Articles and Information

News and Information About Agriculture

Grant funding for CAFOs available in Idaho

Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) in partnership with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is offering grant opportunities for the 2025 state fiscal year. The goal of the grant program is to support environmental improvement programs on confined animal feeding operations. The grant funds are dedicated for environmental improvements to soil, water, and air quality with an emphasis on manure and nutrient management. This year, Idaho’s legislature has appropriated $ 2 million from the state general fund to support this program in the 2025 fiscal year.

Grant Program Progress

Over the past two years, the state of Idaho’s CAFO Improvement Fund has granted nearly $10 million dollars towards 25 projects. Eight of these projects are 100% complete and operational. Because of these successes, the state of Idaho has extended the CAFO Improvement grant program.

According to the IDEQ website, the types of projects funded by the CAFO Improvement grant program have included:

  • DariTech Biolynk water recycling...
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Idaho EPA Region 10 Comment on NPDES General Permit for CAFOs

Comments Submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency

At AGPROfessionals, our mission is to advocate for our clients. As a part of this, we follow the regulatory landscape and step in to participate when needed. Most recently, we stepped in on the EPA Region 10's request to provide comments regarding their modified National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations located in the State of Idaho. For this comment period the EPA is accepting comments exclusively on changes made to the General Permit since the previous comment period.

All too often, agencies pass regulations without thought to the bigger picture and their ripple effect. Below is a high-level overview of the comments/recommendations made by our AGPROfessionals team:

  • Updating language regarding seepage rates from impoundments to align with industry standards and practical considerations.
  • Evaluation methods should not look to other states for guidelines, instead they should follow NRCS standards...
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Idaho Water Issue

Idaho Agriculture and Water in the News

In the week of June 10th, 2024, the agricultural industry and water supply in the state of Idaho were prominent in the news. The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) placed red tags on many ground water wells in Eastern Idaho, instructing farmers to stop pumping groundwater. According to the Idaho Department of Water Resources, red tags were issued due to the risk that junior water rights users in Bonneville, Bingham, Jefferson, and Clark counties usage would impact the water rights of senior water rights users by creating a water shortage of 74,100 acre-feet in the Twin Falls Canal Company.

This decision led to concerns among certain farmers about having enough water to irrigate their crops. The order to curtail pumping was issued because water rights users in several Idaho counties had not complied with the state's groundwater mitigation plans. The last agreement was drafted in 2016.

Report by East Idaho News

East Idaho News covered the story and reported the following...

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From an article in MeatingPlace by Frank Fuhrig on 6/28/2024

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday overturning a 40-year-old doctrine giving wide deference to federal regulatory agencies has broad implications for USDA agencies regulating agriculture and food processing.

The decision was a major shift in administrative law and could impact regulations on the environment, healthcare and consumer protection.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) immediately welcomed what it hailed as eventually reducing regulations that exceed statutory authorization.

“Cattle producers have experienced numerous instances of federal agencies enacting overreaching regulations on our farms and ranches, exceeding their authority granted by Congress,” NCBA President Mark Eisele said. “I am glad the Supreme Court is reining in these federal agencies and putting power back in the hands of those elected to represent us in Washington.”

NCBA chief counsel Mary-Thomas Hart said that the decision will be felt across “almost every regulation” that affects the beef...

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Article excerpts:

“NERC and NEWMOA used grant funding from the U.S. EPA to develop a regulatory guide and companion materials, including advice for community engagement, for Northeastern states.

A group of organizations based in the Northeastern U.S. has released materials for developers and communities interested in anaerobic digestion. Led by the Northeast Recycling Council and Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association, the group hopes the resources and accompanying webinars will facilitate greater understanding of digestion systems and ease friction for projects where necessary.”

Link to article: HERE

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Oregon SB85 Rulemaking - Animal Rights Groups

Last summer, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed into law Senate Bill 85. This new law requires farmers looking to apply for a new permit for a dairy, poultry, or pork farm, egg farm, beef cattle feed yard – essentially any facility feeding and housing a specific number of animals - to submit a water use plan to the Oregon Department of Water Resources. Additionally, according to an article by Progressive Farmer, SB 85 placed a cap on stock water usage to 12,000 gallons per day. A farm, ranch, or other animal operation “needing more water above the cap have to prove they have legal access to it.” SB85 also allows for counties to stipulate undetermined setbacks. This language was recently used in Linn County, requiring a poultry farm to have a one-mile setback from its buildings to the property line of a neighboring property.

According to an article on the website Waging NonViolence, “SB 85 is the product of a years-long organized effort, whose ultimate goal is to pass a full moratorium on new (large modern) farms in Oregon.” In addition to...

