,000 head dead. Don't know about Beef.

Monday, December 21, 2015

EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Pesticide Applicator Certification Rule

EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Pesticide Applicator Certification Rule EPA is extending the public comment period on the proposed changes to the certification rule for an additional 30 days. EPA is proposing stronger standards for pesticide applicators who are certified to apply the riskiest pesticides, known as restricted use pesticides (RUPs). The goal is to reduce the likelihood of harm from the misapplication of RUPs and ensure a consistent level of protection among states. More information about this rule is available at A formal announcement of the 30-day extension to the comment period will be published in the Federal Register shortly. The closing date for comments is now January 22, 2016. Comments can be submitted via under docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183. If you need more information see the EPA Fact sheet on this proposal at: Some highlights Requires a higher degree of competency standards; Minimum age of 18 years old; requires renew certificates (private applicators) every three years. Requires additional specialized certification.

Roswell regional meeting for the Resilience in NM Agriculture project

Dear participant, Thank you for your participation in the Roswell regional meeting for the Resilience in NM Agriculture project. You were a fabulous group dedicated to the vitality of the agriculture system in New Mexico. We thought you would be interested in seeing the good work you produced. This information will be used to inform the background report being developed for the project. These ideas will contribute to the industry research that will result in a long-term plan for a robust food and agriculture system in New Mexico. Read the Roswell Regional Meeting Summary today! We appreciate the time and the ideas you gave us. And, we will remain in touch with you throughout the project life cycle. Best regards, New Mexico First 505-225-2140 phone

FAA to require most drones to be registered and marked

FAA to require most drones to be registered and marked Associated Press By Tom Krisher Spurred by numerous reports of drones flying near jets and airports, the federal government will require that the aircraft be registered to make it easier to identify owners and educate amateur aviators. The move, announced Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration, comes at a time when the agency is receiving more than 100 reports per month about drones flying near manned aircraft. The FAA prohibits drones and model airplanes from flying higher than 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport. Drones have become increasingly popular with hobbyists. The FAA estimates that 1.6 million small unmanned aircraft will be sold this year, with half during the last three months of the year. The drones must be marked with the owner's unique registration number. The FAA said that would let authorities track down owners if they violate the rules. But registration also gives the agency a vehicle to educate owners just as thousands get drones as presents for Christmas and other holidays. The requirement covers aircraft weighing from more than half pound up to 55 pounds, including any payload such as a camera. Drone owners who are 13 and older will have to register on an FAA website that becomes available starting Dec. 21. The FAA expects parents to register for younger children. Registration will cost $5 and must be renewed every three years, but the fee will be waived for the first 30 days, until Jan. 20. Owners will have to mark aircraft with an identification number. Recreational fliers can register as many aircraft as they want on one registration number. Most people who fly drones and model aircraft have little aviation experience, but they become pilots as soon as they start to fly, said Deputy FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker. "They have the responsibility to fly safely, and there are rules and regulations that apply to them," he said. Those who got drones before Dec. 21 must register by Feb. 19. People who buy them later must register before their first outdoor flight. Owners will have to provide their name, home address and email, and their identity will be verified and payments made by credit card, the agency said. The FAA said it used some of the recommendations from a task force appointed by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, but the move disappointed a large group representing model airplane users. The Muncie, Indiana-based Academy of Model Aeronautics said registration is an "unnecessary burden for our more than 185,000 members who have been operating safely for decades." The group maintains that Congress in 2012 prohibited the FAA from new rules for recreational model aircraft users who are part of a community-based organization. But Whitaker said while the law prohibits new rules, the FAA has the authority to register the aircraft. Most model airplanes and even some flying toys weigh more than a half-pound and may need to be registered, the academy said. The requirement won support from others, including the Air Line Pilots Association, which said it is a tool to help make sure drone owners share the skies safely with airplanes. The association would like to see registration required when unmanned aircraft are sold. Government and industry officials have expressed concern that drones, like birds, could be sucked into an aircraft engine, smash a cockpit windshield or damage a critical aircraft surface area and cause a crash. Drones are responsible for at least 28 recent instances in which pilots veered off course to avoid a collision, according to an analysis of FAA reports by Bard College's Center for the Study of the Drone in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Aircraft engine manufacturers currently test the ability of engines to withstand bird strikes by firing dead birds at the engines at high velocities. The FAA hasn't yet said when it will require engine makers to conduct tests with drones, but officials have unofficially acknowledged they are working on the issue, the report said. Owners can register unmanned aircraft at starting next week. Rules can be viewed at ***********************

NMSU, NMHA hosts annual Southwest Hay and Forage Conference in Ruidoso Jan. 13-15

NMSU, NMHA hosts annual Southwest Hay and Forage Conference in Ruidoso Jan. 13-15 NMSU By Jane Moorman Issues relating to crop production are never-ending. What is the newest insect pest? What’s next in weed resistance? When is the best time to plant? These issues and many more will be topics at the 2016 Southwest Hay and Forage Conference Jan. 13 to 15 at the Ruidoso Convention Center, 111 Sierra Blanca Drive in Ruidoso. New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Hay Association sponsor the annual event to provide opportunities for researchers and experts in a wide variety of topics to share the latest information with forage growers. “The hay conference is a great opportunity for forage producers to come together and learn about the most up-to-date research advances and new products in the industry, as well as network with one another and share experiences,” said Mark Marsalis, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service forage specialist. “The program is targeted toward Southwest hay, silage and pasture producers, with information specific to our unique growing conditions and water issues,” he said. “There will be useful information for forage producers of all size of operations in New Mexico, from the small- to medium-sized hay and pasture farms in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, to the large scale operations in the Pecos Valley.” Wednesday, Jan. 13, activities include the NMHA board meeting at the Lodge at Sierra Blanca Hotel followed by the Premier Sponsor Appreciation Board of Directors’ Dinner at Texas Club Steakhouse. The conference kicks off at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, and concludes at noon Friday, Jan. 15. Session topics include organic hay production, rodent and insect pest control, Roundup Ready Alfalfa weed resistance, planting dates research results, and alfalfa-corn rotation considerations, and an update about the newest pest in New Mexico: the Sugarcane Aphid. The drought conditions of the Southwest and the use of available water continue to be major factors in crop production. Thursday afternoon, a panel discussion on agricultural water use in New Mexico will feature David Gensler, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District; Gary Esslinger, Elephant Butte Irrigation District; and Aron Balok, Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District. Friday morning, Ian Ray, NMSU plant and environmental sciences professor, will discuss opportunities to improve alfalfa’s drought resilience. Updates will also be given on legislative issues, Worker’s Compensation and OSHA regulations, and livestock and hay markets. Industry exhibitors will present the latest from their companies throughout the conference at the trade show. Five New Mexico Pesticide Applicator continuing education units have been approved for this conference. Preregistration is $100 per person before Dec. 28. Attendees can register at the door for $120. Annual membership dues to the association are $45. Registration includes the two-day conference, two meals and entertainment. For more information on the conference, including a full agenda, visit or contact Cassie Sterrett by phone at 575-626-1688 or by e-mail at Registration forms are available online at or Marsalis can be contacted at 505-865-7340 or Contact Sterrett for a copy of the registration forms and exhibitor information. Booth space is still available.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Old World bollworm could threaten U.S. cotton, other crops Dec 11, 2015 Ron Smith

