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Ag organizations hold joint annual meeting

by Carol Dunn

HUERFANO- Huerfano County’s three largest ag-related organizations joined forces on November 7 to sponsor a joint annual meeting of their membership.

    Sixty-eight people from the Huerfano County Farm Bureau, Huerfano Basin Stockgrowers and Upper Huerfano Conservation District were on hand to hear about issues that threaten agriculture and the rural way of life in this area and around the country.  Don Shawcroft, Vice President of Colorado Farm Bureau, told the audience that top issues include pending changes in estate tax law, which proposes to lower the exemption for ag operations; cap and trade legislation, which will result in higher fuel, fertilizer and energy costs; and an attempt to greatly expand the regulatory reach of the Clean Water Act to include all waters (no longer just navigable waters) of the U.S.  Referring to the working relationship between the Farm Bureau and Colorado Cattlemen, Shawcroft said, “We work together as many times as we can during the legislative session, when we can agree on particular policy positions.”

    David Mendenhall, 1st Vice-president of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, encouraged the group to take an active role in supporting or opposing legislation.  “Get involved,” he said.  “Membership numbers are important to legislators.”  Mendenhall cited a statistic that family farms and ranches are five to twenty times more likely to be broken up by the new estate tax regulations, which can interfere with the orderly transfer of farmland to the next generation of ranchers and farmers.

    In the election for the local Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Roger Cain was elected by acclamation to a two year term, beginning January 1, 2010.  Cain will replace Marvin Davis, who is retiring from the Board after many years of service to the Farm Bureau.  Re-elected to the Board were Keith Tatman and John Stroh.

    Jim Hribar, president of Upper Huerfano Conservation District, urged landowners to address their weed problems.  He said the Conservation District will be offering cost-share reimbursement next year for weed management.  County Commissioner Roger Cain told the group the County also will have weed management funding available to landowners in 2010.

    Kurt Corsair and Tom Knowlton provided cowboy music for the event, which was held at Sammie’s Restaurant in La Veta.