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From an article in AGDAILY written by AGDAILY Contributors

Article Excerpts:

“Foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land is a hot topic, largely spurred by media reports raising concerns about bad actors from adversarial nations purchasing land for potentially hostile purposes.

For most, understanding of the formal processes for reviewing foreign investments and tracking existing ownership dynamics is limited. Under the authorities granted to it by the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978, USDA is required to track information pertaining to foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land. However, successful monitoring of investments and enforcement of the law by USDA has been challenging, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released recommendations outlining how USDA can improve its data collection and processes.”

Link to full article: HERE

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Idaho Notice Comment Period Open CAFO NPDES

Public Notice: Proposed Modification to NPDES General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Idaho

The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, is initiating a second public comment period for the modified National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) located in the State of Idaho (Permit No. IDG010000).

For this comment period, EPA is accepting comments exclusively on changes made to the General Permit since the previous comment period.

***Comments will be accepted through July 8, 2024.***

The draft NPDES general permit (with new/changed conditions highlighted in yellow) and the supporting fact sheet addendum, which explains the basis for the new/changed conditions, are available for review HERE

EPA will consider all comments received during the previous public comment period from July 18 to...

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Notice - Comment Period - Oregon Department of AG - SB85 Rulemaking

Notice from the Oregon Department of Agriculture

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) invites the public to provide comments on proposed rule changes regarding Senate Bill (SB) 85 and making significant modifications to existing rules, including the definition of a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek signed SB 85 into law in August 2023. The bill created new provisions for Oregon’s CAFOs, amending ORS 468B.050, 468B.215, and 537.545. The rules subject to change in SB8 5 are enforced by ODA.

Proposed rule highlights include:

  • Water Supply Plan: As required by SB 85, this establishes an additional ODA permit application/renewal requirement documenting all legal sources of water so the Oregon Water Resource Department (OWRD) can review whether water sources are authorized and sufficient for the operation.
  • Permit Designations: Incorporates an existing ODA table with changes to clarify animal numbers for CAFO size designations. The table also addresses...
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From an article in MeatingPlace By Peter Thomas Ricci on 6/20/2024

A lack of state funds from the Missouri state government is holding back local meat processors.

According to statements that Missouri Agriculture Director Chris Chinn made to Brownfield, seven processors are currently seeking state inspection, while “at least” eight have filed requests for Cooperative Interstate Shipping approval; however, four new state inspectors are needed for the additional workflow, and state lawmakers denied the funding for the inspectors.

USDA reimbursements also play a role. Chinn explained that USDA has historically reimbursed state inspection costs by 50%, but since fiscal year 2022, that reimbursement has fallen, and the state has needed to cover an additional $500,000 in expenses.

Currently, Missouri’s agriculture department has spending authority, but not the necessary funds for the inspectors.

Chinn added that...

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Over the first year of its devices’ widespread use, the company estimates they helped customers reduce their organic waste production by about 20%.

From an article in WasteDive written by Jacob Wallace

Dive Brief:

  • At-home food waste processor Mill says its devices processed about 2 million wet pounds of organics between April 2023 and May 2024, according to its first study of customer data. The company estimates customer households generated about 5.5 pounds of food scraps per week on average.
  • Mill allows users to see real-time data about their food waste using an app. It found that users typically decreased their food scraps by about 20% over the first four months of use, with their waste rate plateauing after that period.
  • “It’s very difficult to improve things that aren’t measured. That’s why it was so critical to us to include feedback loops for measurement, so households are able to track their progress and take action to save time and money,” Harry Tannenbaum, co-founder and president of Mill, said in a statement.

Link to...

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Lawmakers Can Be Manipulated by Fringe Groups

Fringe groups, driven by a mission to dismantle animal agriculture, are employing cunning and strategic tactics to influence lawmakers. Their focus on animals, farming, and ranching is particularly concerning, as they often present legislation in a deliberately misleading manner, taking advantage of the busy schedules of representatives.

A recent article by Sean Spicer in the Washington Examiner shed light on the activities of these animal rights groups and how they are gaining access to lawmakers who traditionally support agriculture. He points out that some of these groups are leveraging the universal fondness for dogs and cats to advance legislation that does little to improve the welfare of animals and, at the same time, will negatively impact animal agriculture. This manipulation of lawmakers with disinformation or partial information is a cause for concern.

PACs Making Donations and Endorsements on Both Sides of the Aisle

Traditionally, these fringe ideological groups have focused primarily on providing endorsements and campaign support...