Old World bollworm, a new and potentially devastating insect pest of U.S. cotton and other crops, has been identified in Florida. It was discovered in Brazil in 2013, in Puerto Rico in 2014, and a few individuals were identified in Florida earlier this year. “This is a severe economic pest in most places where it is established,” says Greg Sword, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension entomologist, who discussed the possibility of it becoming a significant pest in cotton, soybeans, wheat, small grains, and other U.S. crops during the cotton segment of the Texas Plant Protection Association’s 27th annual conference in Bryan, Texas. More on cotton Old World bollworm threatens Southwest field crops and vegetables Colored flags offer low tech for drift management “The Old World bollworm is one of the world’s most destructive agricultural pests,” he says. “It is the target of more than 75 percent of all insecticides applied in India and China.” Managing the pest could be complicated, Sword says, since the Old World bollworm has “known markers for pyrethroids resistance.” It also hybridizes easily with the bollworm U.S. farmers are already familiar with, and the two are difficult to differentiate. “We can’t tell the females of the two species apart,” he says, “and we have to dissect males to differentiate them. We could be looking at a genome invasion instead of an invasive species.” IT'S EVERYONE'S PROBLEM It is a widely adaptable pest, feeding on more than 200 different plant species, and could be adaptable across more than half of the United States. Sword says the few Old World bollworm specimens found in Florida “failed to establish,” but wonders if hybridization may have already occurred. He thinks the pest is coming, and that positive identification will test integrated pest management techniques. “We may have to monitor at the genome level,” he says. “Genetic testing is costly. But the risks and costs are not specific to cotton — this is everyone’s problem.” Research funding is scarce, however, since the pest is one that may or may not invade U.S. crops. “Personnel, products, and logistics are lacking for a major response,” Sword says. Preparation includes monitoring. “APHIS is involved, and does have a regulatory response system in place.” He doesn’t expect much advance warning. “Problems are likely to just show up — and we do risk a significant increase in insecticide use.” For the latest on southwest agriculture, please check out Southwest Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox. Biocontrol may be one control option, he says. “Also, we hope to slow the spread in Central and South America. We hope to learn from our neighbors: How have they controlled Old World bollworm?” Sword says preparation also include screening the efficacy of major IPM tools, Bt varieties, biological controls, cultural practices, and available insecticides. It’s not panic time, he says. “Plenty of people in other parts of the world grow crops successfully in the presence of this pest.” « Old World bollworm could threaten U.S. cotton, other crops

Southwest Beef Symposium set for Jan. 13-14 in Roswell, New Mexico

Southwest Beef Symposium set for Jan. 13-14 in Roswell, New Mexico Texas A&M Press Release The Southwest Beef Symposium, an educational forum tailored for beef producers in the Southwest, will be conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service on Jan. 13-14 at the Roswell Convention Center, 921 N. Main St. in Roswell, New Mexico. "Looking to the Future” is again the theme of this year’s conference, said Dr. Bruce Carpenter, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist in Fort Stockton, Texas. “We are currently experiencing a bit of a correction in the beef cattle market after years of high prices. While this should come as no surprise to most seasoned cattlemen, it still will take some getting used to. Our program this year will deal with ways to stay profitable while making the adjustment to somewhat lower returns. We’ll also cover a host of other topics cattlemen should be apprised of now and into the coming year. “Our ultimate goal for this annual symposium, which alternates between Texas and New Mexico, is to provide producers with timely information about current industry issues and practical management, and I think this year’s program will easily accomplish those goals.” Individual registration is $75, by Jan. 8 and $95 thereafter. Visit to register and for more program details.

High altitude disease in cattle hits the low country Sep 16, 2015 B. Lynn Gordon

disease considered for many years to be a high-altitude problem for cow-calf ranchers has surfaced in the cattle feeding industry. And while researchers have been trying to pinpoint the cause of high altitude disease, also known as brisket disease, for 100 years or more, new research on why the disease is now affecting fed cattle at lower elevations reveals some interesting findings. At high elevations, cattle have to function with low oxygen levels, which restricts blood flow through the pulmonary arteries of the lung. In cattle, the limited oxygen causes the pulmonary arteries to contract and develop thickened walls. This leads to high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, increasing the workload on the right side of the heart. “The disease is commonly called brisket disease due to the added fluids which would build up in the brisket and belly regions of the cattle,” says Frank Garry, professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences Integrated Livestock Management at Colorado State University (CSU). Garry and other CSU researchers, including Tim Holt, associate professor of livestock medicine and surgery, have assisted ranchers in developing selection and testing techniques to reduce the incidence of brisket disease. The selection pressures implemented by the ranchers seemed to be successful in reducing death loss in cow herds on high altitude ranches. Right heart failure New research and the school of hard knocks have now revealed an increase in the incidence of brisket disease at elevations as low as 3,000 to 4,000 feet — and sometimes at even lower elevations. The outcome is death loss in cattle caused by brisket disease, but at much lower elevations than previously identified by CSU researchers, and often in cattle on feed in feedlots. The fact that brisket disease began surfacing in low altitude feedlots, where restricted oxygen flow isn’t a problem, prompted Joe Neary to develop an epidemiological study as his main doctoral research under Garry. Neary, now assistant professor of animal health and well-being at Texas Tech University’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences, conducted the research with Paul Morley at CSU, and Calvin Booker and Brian Wildman, Feedlot Health Management Services, Alberta, Canada, to measure death loss in feedlot cattle from brisket disease. Neary’s research shows that this death loss is due to right-side heart failure (RHF). Related Busting fall pasture bloat Veterinary-led research, management has perfect feeder calf as end goal RHF is the result of the hypoxia-induced narrowing of the pulmonary arteries. This narrowing increases resistance to blood flow, resulting in increased pulmonary arterial pressures and an increased risk of RHF. Neary says to think of it like a restriction in an irrigation pipe: The restriction causes the pressure to rise inside the pipe, increasing the strain on the water pump, which will eventually fail unless the restriction is removed. Similarly, unless cattle with early signs of RHF are moved to a lower altitude, where there is more oxygen, the pulmonary arteries will remain contracted and the heart will eventually fail. Increase in RHF Neary’s study found a doubling of the incidence of RHF in fed cattle over an eight-year period from 2000 to 2008. “The increase in incidence of RHF should not be overlooked. The fact that we are seeing higher number of RHF cases in low-elevation feedlots is important for the industry to further study,” says Neary. Treatment for bovine respiratory disease (BRD), date of feedlot entry, risk of BRD or undifferentiated fever and age at feedlot entry were also evaluated as potential risk factors for RHF. Digestive disorder was included as a comparison group and was comprised of ruminal bloat, enteritis, intestinal disorders and peritonitis. Here is a synopsis of the results for different evaluations conducted in the study. Digestive disorders: In both U.S. and Canadian feedlots, the risk of death from RHF was approximately five times lower than the risk of death from digestive disorders. However, cattle in feedlots at higher altitudes appeared to be at greater risk of RHF (see Figure 1). Treatment for BRD at feedlot: With the industry focusing more on BRD cases, the study measured the relationship between BRD-treated cattle and RHF. Cattle treated for BRD were approximately three times more likely to die from RHF than cattle that were not treated for BRD. hard working ranchers gallery 18 photos show ranchers hard at work on the farm Readers have submitted photos of hard-working ranchers doing what they do best - caring for their livestock and being stewards of the land. See reader favorite photos here. Calf-feds vs. yearlings: “Cattle entering feedlots as yearlings tended to die earlier in the feeding period than calf-feds, but averaged across the entire feeding period they had the same risk of RHF,” Neary says. Other research conducted by Neary during his doctoral studies found that pulmonary arterial pressures, or PAP, tend to increase through the feeding period. This may explain why cattle tend to have an increased risk of RHF the closer they get to their finishing weight. Feeding period: Death from RHF occurred throughout the feeding period, but tended to occur later in the feeding period than death from digestive disorders. The median number of days for RHF in U.S. feedlots was 133, and for bloat it was 107. risk of right heart failure in cattle This presents a major issue to the cattle feeding industry. Cattle deaths at or near the end of the feeding period are a greater economic loss than cattle dying in the first 30 to 45 days on feed. Conclusive evidence was found in both the U.S. and Canadian feedlots that yearlings died earlier in the feeding period than calves. As Neary reports, the rate of RHF occurrence in yearlings was approximately double that of calves; however, because yearlings are fed for less time than calves, yearlings and calves had the same overall risk. Take-home message on RHF The study results are noteworthy to the industry for two primary reasons. First, prior to the 1970s, RHF was only reported in cattle at altitudes over 6,988 feet. Thus, a twofold increase of RHF over a 12-year period in feedlots at much more modest elevations deserves attention. What is very interesting is that the majority of U.S. High Plains feedlots are at moderate altitudes, between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, drastically lower than the elevation associated with this disease, says Garry. Secondly, although RHF occurred throughout the feeding period, half of all cases occurred after 19 weeks, making RHF very costly to the industry. Body fat accumulation may be a risk factor for RHF, just as it is in humans. However, this remains to be determined. Future research is underway to look more closely at identification of earlier indicators of the disease; whether or not the symptoms are confused with those of BRD; and whether or not a genetic test can be developed to identify high-risk individuals upon feedlot arrival. “Learning more about these additional components can impact many dollars in the cattle feeding business,” says Neary. B. Lynn Gordon is a freelance writer from Brookings, S.D.

