Drought Conditions and Horse Owners

Drought news: ‘With prices going up, I see people getting out of having horses’ — Kent Whitmer #COdrought

August 26, 2013

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Leia Larsen):

Prolonged drought conditions have caused hay prices to soar statewide, putting a pinch on ranchers and livestock owners. In the Mountains and Northwest Colorado region, U.S. Department of Agriculture hay reports show current prices have leapt by about 54 percent since five years ago, from $6.50 a bale to $10 a bale. But Colorado’s most recent hay report, released on Aug. 15, may signal modest improvement.

“We’re seeing a weaker undertone to this market with monsoonal moisture coming in, and pasture conditions are improving,” said Randy Hammerstrom with the USDA-Colorado Agricultural Marketing Service.

A weaker market undertone means hay prices could start trending downward, but Hammerstrom cautions prices changes won’t be dramatic. He also said variables make market forecasting difficult if not impossible.

“I wouldn’t call it sharply lower,” he said. “There is still concern over inventory and lack of inventory, supplies are on the tight side.”

Inventories remain tight after drought conditions from the last two years. Kent Whitmer, of Lazy T Rocking K Ranch in Kremmling, sells hay to livestock owners throughout Colorado and in nearby states. Before the drought struck, he sold his hay for around $5.50 a bale. He’s now up to $9 a bale, and said his same weed-free certified hay goes for as much as $15 a bale at feed stores. With a particularly heavy drought hitting the southwest region of the U.S., demand from states like Texas and Oklahoma has pushed hay prices even further as they gobble up Colorado supplies at a premium…

“With prices going up, I see people getting out of having horses,” Whitmer said. “It’s a luxury — that’s the first thing to go before a car payment or mortgage for most people.”

The Dirt on Dirt!

Jackie Brown, District Manager for the Routt County Conservation District wrote an article under the Community Agriculture Alliance for the Steamboat Pilot newspaper.  Learn about the vitality and importance of soil and the new project the Routt County Conservation District is heading up!

Click here to read the article!

Colorado’s Specialty Crop Industry Eligible for Funding

Colorado’s Specialty Crop Industry Eligible for Funding

 LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Colorado specialty crops range from perennial favorites like potatoes and onions to exciting innovators such as lavender and hops. To help develop and promote the state’s specialty crops, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is seeking proposals for the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and nursery crops including floriculture and sod.  “Colorado produces a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and horticultural products,” said Casey Palmer, CDA Marketing Specialist. “This grant program helps develop and promote these unique crops.”  Colorado’s specialty crops represent approximately 10 percent of Colorado’s total agricultural cash receipts. In 2011, cash receipts from specialty crops totaled more than $735 million.  The grant program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which partners with state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop producers in areas such as marketing, promotion, education, research, trade and nutrition.  “The department must submit a request outlining projects to the USDA in order to receive these funds,” continued Palmer. “This application process will help determine which projects are included in our application to the USDA.”  CDA anticipates that approximately $640,000 will be available, with approved projects starting early in 2014. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and local organizations, academia and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. Proposals submitted by individual producers must demonstrate that the potential impact of the project will accrue to a broader group of similar producers, region or industry segment.

Proposals must be received by close of business (4:30pm) on May 1, 2013. For more information and an application, visit www.colorado.gov/ag/specialtycropgrant or call (303) 239-4123.

Taylor Hammer is the 2012 recipient of the Glenn Werner Memorial Scholarship!

Taylor Hammer of SOROCO High School is the recipient of the Glenn Werner Memorial Scholarship.  Taylor has an outstanding agricultural background, and from owning his own cattle herd to 4-H, FFA and varsity football, he seems to have done it all.  Taylor will be attending the University of Wyoming for Agriculture in the fall of 2012.  Congrats Taylor and best of luck to you in your future endeavors!