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From an article in MeatingPlace by Chris Moore on 6/19/2024

Iowa officials asked for a federal judge to toss a lawsuit from several animal right activist groups fighting the state’s law intended to criminalize the use of video and audio recordings “on trespassed property” in agricultural facilities, according to a motion filed Friday.

The plaintiff groups, which include Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Bailing Out Benji and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, claimed the law violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In September 2022, the Iowa federal court ruled in favor of the activists, but in January, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to reinstate a law. The panel said the activist-dubbed “Ag-gag” law is viewpoint-based and said that it represents a permissible restriction on intentionally false speech intended to cause harm.

The state’s motion cites the appeal’s court ruling that the law does not violate lawful free speech.

The court also noted the importance of balancing free...

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Colorado Ballot Initiatives About Veterinary Care

Two ballot initiatives in Colorado are currently gathering signatures with the aim of being included on the November ballot. Both Ballot Initiative 144 and 145 are being proposed as solutions to the shortage of veterinary care available to animal owners in the state.

Livestock Production is Often Overlooked by the Media

An article in Colorado Politics provided information about the ballot initiatives and how they will impact pets. However, it overlooked a significant sector of animals and commerce in the state – livestock. Colorado Revised Statute 12-315-104 states: “(1) "Animal" means any animal other than human, and the term includes fowl, birds, amphibians, fish, and reptiles, wild or domestic, living or dead.” The language shows that the ballot initiatives will impact veterinary care for both pets and livestock.

FDA VCPR Guidance and Rural Veterinary Access

In 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration published the Guidance for Industry 263 that put new restrictions on the administration of antibiotics for livestock...

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Vilsack said the strategy has taken on renewed importance as global efforts to curb methane pollution ramp up.

Article excerpts:

“U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the final version of the National Strategy to Reduce Food Loss and Waste and Recycle Organics at nonprofit ReFED’s annual Food Waste Solutions Summit on Wednesday.

The road map lays out ways to leverage current programs across federal agencies, including the USDA, EPA and FDA, to achieve the goal of halving food waste per capita in the U.S. by 2030.

The country first set that goal in 2015 but has made little progress since. According to ReFED, which works with the federal government on food waste, wasted food per capita in the U.S. actually increased from 2016 to 2022, though it is down slightly from a peak in 2021.”

Link to article: HERE

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From an article in Western Livestock Journal

By Charles Wallace, WLJ contributing editor

Jun 7, 2024 Updated Jun 14, 2024

Colorado State University (CSU) released a report detailing the potential economic impact of the November ballot initiative prohibiting slaughterhouses within the city limits of Denver, CO, which would significantly impact the local economy and the livelihoods of many.

If passed, the “Prohibition of Slaughterhouses” ordinance would prevent the “construction, maintenance, or use of slaughterhouses within the City” beginning Jan. 1, 2026. It would also provide residents affected by the ban “workforce training and employment assistance programs.”

The study looked at the impact on the economy and the Superior Farms lamb processing facility, which operates in Denver and accounts for 15-20% of the total lamb harvest capacity in the U.S. Founded in 1964, Superior Farms is an employee-owned company that provides 160 jobs. Nearly 80% of these employee-owners are residents of Denver.

According to USDA’s National Agricultural...

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission votes to allow lethal management of wolves under certain conditions

From Colorado Politics written by Marianne Goodland

Article excerpts:

“A divided Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Thursday voted to allow for the lethal management of wolves under certain situations, a move that ranchers in Grand and Jackson counties have sought for months.

The commission approved, on a 6-4 vote, a staff recommendation allowing several permits, including the lethal taking of chronically depredating wolves — those that have demonstrated repeated killing and harassment of livestock or working dogs.

The vote was greeted with applause from dozens of ranchers, many of whom testified to the harms caused by two wolves, in particular, in Grand County. These two wolves are believed to be responsible for killing or injuring at least seven cattle, mostly calves, during calving season in April.”

Link to full article:...

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Ag Groups Fight Environmentalists on Attempt to Expand CAFO Permits

From an article in Progressive Farmer by Todd Neeley DTN Environmental Editor

Article Excerpts:

“Agriculture groups defending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from a lawsuit that tries to force the agency to require more concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to have permits, said in a new court filing the latest legal challenge is simply rehashing legal points already rejected by other appeals courts.

In February 2024, groups led by Food and Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the EPA for rejecting a 2017 petition to tighten regulations on CAFOs, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to review EPA's rejection of that petition.

In the opening brief, the environmental groups said the agency has the authority to revise its interpretation of the agricultural stormwater exemption, calling the agency's decision to reject the petition wholesale "arbitrary and capricious."’