EPA Launches Pesticide Worker Protection Dashboard

EPA Launches Pesticide Worker Protection Dashboard As part of our overall efforts to increase protection for farmworkers from pesticide exposure and increase transparency EPA recently launched a new Pesticide Worker Protection Dashboard. This interactive tool provides charts and graphs presenting certain key enforcement and compliance information related to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) program under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This effort reflects our ongoing commitment to make environmental data accessible and easy to use. The WPS dashboard presents information on the regulated community and answers questions like: • how many facilities in the United States employ workers or handlers covered by the Worker Protection Standard; • how many inspections are reported; • how many violations have been found, and what enforcement actions have been taken by states, tribes and/or EPA. This information will help allow the public and regulators to monitor the types of worker protection violations found in their state and in adjoining states so that they can adjust compliance assistance and education efforts or target inspections to increase compliance. Greater compliance means better protection for agricultural workers and fewer pesticide exposure incidents among farmworkers and their family members. That means a healthier workforce, reductions in lost wages and medical bills, and fewer absences from work and school. The public will be able to see the number of operations and workers covered by the Worker Protection Standard, and see the types and numbers of responses by the state, territory, tribe or EPA. Most states, territories and several tribes have primary authority for compliance monitoring and enforcement against the use of pesticides in violation of the labeling requirements (this is commonly referred to as state primacy). It is important to note that the data may not reflect all compliance monitoring, inspections and enforcement activity within a state or tribe and that database will be updated. EPA’s final WPS will strengthen protection for farmworkers. The WPS is aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The WPS offers occupational protection to nearly 2 million agricultural workers (people involved in the production of agricultural plants such as picking crops) and pesticide handlers (people who mix, load, or apply crop pesticides) who work at farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. You can access the WPS Dashboard at

Obama Administration Announces Competition to Designate the Third and Final Round of Promise Zones

Obama Administration Announces Competition to Designate the Third and Final Round of Promise Zones WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that communities may now apply to be designated a Promise Zone under the third and final round competition. Read the new notice seeking Promise Zone applications. Promise Zones are high-poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other priorities identified by the community. Through the Promise Zone designation, communities will work directly with federal, state and local agencies to give local leaders proven tools to improve the quality of life in some of the country's most vulnerable areas. Read more about the Promise Zones Initiative. "Promise Zones are transforming communities through targeted investments and the breaking down of government siloes to make a real difference in people's lives," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "We believe where you live shouldn't determine what you can achieve. This initiative will be part of the lasting legacy from the Obama Administration and we look forward to witnessing these neighborhoods of opportunity grow in the years and decades ahead." "This initiative is bringing much-needed, targeted investments and creating ladders of economic opportunity in impoverished rural and tribal areas that have the greatest needs," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The success of our work in these Promise Zones is predicated upon public-private partnerships that will lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for children and families in rural areas." Any community meeting the eligibility criteria which includes having a contiguous boundary, a high poverty rate and a population within the area not exceeding 200,000 residents, can apply for a designation. HUD and USDA will designate 7 Promise Zones across urban, rural and tribal communities for the final round. The deadline for submitting Promise Zone applications is Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 5:00PM Eastern Time. Announcements will be made in the Spring of 2016. Each urban, rural, and tribal Promise Zone applicant will be asked to put together a clear description of how the Promise Zone designation would accelerate and strengthen the community's own efforts at comprehensive community revitalization. Once designated, each Promise Zone will be coordinated by a lead community based organization in partnership with the Obama Administration. HUD will be the federal lead for the urban designees, while USDA will serve as the lead federal partner to the tribal and rural Promise Zones. All Promise Zones will receive priority access to federal investments that further their strategic plans, federal staff on the ground to help them implement their goals, and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage volunteers and strengthen the capacity of the Promise Zone initiatives. Communities with an existing Promise Zone designation are: San Antonio, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Philadelphia, PA; Southeastern Kentucky Highlands; The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Minneapolis, MN; Sacramento, CA, Indianapolis, IN; Camden, NJ; Hartford, CT; St Louis, MO; Pine Ridge, SD; and Low Country of South Carolina. To provide additional details and answer questions from communities interested in applying, HUD and USDA will host three separate webcasts for urban, rural, and tribal communities in January and February. The schedule for the webcasts is as follows: Rural Webcast: January 13, 2016, 1:30p.m. Eastern Standard Time Tribal Webcast: January 13, 2016, 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Urban Webcasts: January 13, 2016, 11:00a.m Eastern Standard Time February 1, 2016, 2:30p.m. Eastern Standard Time The third round application guides, updated frequently asked questions, upcoming informational webcasts and webinars has been posted on the Promise Zones website. #

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Senate Passes Udall's Landmark Chemical Safety Bill

Senate Passes Udall's Landmark Chemical Safety Bill WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall hailed the Senate's passage of his bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a landmark chemical safety reform bill to overhaul the nation's broken Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) and finally protect families from dangerous chemicals. Udall and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) wrote the bill, which passed the Senate by a unanimous voice vote. The 39-year-old TSCA is the last of the major environmental laws passed in the 1960s and 70s that has not yet been modernized. The bill must now be reconciled with the U.S. House of Representatives-passed legislation on the same topic. "This is an exciting day for the many thousands of Americans who have worked for chemical safety reform over the last four decades," Udall said. "Passing the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Reform bill with overwhelming support this evening is a great milestone, and I thank the numerous other senators who have worked to make this day possible." "This bill is the product of years of collaboration and positive input from lawmakers across the country, who understand that we need a national solution to our broken chemical safety law," Udall continued. "It will ensure that Americans in New Mexico and all states have necessary protections from toxic chemicals. With thousands of chemicals in existence, and as many as 1,500 new chemicals coming on the market each year, 39 years is too long to go without protections for children and families. I look forward to working with members of the House on a final product that the president will sign, but tonight we made tremendous progress toward historic bipartisan environmental reform." Details of the bill and other materials are available HERE. It has been cosponsored by 60 members of the U.S. Senate, including 25 Democratic Senators and 35 Republicans since its introduction in March, and was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in June. The bill is named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who worked for many years to reform the broken and outdated TSCA. It overhauls the law by requiring — for the first time — that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review new and existing chemicals and regulate them based on the impact they would have on those individuals most at risk: infants, pregnant women, the elderly and chemical industry workers. The bill ensures chemical companies can no longer hide information on their products from public view, and it requires chemical companies to contribute significantly to the cost of regulation and ensure the EPA has the funds to do its job. In the 39 years since TSCA was enacted, the EPA has been able to restrict just five chemicals, and it has prevented only four chemicals from going to market — out of the more than 23,000 new chemicals manufactured since 1976.

Bipartisan Coalition of Lawmakers Urge Action on Cottonseed Designation

Bipartisan Coalition of Lawmakers Urge Action on Cottonseed Designation EmailPrintFacebook29LinkedInTwitterGoogle Posted By: Jim Steadman | December 15, 2015 Suffering under combined pressures of natural disasters and predatory foreign competition by China, India, and others, financially struggling American cotton farmers received strong backing from Capitol Hill on December 15, as 100 Members of the House of Representatives urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to use legal authority provided under the 2014 Farm Bill to provide crucial help. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Rick Crawford (R-AR), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) led a rare coalition of rural and urban Democrats and Republicans from across the country – from both inside and outside of the Cotton Belt – in requesting that the Secretary use his authority under the Farm Bill to designate cottonseed an oilseed, allowing farmers who produce cottonseed to access the same risk management tools available under the Farm Bill to other oilseed farmers. “America’s farmers are currently experiencing a 55 percent free fall in net farm income, with huge losses due in part to the culprits of natural disasters and the unfair trade practices of foreign countries that use high and rising subsidies, tariffs, and non-tariff trade barriers to elbow U.S. farmers out of world markets,” said Conaway. “Cotton farmers are getting hit the hardest right now, and they are doing all they can just to hold on without access to key risk management tools under the Farm Bill.” The General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee held a hearing in early December on the crisis unfolding in cotton country. Farmers from across the country urged lawmakers to join farmers in requesting the Secretary use his authority to provide relief. “We are deeply concerned that unless the Secretary takes action, there will be significant economic consequences. We cannot allow the predatory trading practices of a few huge players in the world cotton market to destroy cotton production in this country, but that is exactly what will happen without action,” Conaway concluded. The letter to Vilsack and the full list of signatories can be found here. The National Cotton Council expressed thanks to Conaway and Peterson for their leadership in pursuing the cottonseed designation. “We are extremely grateful to Representatives Conaway and Peterson for leading the charge on this effort,” said NCC Chairman Sledge Taylor, a Mississippi cotton producer and ginner. “This designation is much needed, as our industry is facing very difficult economic conditions to say the least. We want to thank all those Members that signed the letter for standing up for U.S. cotton producers who continue to be unfairly disadvantaged by foreign governments highly subsidizing their industries.” Taylor said the designation for cottonseed to be covered either under the Farm Bill’s Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage programs for the purpose of farm safety net participation would provide much-needed stability in the U.S. cotton industry. State, regional and national letters from agricultural lenders were also sent to Secretary Vilsack, including more than 375 signatures of individual banks, the Farm Credit Council, the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers Association. Each message noted that “it is imperative that actions be taken that can have a stabilizing effect on the U.S. cotton industry.” Sources – U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, National Cotton Council

Omnibus Is an Overall Win for Ag but Still No Fix for WOTUS or GMOs

Omnibus Is an Overall Win for Ag but Still No Fix for WOTUS or GMOs WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16, 2015 – Congressional omnibus spending and tax extender bills will benefit agriculture greatly if passed, the American Farm Bureau said today. Farm Bureau said the bills would provide relief to America’s farmers and ranchers, but is disappointed that Congress failed to stop the Waters of the U.S. rule. “This tax extender package gives farmers and ranchers critical tools to help them reinvest in their businesses,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “Tax provisions like Section 179 small business expensing and bonus deprecation free up cash flow for farmers and ranchers to put their money to work. New provisions will let our members make important upgrades that reduce costs, increase efficiency and help make their businesses sustainable for generations to come.” A provision to stop the EPA’s unlawful Waters of the U.S. rule was surprisingly missing from the package, as was language that would have set a nationwide standard for labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients. Congress’s failure to act will bring the heavy cost of a patchwork of state labeling mandates to farmers and consumers as early as next month. “We are truly disappointed that Congress did not include legislation to stop implementation of WOTUS,” Stallman said. “The courts have already expressed serious legal concerns about the rule, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office has concluded that EPA broke the law with its covert propaganda campaign to drum up ill-informed support for it. We remain committed to working with Congress to stop EPA and help America’s landowners, businesses and state and local governments avoid years in court to overturn the rule. This measure undeniably resulted from an illegal and deceptive process. Defeating WOTUS remains a priority of Farm Bureau. We will explore all avenues to ditch the rule.” AFBF also supports omnibus provisions to repeal country-of-origin labeling requirements, which would effectively prevent Canada and Mexico from initiating retaliatory actions. “Farm Bureau supports COOL programs that are in line with world trade rules,” Stallman said. “Current COOL programs, unfortunately, risk serious retaliation by Canada and Mexico now that the World Trade Organization has approved more than $1 billion in tariffs against American beef, pork and other U.S. commodities if COOL is not changed.” Contacts: Will Rodger (202) 406-3642 Kari Barbic (202) 406-3671

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

EPA Announces 2015 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results

No enforcement note on the Anamis river CONTACT: Julia P. Valentine (202) 564-2663 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 16, 2015 EPA Announces 2015 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its annual enforcement and compliance results highlighted by large cases that reduce pollution, level the playing field for responsible companies, and protect public health in communities across the country. In fiscal year 2015, EPA secured record-setting hazardous waste, Clean Air Act, and Superfund settlements, and acted swiftly to win a large criminal plea agreement following a major coal ash spill, among other accomplishments. Additionally, EPA made significant progress on cases that will benefit communities well into the future, by pursuing a final settlement that puts billions of dollars to work restoring the Gulf and helping communities affected by the BP oil spill, and by launching an investigation against Volkswagen for illegally emitting air pollution from diesel vehicles. “The large cases we tackled in 2015 will drive compliance across industries, and protect public health in communities for years to come,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These cases are putting cutting edge tools to work, and using innovative approaches to reduce pollution. Through another strong year in enforcement, we are implementing America’s environmental laws and delivering on EPA’s mission.” In fiscal year 2015, EPA enforcement actions required companies to invest more than $7 billion in actions and equipment to control pollution and clean up contaminated sites. EPA’s cases resulted in $404 million in combined federal administrative, civil judicial penalties, and criminal fines. Other results include: • Reductions of an estimated 430 million pounds of air pollutants. • Almost $2 billion in commitments from responsible parties to clean up Superfund sites. • More than $39 million invested in environmental projects that provide direct benefits to communities harmed by pollution. EPA pursues high impact cases that drive compliance across industries: • Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC, one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers, committed to ensuring the proper treatment, storage, and disposal of an estimated 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste at eight facilities across Florida and Louisiana, the largest amount of hazardous waste ever covered by a federal or state Resource Conservation and Recovery Act settlement. • A Clean Air Act settlement with Hyundai-Kia netted a record $100 million penalty, forfeiture of emissions credits, and more than $50 million invested in compliance measures to help level the playing field for responsible companies, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change. • Noble Energy, Inc., a leading oil and gas producer, will use advanced monitoring technologies to detect air pollution problems in real-time, and ensure proper operation and maintenance of pollution control equipment at its facilities in Colorado. EPA holds criminal violators accountable that threaten the health and safety of Americans, while directing funds to affected communities: • EPA’s criminal program secured $4 billion in court-ordered environmental projects, generated $200 million in fines and restitution, and sentenced defendants to a combined 129 years of incarceration. • Three subsidiaries of Duke Energy Corporation, the largest energy utility in the United States, agreed to pay a $68 million criminal fine and spend $34 million on environmental projects and land conservation to benefit rivers and wetlands in North Carolina and Virginia. As part of the plea, two Duke subsidiaries will ensure they can meet legal obligations to remediate coal ash impoundments within North Carolina, which will cost an estimated $3.4 billion. EPA enforcement work reduces pollution in the sectors that impact American communities the most: • Settlements with Interstate Power and Light, Duke Energy Corporation and power companies in Arizona and New Mexico are cutting coal fired power plant emissions, requiring companies to control pollution, and conduct innovative projects that promote renewable energy development and energy efficiency practices. • EPA is working closely with local governments and utilities in places like Fort Smith, Ark., Delaware County, Pa., and across Puerto Rico, to cut discharges of raw sewage and contaminated stormwater through integrated planning, green infrastructure and other innovative approaches. • Cal-Maine Foods, one of the nation’s largest egg producers, is implementing a series of measures to comply with laws that control pollutants, including nutrients and bacteria, from being discharged into waterways. • XTO Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil and the nation’s largest holder of natural gas reserves, will restore eight sites in West Virginia damaged when streams and wetlands were filled to build roads, and implement a plan to comply with water protection laws. • Through settlements with three Nevada gold mining operations, Newmont, Barrick and Veris, EPA ensured that over 180 million pounds of mercury containing RCRA hazardous waste were treated, minimized, or properly disposed. • The largest bankruptcy-related cleanup settlement in American history, with Anadarko and Kerr McGee, will put more than $4.4 billion into toxic pollution cleanup, improving water quality and removing dangerous materials in tribal and overburdened communities. • EPA ensures federal agencies take responsibility and clean up toxic pollution. The Army addressed over 19 million cubic yards of contaminated groundwater at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, and the U.S. Navy and Defense Logistics Agency are required to implement at least $90 million in upgrades and improvements to prevent potential leaks at the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility in Hawaii. More information about EPA’s Fiscal Year 2015 enforcement results: R332

: 4-H Story!