Link to full article:...

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Livestock Manure

Since manure is a valuable resource for farmers and ranchers, it is important to get the most out of it. This process starts with record keeping, collecting regular samples, and developing nutrient management plans. Here are some guidelines to consider:

Manure Samples

  • A new operation should collect samples a minimum of once per year for the first three years of operation and then as required.
  • Samples should be collected and analyzed if there is a change in diet.
  • Consideration should be made to the timing of the sample collection and the timing of manure application.
  • Liquid manure samples should be collected in several areas because nutrients can separate and settle.
  • · Solid manure samples should not be collected from the surface of the pile but at different depths within the pile.
  • If both solid and liquid manure samples are collected at the same facility, they should be combined and thoroughly stirred. Then, an additional sample should be collected from the combined properties.
  • Samples...
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Ballot Box Biology’s Hostile Takeover Of State Wildlife Agencies

From an article in Forbes Magazine by Chris Dorsey

Article Excerpts:

“Is the traditional role of state fish and wildlife agencies coming to an end? That is increasingly the question as some of the nation’s most important—and often controversial—issues are no longer being decided by wildlife professionals whose charter it is to manage natural resources for the greater good. Instead, animal welfare groups and others have staked a clear strategy to circumvent state agencies through the referendum process. That is, if you want to ban mountain lion hunting or introduce wolves to a state, you have only to collect signatures from a population generally easy to sway with emotional media campaigns and overwhelm your opponents on election day— poor outcomes for people and wildlife be damned.”

Link to article:

...

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JBS Australia study documents lower carbon footprint from grass-fed beef

From an article in MeatingPlace by Frank Fuhrig on 6/6/2024

A study documenting the carbon footprints of 176 cattle farms across Australia has shown that the grass-fed, grass-finished beef has lower emissions than the Australian average, JBS Australia announced.

Data for the findings was independently collected from producers implementing regenerative agricultural practices in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Tasmanian mainland by IntegrityAg, an Australia-based sustainability consultancy.

“This study has been a unique insight into a large-scale closed beef supply chain that is tied to actual brands, showing impacts from grass-fed beef lower than the Australian average, and other global studies,” scientist Stephen Wiedemann of IntegrityAg said.

The initiative established a carbon emission baseline of 11.6 kilograms of CO2e per kilogram of live weight, 12% below Australia’s national average of 13.1kg CO2e/kg live weight.

IntegrityAg, which is working with...

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Meatingplace Webinar

THU, JUNE 20, 2024, 10 AM CDT

We’ll explore the USDA grant program’s status: Successes and shortcomings

On July 9, 2021, the USDA grabbed headlines when it announced more than $650 million in grants and assistance to U.S. meat processors. Described as part of a “historic commitment to fight monopolization and promote competition across the economy,” the funds were intended to expand capacity in small and very small plants, and to address consolidation in the meat industry.

Three years later, more than $300 million of those funds have been distributed to more than 300 processing facilities across the country, and in an exclusive webinar, Meatingplace will explore the program’s status and success. Peter Thomas Ricci, Managing Editor, Meatingplace, will moderate. Our expert guests will be Dave Carter, Director of Regional Technical Assistance Coordination for the...

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Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein established at NC State

North Carolina State University on Friday announced the foundation of the Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein at North Carolina State University, a center of excellence and bio-manufacturing hub.

Established through a $30 million award from the Bezos Earth Fund, the center will unite academia, industry, chefs and policymakers to develop and commercialize alt-proteins, including cultivated, fermentation-enabled and plant-based products.

Meanwhile, cultivated meat maker Believer Meats on Friday announced it will partner with the newly established Center for Sustainable protein, which will form part of an international network of alternative protein centers supported through the Bezos Earth Fund’s Future of Food program.

“Innovation alone cannot solve our global nutrition needs in the future. We need to ensure that innovation reaches the market,” Andy Jarvis, director of the Future of Food at The Bezos Earth Fund, said in a...

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Ballot Initiatives Are Tools for Activist Groups

Ballot Initiatives Have Become Valuable Tools for Activist Groups

In recent years, animal and environmental activist groups have increasingly used lawsuits and legislation to promote their cause. Ballot initiatives, in particular, have proven to be a powerful tool for these groups to bypass the usual legislative process. It's important for producers to understand this process and be aware of where these groups have made progress and gained confidence. With some successes by these groups already, we can expect to see more ballot initiative activity at the state and local levels, some of which are already underway.