: 4-H Story! Despite the presence of large cities, Maryland has a thriving 4-H program that spans urban and rural areas alike. A few years back, a friend from Washington D.C. visited my farm for the first time. Right off the bat, he noticed the bumper sticker on my pickup truck, a green four-leaf clover emblazoned with large, white H’s. “Forrest,” he said, without the slightest trace of humor, “you never told me you were Irish!” Suffice to say, he had never heard of 4-H, a youth program every bit as venerable as the Boy or Girl Scouts. But he’s not alone. Even with 6 million current members, 30 million alumni, and a 110 year track record, 4-H continues to fly beneath our cultural radar. Unless you happened to be raised in rural America, chances are you might not have crossed paths with this program yourself. But 4-H remains a vital—if habitually unassuming—thread in our national tapestry, and it’s a program that deserves more positive press than it commonly receives. Sometimes a hand-sewn patch says a thousand words. Traditionally linked arm-in-arm with agriculture, over the years 4-H has increasingly veered towards mainstream American life. In fact, according to their website, 4-H now teaches topics ranging “from agricultural and animal sciences to rocketry, robotics, environmental protection and computer science – to improve the nation’s ability to compete in key scientific fields and take on the leading challenges of the 21st century.” Rocketry and robotics? Sheesh, that’s a far cry from the ascot I made for my “You Can Sew” project way back in middle school. (I’d like to imagine that if they offered Robotics projects in 1984, that I’d have traded in my ascot for an android. But I digress.) In my case, I eventually graduated from sewing to sowing… that is, sowing seeds, and raising sows. I was one of those 4-H farm kids who actually ended up becoming a professional farmer. Surprisingly, even though my club was located in rural West Virginia, few of my peers became farmers themselves. Most opted for careers in nearby Washington D.C., and left agriculture behind as they commuted to work each day in the big city. But history has a way of circling back on itself. While supporters would argue that its agricultural mission never went away, 4-H’s farming identity might be primed for an unexpected, retro-style comeback. The likelihood of this occurred to me while thumbing through the Farmers Almanac. You know the Farmers Almanac, of course—the one started in 1818 and used each year for weather forecasts to gardening advice to the best time to go fishing. It even comes with an unmistakable, (if rather mysterious) hole punched through the upper left hand corner, providing its readers the option to hook it to their belt loop while transplanting tomatoes.

New herbicide systems: Cotton growers face a learning curve Dec 15, 2015 Ron Smith

Despite uncertainty surrounding the availability of dicamba and 2,4-D products for over-the-top application on tolerant cotton varieties, Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and BASF are working on the assumption that the technology will be available for 2016. The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to approve Monsanto’s XtendFlex and BASF’s Engenia for the 2016 season, and it has pulled the label for Dow’s Enlist Duo. In spite of the questions, company representatives say cotton farmers and consultants need to prepare for these new weed control systems. Users will face learning curves, company reps say, as they adapt to technology designed to help control their most troublesome weed pests, including glyphosate-resistant pigweed. Spokespersons for Monsanto, Dow, and BASF discussed application protocols during the recent Texas Plant Protection Association’s annual conference at Bryan. For the latest on southwest agriculture, please check out Southwest Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox. Nozzle selection will be critical, they all agree. Other key factors include wind speed and direction at application, boom height, ground speed, location of sensitive crops and endangered species in relation to the field being sprayed, tank cleanout, application timing, and spray volume. And they agree that these new technologies should not become a stand-alone management system. TIMELY APPLICATION CRITICAL While Engenia herbicide is not yet registered for 2016, Adam Hixson expects it will be approved. “It’s a different solution” for troublesome weeds, he says. “Timely application will be critical. Apply Engenia to weeds that are 2 inches to 4 inches tall.” Smaller weeds are easier to kill, he says. Those early season weed populations also compete with cotton seedlings for water, nutrients, and sunlight. “Stunting potential can be significant with heavy weed populations,” he says. More on cotton Old World bollworm could threaten U.S. cotton, other crops Colored flags offer low tech for drift management “Nozzle selection will be a key,” says Haley Nabors, Dow AgroSciences. Coarse nozzles will be the only option approved by manufacturer for all three products. Large droplets, she says, reduce the potential for off-target drift. Each of the three products includes technology to reduce drift by more than 90 percent. “Ultra-coarse nozzles significantly reduce drift potential,” says Luke Etheredge, Monsanto. “We also recommend a minimum of 10 gallons per acre spray volume. With dense weeds, 12 gallons to 15 gallons per acre might be better.” Target weeds should be less than 4 inches tall, he says. “Also, do not use ammonium sulfate with this herbicide.” Wind speed at application should range from 3 mph to 10 mph. “At less than 3 mph, we can get temperature inversion,” Etheredge says. “Ground speed should be less than 15 mph to improve boom stability and reduce potential for air disturbance.” SENSITIVE AREAS Nabors says farmers must be aware of “sensitive areas downwind” of applications. Those include plants such as grapes, watermelons, and non-tolerant cotton. Buffers strips should be 30 feet wide. A system to identify those sensitive areas would be helpful, the reps agree. A “Flag the Technology,” system could help,” Etheredge says. Boom height should be 24 inches, they say. Off-target application may also occur from improperly cleaned spray tanks. “Triple rinse,” Nabors says. Etheredge and Hixson agree, noting that cleaning products are also available to help get the residue out of the tanks. They also recommend that applicators pay attention to spray parts and hoses to make certain herbicide residue is removed. All three companies are aware of the potential for drift and off-target application. But they say problems should not be significant if applicators pay attention to what they’re doing. “Follow the label,” they all say, “and you should not have trouble.” They also agree that a complete weed control system should be in place, and that it should include a pre-emerge treatment and post-emergence, overlapping residual herbicide applications, followed by over-the-top treatments with the new multi-herbicide technology. “Timely weed management is important,” they say. “Cotton is not competitive early,” Hixson says. “It needs the best environment possible.”TOLERANCE WARNINGS Company reps also warn that cotton developed to tolerate dicamba will not also tolerate 2, 4-D, and varieties tolerant to 2, 4-D will not tolerate dicamba. Engenia, a new dicamba herbicide developed for use in dicamba-tolerant crops, features low volatility. BASF has developed the “On-Target Application Academy” to assist field training in proper use and stewardship of the product. The Enlist Weed Control System includes Enlist Duo herbicide, a combination of glyphosate and 2, 4-D choline, featuring Colex-D technology with “near zero volatility.” Monsanto’s Roundup Ready XtendFlex is a three-way herbicide product combining glyphosate, glufosinate, and dicamba. Roundup Ready Xtend with VaporGrip is a premix of glyphosate and dicamba. Xtendimax, also with VaporGrip, is a stand-alone dicamba product. As planting season nears in the southernmost range of the Cotton Belt, growers, consultants, and manufacturers continue to wait for approval of much-needed technology. Company officials say they continue to prepare for 2016 registration and availability of these herbicide products.

Go-pher it

Go-pher it! Carlsbad Current-Argus By Maddy Hayden Looking for a bit of extra spending money this holiday season? Why not try your hand at gopher trapping, which will get you $6 a piece? The Carlsbad Soil and Water Conservation District offers $6 for each gopher tail brought in on the first Monday of every month as part of its gopher bounty program. This week, Judith McCollaum, who works in information and education in the district, sat eating her lunch and counting up tails during the monthly tail turn-in day. "We'll have a handful more this month," McCollaum said. "They save up their tails so they can buy their Christmas gifts." With an hour and a half left to turn in, McCollaum had counted 266 two or three inch, furry little gopher tails. There were dozens in a pickle jar filled with witch hazel and several more in small Ziploc baggies. "We'd really prefer if people brought them in in alcohol," McCollaum said, visibly cringing. Although the animals are small, the damage they can inflict to agricultural fields in the area is great. "Because of the salinity of the local water, flood irrigation is the only way farmers can go," said District Manager Judy Bock. The high levels of salt in area water corrodes irrigation spouts and pipes, making it not a cost efficient way to water crops, Bock said. In addition, the flooding method allows the salt to penetrate more deeply into the soil, and not sit near the plant roots. In order to facilitate flooding, dirt borders are built up around fields, acting as miniature dams for the water. Add a single gopher to the mix, and the results can be catastrophic. "When we have gophers tunnel under the borders, you lose all the water you were allotted," McCollaum said. Since the water is escaping under the ground, it's difficult to identify where the leak is. Eddy County Extension Agent Woods Houghton estimated that the loss can decrease irrigation efficiency in a field up to 70 percent. Houghton added that the rodents can also do damage to residential areas. "Gophers eat plant roots," he said. "Anything that's buried underground and they think is a root, they'll chew through." That can include electrical wiring and PVC pipe. Bock and McCollaum said the reasons for the bounty are many, and although some protest, it is a necessary program. "It's not like we're just doing it to be malicious to little furry critters," McCollaum said. "If you lose all of that water, you're done for the year. You have absolutely no source of income because you lost all your crops."

Federal agency stakes a claim to ranchers’ Red River land

Federal agency stakes a claim to ranchers’ Red River land By Chance Weldon Special to the Star-Telegram Ken Aderholt’s house could be in the middle of the Red River — at least according to the federal Bureau of Land Management. Never mind that his house sits well outside any land that water touches. Never mind that his family has ranched the land for generations. Never mind that the area includes 100-year-old trees. If BLM says it’s in the river, Aderholt’s only recourse is to take the federal government to court. We at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for the American Future represent Anderholt and other landowners in a lawsuit to stop this federal land grab and bring some much-needed certainty to Texas landowners along the Red River. According to a 1923 Supreme Court decision, Texas owns the land up to the south bank of the Red River, but the riverbed belongs to the federal government. If the BLM decides that Aderholt’s house is in the river (and all indications point to the fact that it will) then the United States government will take ownership of the property. In the meantime, the BLM is just pretending that it owns the property for planning purposes. That’s right. The BLM hasn’t determined whether it owns the property, but it is putting together a land-use plan anyway. The adoption of that plan would have devastating effects for Aderholt. Using property in violation of a BLM approved land-use management plan is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison. This has left Aderholt with land that he can’t use without fear of criminal penalties, can’t sell, can’t borrow against to make improvements and has no real reason to invest in. Potentially hundreds of landowners along a 116-mile stretch of the Red River in North Texas are in a similar predicament. Many of these families have held title to their land for generations. Suddenly in 2014, the BLM began notifying these landowners that their families’ lands were allegedly owned by the BLM. Posted by Frank DuBois at 7:21 AM No comments: Permalink Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: Federal Lands

Frrom National Farm Bruaue on the 2016 omnibus approprations bill.

******** URGENT INFORMATION ******** ***P U B L I C P O L I C Y B U L L E T I N*** December 16, 2015 Omnibus Update TO: PRESIDENTS, SECRETARIES AND/OR ADMINISTRATORS, COORDINATORS OF NATIONAL AFFAIRS, DIRECTORS OF INFORMATION, DIRECTORS OF COMMODITY ACTIVITIES, COORDINATORS OF NATURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, FIELD SERVICE DIRECTORS, SCHAUMBURG AND WASHINGTON OFFICE DISTRIBUTION FR: DALE MOORE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PUBLIC POLICY CC: PRESIDENT STALLMAN JULIE ANNA POTTS, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ISSUE: The fiscal year (FY) 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill has been introduced in the House. The bill provides $1.149 trillion in funding and abides by the terms set by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Congress also introduced a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that will expire on Tuesday, Dec. 22. This new CR replaces the current CR, which expires today and provides Congress with enough time to debate and vote on the omnibus and tax bills. AFBF staff will continue to read through the bill and provide updates. IMPACT: Agriculture Appropriations: • The Agriculture Appropriations bill provides $21.75 billion in discretionary funding, which is $925 million above FY15 enacted level and $34 million below the president’s budget request. A summary of the agriculture section can be found here. • GMO Labeling – Not addressed in the bill. • Country of Origin Labeling – The provision repeals mandatory Country of Origin Labeling requirements for certain meat products. AFBF supports. • Dietary Guidelines – The provision ensures the guidelines are based on significant scientific agreement and are focused on nutritional and dietary information. The provision also requires a review of the process to ensure a balanced and scientific process in the future. AFBF supports. • Animal and Plant Health – The bill includes $894.4 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This includes $3 million for avian influenza assistance and $7.5 million for citrus greening disease. AFBF supports. • Horse Processing – The bill prohibits USDA inspection at horse processing facilities. AFBF opposes. • Agriculture in the Classroom – The bill provides $552,000 for the program. AFBF supports. • Conservation Programs – The bill provides $850.8 million for conservation programs and $12 million for the Watershed Rehabilitation Program. AFBF supports. • Broadband – The bill provides $36.8 billion for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program. AFBF supports. • International Food Programs – The bill provides $1.5 billion for the Food for Peace program and $201 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program. AFBF supports • Commodity Futures Trading Commission – The bill provides $250 million, of which $50 million is for the purchase of IT equipment. AFBF neutral. • Genetically Engineered Salmon – The bill prohibits the distribution of genetically engineered salmon until the FDA publishes final labeling guidelines. AFBF opposes. • Agricultural Research – The bill provides $2.94 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. AFBF Supports • Food Safety and Inspection – The bill includes more than $1 billion for Food Safety and Inspection Service. This funding will maintain more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products. AFBF supports. • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA receives a total of $2.72 billion in discretionary funding in the bill. Total funding for the FDA, including revenue from user fees, is $4.68 billion. AFBF support. • Emergency Watershed Protection Program – The bill provides $130 million for disaster funding to address damage caused by flooding and other natural disasters. AFBF neutral. Interior and Environment Appropriations: • The bill provides $32.159 billion in discretionary funding, which is $1.7 billion above the FY 2015 and $1.1 billion below the president’s request. A summary of the bill can be found here. • Waters of the United States – Not addressed in the bill. • Endangered Species – The bill prohibits funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue further rules to place sage-grouse on the Endangered Species List. AFBF supports. • Greenhouse Gases – The bill provides exemptions from greenhouse gas regulations for livestock producers. AFBF supports. • Wildfire – The bill provides $4.2 billion for wildfire fighting and prevention programs. The bill also includes $360 million for the timber program. AFBF supports. • Payments in Lieu of Taxes – The bill provides $452 million for PILT, a program that funds local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands. AFBF supports. Also included in the omnibus bill is a provision that suspends the Health Insurance Tax. AFBF supports this provision. Contact: RJ Karney, 202-406-3669,

Federal Agencies Release Update on National Biogas Activitie

Federal Agencies Release Update on National Biogas Activities WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2015 – In support of the Obama Administration's Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly released the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Progress Report today, updating the federal government's progress to reduce methane emissions through biogas systems since the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap was completed by the three agencies in July 2014. Today's report highlights actions taken, outlines challenges and opportunities, and identifies next steps to the growth of a robust biogas industry. Biogas is part of the White House's strategy to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with more than 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide and valuable source of energy. In the Climate Action Plan, President Obama directed the Administration to develop a comprehensive, interagency strategy to reduce methane emissions. In March 2014, the White House released the Climate Action Plan - Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. As part of the strategy, DOE, EPA, and USDA committed to work with industry leaders to formulate a biogas roadmap in order to encourage cost-effective strategies for voluntary reductions. The 2014 roadmap identified more than 2,000 sites across the United States that produce biogas, as well as the potential for an additional 11,000 biogas systems. If this potential is reached by 2030, biogas systems could produce enough energy to power more than 3 million American homes while reducing the methane emissions by an amount equivalent to 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of the greenhouse gasses from to 11 million passenger vehicles. Biogas offers American farmers, municipalities, and other stakeholders a way to reduce their waste outputs while adding another revenue stream by recovering resources with biogas systems for energy, nutrients, and other beneficial uses. Since July 2014, DOE, EPA, and USDA have made progress toward realizing these benefits. They have revised their programs and policies to further support the growth of the biogas industry, such as improving the application process for various biogas funding and financing programs and including biogas as a cellulosic advanced fuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The agencies have also made progress by revising existing technologies, and updating informational tools, databases, and models. The three agencies formed the Biogas Working Group to work closely with biogas stakeholders to streamline existing agency programs, strengthen markets for biogas systems, and improve interagency coordination and communication. Biogas will continue to be a key part of the federal government's long-term climate, energy, and development strategy. The Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Progress Report identifies next steps for federal agencies moving forward, which include promoting biogas utilization through existing agency programs (including $10 million in research funding), fostering investment in biogas systems, strengthening markets for biogas systems and system products, and improving communication and coordination across federal agencies and the biogas industry. Progress report in brief: Full Report: #

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guide E-324: Processing Fresh Chile Peppers

The following CES publication has been revised and is now available online in PDF format. Guide E-324: Processing Fresh Chile Peppers Revised by Nancy C. Flores (Extension Food Technology Specialist, Dept. of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences) And Cindy Schlenker Davies (County Program Director/Extension Home Economist, Bernalillo County Extension Office)

USDA Removes Farm Program Payments to Managers Not Actively Engaged in Farming

USDA Removes Farm Program Payments to Managers Not Actively Engaged in Farming WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today finalized a rule to ensure that farm safety-net payments are issued only to active managers of farms that operate as joint ventures or general partnerships, consistent with the direction and authority provide by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill. The action, which exempts family farm operations, closes a loophole where individuals who were not actively part of farm management still received payments. "The federal farm safety-net programs are designed to protect against unanticipated changes in the marketplace for those who actively share in the risk of that farming operation," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "To ensure that help goes to those who genuinely need it, such as America's farm families, the Farm Bill authorized USDA to close a loophole and limit payments from those not involved on a daily basis in nonfamily farm management." Since 1987, the broad definition of "actively engaged" resulted in some general partnerships and joint ventures adding managers to the farming operation, qualifying for more payments, that did not substantially contribute to management. The rule applies to operations seeking more than one farm manager, and requires measureable, documented hours and key management activities each year. Some operations of certain sizes and complexity may be allowed up to three qualifying managers under limited conditions. The changes apply to payments for 2016 and subsequent crop years for Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Programs, Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP) and Marketing Loan Gains (MLG) realized via the Marketing Assistance Loan program. As required by Congress, the new rule does not apply to family farms, or change regulations related to contributions of land, capital, equipment, or labor. The changes go into effect for the 2016 crop year for most farms. Farms that have already planted fall crops for 2016 have until the 2017 crop year to comply. For more details, producers are encouraged to consult their local Farm Service Agency office. Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit To learn more about Farm Service Agency, visit #

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Horseshoers Christmas.

A HORSESHOER’S CHRISTMAS By Woods E. Houghton It was the day before Christmas and just my luck, My calendar told me I had ten horses to shoe in all of this muck. Oh, this cold weather is hard on my bod. But they had to be shod. I finished the last one, in the barn light. And it was way past dark thirty, as I settled down for the night. The wood burner stove was lit and a glow. I was thawing out but it was slow. When all of a sudden, there was a knock at the door. Who could that be, I thought as I crawled from the floor. I opened it to see. A tall lean cowboy looking at me. With a long soft southern drawl he asked of me. “Are you the horseshoer, here and about.” Something told me to say nay, But I heard myself say, “Sur, I am the only one about” This old cowboy he was quite a sight, with his mustachio that was all curly and white. I am in a hurry tonight, and what he said next gave me quite a fright. My lead pack mule has thrown a shoe. It was a quarter till dawn, and it was dark. And cold, but what else was there to do. He needed my help regardless of my desire, We went to the barn and I set the forage with fire. When he look at me with eyes full of glee, “Use one of these, if you will please. The shoe that he handed me was light, as light as a feather. I took it and shaped it to fit, The mule was well behaved and did not mind a bit. When I was finished, the job done right That shoe nailed down good and tight. I asked, “What made that shoe so light?” As he mounted his horse with one smooth swing He started off in a trot, “Star dust my friend, without it you see, these mules cant fly with me. I chuckled to myself and turned to see, that string of pack mules above my tree. As the cowboy above shouted out with glee, To all the children, ranchers and the like Feliz Navidad, and to you all good night.

Poinsettias: year after Year

Poinsettias: year after Year I know this is a repeat article but if I don’t publish it each year a number of people are disappointed, so have a Merry Christmas. There are two green houses in New Mexico which supply the majority of Poinsettias across the nation; it is one of New Mexico’s major agriculture exports. Poinsettias can be kept year after year, and they will bloom each year if you give them proper care. When the leaves begin to yellow or when the plan is no longer desired as an ornamental, gradually withhold water. The leaves will pale and fall and the colorful bracts will be the last to go. After all the leaves have fallen, store the plant in its pot, in a cool dry dark area. Keep the plant on the dry side, water only to keep the stems from withering. In April or May, bring the plant out of storage. Cut the main stems six inches above the soil level. Remove the pot and old soil from the roots. Repot the plant in fresh medium having good drainage. Place the pant in a warm, sunny spot for renewed growth. Keep the humidity high to encourage rapid new growth. In our dry climate this can be done by placing a clear plastic bag over the plant, but don’t let it over heat it. Once the plant is active apply a week fertilizer once a month. After frost danger is past, sink the pot into a protected and sunny bed. Light shade is ideal during the hottest part of the day. Lift the pot occasionally to prevent root growth into surrounding soil. Keep the poinsettias actively growing all summer by watering and fertilizing regularly according to your soil conditions this can be quite variable. To obtain a bushy plant pinch new shoot back so that at least two nodes remain on each until late August. Remove week stems completely, so only a few of the stronger one develop. As cool fall weather begins, take the plant inside to a south window with full sun. Poinsettias do best in full fall sun and the bracts (apparent petals) obtain their deepest color in good light. The poinsettia is known as a true long-night plant. This means that the plant must be in total darkness for about 14 hours out of every day for a four-week period to form flower buds. In late September or early October make certain the poinsettia receives no artificial light after nightfall. For more information Contact your Local County Extension office and ask for guide H-406. This and all programs are available to everyone regardless of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, or veteran status. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating to put knowledge to work.

Keeping Your Agricultural Tax Exemption in this Time of Transition

Keeping Your Agricultural Tax Exemption in this Time of Transition by lajicarita By KAY MATTHEWS For the past several years folks in Taos have been working—and struggling—with the state and county to expand agricultural property tax statutes and regulations to accommodate changing climate and demographics and keep as much land as possible in agricultural production. During last year’s legislative session Taoseños—including County Commissioner Candyce O’Donnell, New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) lobbyist Patricia Quintana, and members of the Agricultural Resolution Team—helped pass Senate Bill 112 , which amends the definition of agricultural use for property tax valuation to include resting the land under certain conditions. Those conditions are “moderate drought conditions as designated by the United States Department of Agriculture, if the drought conditions occurred in the county within which the land is located for at least eight consecutive weeks during the previous tax year.” Over the course of the last few years the Taos County Assessor’s Office, at the direction of the state, has been reviewing properties that claim the agricultural exemption to ascertain if they actually qualify. Of the hundreds of properties that have been visited thus far (mostly in the immediate town of Taos area) a large percentage has lost the exemption, resulting in very large increases in property taxes based on market value. Last Thursday, December 10, the NMAA, the Taos Valley Acequia Association, and Taos Soil and Water Conservation District sponsored a workshop to familiarize folks with the state statues and county regulations that govern an agricultural tax exemption, updates on these exemptions, and how to protest the revocation of an exemption. Enrique Romero, a native of Nambe who works for the Land and Water division of New Mexico Legal Aid, laid out the specifics of the regulations that govern agricultural property tax exemptions that county assessors must follow. These regulations are laid out in the New Mexico State Statutes Section 7-36-20. Lands that meet these criteria are taxed at a third of their market value. The agricultural valuation is based on the “land’s capacity to produce agricultural products,” not their actual production. Agricultural products include: plants, crops, tress, forest products, orchard crops, livestock, poultry, fish, captive deer or elk, wool and mohair, hides and pelts, and dairy products and honey. Landowners need to provide evidence that any of these products were used for sale, subsistence, resale by others, or as feed, seed, or breeding stock. The ag land must be at least one acre in size except if the products produced are orchard fruit, poultry, or fish. There are three types of agricultural lands: irrigated, dry land, and grazing, which are assessed at different rates in different counties. In Taos, irrigated land is assessed at $491 per acre; dry land at $120 per acre; and grazing at $4 per acre. Taos County Chief Appraiser Nick Salazar was present to answer questions that pertain to Taos County. He and his staff, which according to Salazar is woefully inadequate, “hit the ground running” in January to try to look at all properties in the county that claim the agricultural exemption. Of the 600 properties they’ve inspected this year 60 percent were disqualified. In 2014 the disqualifications added nearly $51 million to the county’s tax base. “We’re not going out and attacking land owners,” Salazar said, but trying to weed out those properties that are obviously not capable of production and trying to help those landowners whose property has the potential to be productive find ways to be in compliance with the regulations. He explained that if property is undervalued it places a disproportionate burden on other market property that must be taxed to meet county value levels. Rectifying the values could result in lower tax rates and lower taxes for all county residents. While taxation values need to be equalized, several people pointed out that the definition of what qualifies as agricultural land needs to be broadened to include categories of open space or greenbelts that will help prevent the development of agricultural lands. They also pointed out that just as the 2015 state legislature recognized the impacts of drought on agriculture, so too should it recognize the changing demographics that make it harder for folks to keep their lands productive: the aging of the farming community; the economic pressures that force our children to leave; and the lack of equipment and resources available for folks to grow food or raise cattle on their lands. Salazar told the group that for the second year he has approached the state legislature with a proposed regulation that would help the elderly retain their agricultural exemption by freezing the amount of tax paid after the age of 65. He also pointed out that his office allows people to combine non-contiguous lands to meet the minimum requirement of one acre in size. “We bend as much as we can but we don’t break the law.” Salazar came out to my property last summer after I discovered that my agricultural exemption had been revoked and I filed a protest (protests for next year must be filed by April 30; forms are available online or call the county assessor’s office at 575 737-6360). I have eight acres of irrigated land in two parcels; my house, garden, orchard, and hay field comprise the upper parcel, fed by an acequia; my lower parcel consists of a hay field, fed by another acequia. When I filed the protest I discovered that horses do not qualify as stock in the agricultural regulations (based on a 1999 state court decision). After raising a hay crop on both parcels for more than 20 years I continued to irrigate but let the pastures rest the last two years; my horse and a neighbor’s mules ate the standing grass. Salazar told me I needed to either cut the hay as a crop or put cows in the pastures to re-qualify for the agricultural exemption as my three years under the new drought regulation are up this year. I asked another neighbor who still raises cattle to put them in the field in the fall and will try to find someone to cut the hay next summer. My situation reflects that of many other folks in the villages of el norte: I’m 65 and hard pressed to do all the irrigating and orchard and garden work by myself (my co-editor and domestic partner Mark Schiller died in 2010). My kids don’t live here. The neighbor who cut my hay and put his cows in my fields for those twenty years died in 2009; his son sold the cows the following year. The drought makes it more difficult to get the irrigation water to the areas of the field usually kept in good shape by the monsoon rains. Paula Garcia, executive director of the NMAA, told the crowd that the Agricultural Resolution Team (Peggy Nelson and Toby Martinez) and the Assessor’s Office will continue to work with the legislature to advocate for policy changes that will help us maintain our agricultural lands in this time of transition.

Friday, December 11, 2015

NRCS delays overhaul of CSP until 2017 sign-up

Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc. By Whitney Forman-Cook USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) says its plan to have a new and improved Conservation Stewardship Program up and running by January has been delayed. Now, the CSP's new features won't be fully rolled out until the beginning of 2017. Mark Rose, the acting deputy chief of programs with NRCS, told Agri-Pulse Tuesday that implementation of the CSP upgrades would start in October 2016 and should be complete by the 2017 sign-up period. "The decision to change the target date to the beginning of the next fiscal year will allow the time necessary to fully field test the new tools with our employees and partners, ensuring that we are well prepared to best serve the farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who are working to achieve their stewardship goals," Rose said in an email. CSP is a working lands conservation program that provides farmers and ranchers who enter into five-year contracts with NRCS up to $40,000 a year in funding to implement best management practices on their land. Currently, CSP has about 49,000 active contracts that cover over 65 million acres. In a recent interview, NRCS Chief Jason Weller said the program is "very popular" and "way over-subscribed." For instance, in fiscal 2015, NRCS received over 21,000 applications for CSP contracts, but was only able to offer assistance to about 6,000 applicants. The CSP "makeover" was designed to make the program "easier to use" and to make the application process "more transparent and effective," Weller said. It will help NRCS agents develop more individualized conservation plans for producers more focused on specific "enhancement" objectives, like improving wildlife habitat and soil health or managing for pests, he said. It will also combine the predicative power of NRCS' portfolio of modeling tools, including edge-of-field monitoring, soil health assessments and others. Weller said the way CSP has been run the past five years has made the program "pretty complex" with a "black box element to it" that "is very difficult for our field people to use (and) explain to a person" interested in entering into a CSP contract. The new CSP is "going to look and feel a lot like EQIP (NRCS's Environmental Quality Incentives Program). Something people trust and use all the time," Weller said. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition released a statement Monday applauding NRCS's decision to extend the "overhaul" timeline. NSAC said the delay will not only more time for training NCRS employees on the changes, "but it also allows stakeholders to provide input before these changes go into effect."

Udall, Heinrich Announce Over $63 Million to Repair Eddy County Roads Damaged by September 2014 Storms, Floods

Udall, Heinrich Announce Over $63 Million to Repair Eddy County Roads Damaged by September 2014 Storms, Floods WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced more than $63.6 million for Eddy County for hazard mitigation and to repair roads damaged by severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Odile in September 2014. The funding will help to permanently repair 24 aggregate, asphalt, and chip and seal roads, which suffered significant damage. "This $63 million in disaster funding for Eddy County is a much-needed boost that will help repair damage caused by last year's severe storms from Hurricane Odile," Udall said. "I met with Eddy County community leaders shortly after the storms, and they told me that the magnitude of the damage was devastating — the hurricane disrupted oil and gas development, affected farms, damaged roads, and took a real toll on the economy. This needed funding will help Eddy County finally recover and rebuild." “This is outstanding news for Eddy County,” Heinrich said. "Last year’s extreme weather conditions severely damaged roads and other critical infrastructure that New Mexicans rely on. The local economy depends on the oil and gas industry, WIPP, and potash mining, which all require functional roads to operate. This much-needed federal assistance will help restore our communities and businesses, and is a critical step toward the recovery effort.” The $63,602,780 grant will be provided to the state of New Mexico to distribute to Eddy County. Udall and Heinrich supported the state's request for disaster recovery assistance following Hurricane Odile. The funding for Eddy County was awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. ### Contacts: Jennifer Talhelm (Udall) 202.228.6870 / Whitney Potter (Heinrich) 202.228.1578