A Ballot Initiative is Not Legislation

The regular legislative process involves elected lawmakers proposing legislation, which then undergoes evaluation and potential modification in committee. It's not uncommon for legislation to stall or even die in committee. However, if the legislation makes it out of committee, it is then presented to lawmakers for a vote. Apart from Nebraska, every state in the United States has...

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Colorado Producers – You Have More Access to a House Agriculture Committee Member Than You Might Realize

Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo, representing Colorado’s 8th District, serves on the House Agricultural Committee. She is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development. She also serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. In a recent email, our friend, Scot Dutcher, Weld County Farm Bureau President, has asked that Weld County Farm Bureau Members and other Coloradans take advantage of this great opportunity to provide direct feedback regarding the Farm Bill and other issues important to farmers and ranchers. He also communicated that Representative Caraveo personally requested help from producers in understanding agricultural issues. We need to take advantage of this invitation to offer guidance so Rep Caraveo can make informed decisions on critical votes that impact us all.

Representative Caraveo has three offices, one in Washington DC and two in Colorado, located in...

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Feedlot and Feedyard Management and Maintenance

There’s More to Feedlot Management and Maintenance than Meets the Eye

We believe it is vital for families buying groceries to understand where their food comes from and the work and consideration that goes into its production. In the beef industry cattle spend most of their lives out on pasture. When cattle are close to being ready to process into food and other valuable resources, most spend the last several months at a feedlot or finishing yard in preparation. Another name for a finishing yard is a confined animal feeding operation or CAFO.

Animal Welfare and Environmental Protection

When managing feedlots or finishing yards, it is crucial for producers to prioritize the well-being of the animals they are responsible for. Along with ensuring that the livestock have access to proper nutrition and water, it is also important to manage the environment effectively. Good environmental management practices promote the health and well-being of the animals, help to reduce nuisances, and are the foundation of good land stewardship....

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Alabama Becomes Second State to Ban Lab-Grown Meat

Article by Caleb Taylor for 1819 News

Excerpts:

“MONTGOMERY — Alabama became the second state in the nation to ban lab-grown meat after Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill on Wednesday prohibiting and providing criminal penalties for anyone who sells, manufactures or distributes lab-grown meat.”

“The bill, SB23, was sponsored and proposed by State Sen. Jack Williams (R-Wilmer) and carried in the House by State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens).”

"Take your fake meat elsewhere," Williams said. "We're not doing that in Alabama."

"These folks are throwing a couple of animal cells in there with some chemicals and calling it meat. Alabamians want to know what they are eating, and we have no idea what is in this stuff or how it will affect us," he added. "Meat comes from livestock raised by hardworking farmers and ranchers, not from a petri dish grown by scientists. We are protecting our farmers and the integrity of American agriculture."

Alabama farmers have played a crucial role in sustaining our...

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Colorado HB24 - 1249

Colorado HB 24 – 1249 proposes to provide a state income tax credit to agricultural producers who actively participate in stewardship practices on their farms or ranches. This credit will be implemented from January 2026 onwards.

Rulemaking

The Department of Agriculture will define the stewardship practices and determine the amount of credit to be awarded for each practice through a rulemaking process. A public stakeholder process will also be established to advise the Commissioner of Agriculture on the requirements.

Qualify and Claim

To qualify for the tax credit, a taxpayer will need to implement one, two, or three stewardship practices. The Department of Agriculture will issue tax credit certificates to qualified taxpayers upon application.

To claim the tax credit, a taxpayer must apply to the Department of Agriculture. Once the application is reviewed and approved, a tax credit certificate will be issued. The taxpayer needs to attach the certificate to their income tax return and submit it to the Department of...

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WA is Losing Farms and Food-Producing Land. Does Anyone Care?

Fourteen farms a week vanished from Washington state every week during the last five years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture and the numbers are shocking.

Between 2017 and 2022, our state lost 3,717 farms and ranches. It also lost more than 102,000 food-producing acres. To put these numbers in perspective, Washington lost a total of 3,456 farms in the previous decade.

We all know that correlation does not equal causation. Yet increases in operating costs and the enactment of hostile state and federal agricultural policy certainly suggest causation.

For example, 2022 was the first year agricultural overtime pay was implemented in Washington state.

In just a year’s time, agricultural employers saw their labor costs increase nearly 10% per employee by adding just five hours of overtime pay a week. An increase...

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Compromise - Colorado House Bill 1379

Article excerpts:

"The Senate on Monday unanimously approved House Bill 1379, the measure backed by House Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, and Sen. Dylan Roberts, D-Summit County. It now heads to the House for review of a compromise amendment, which is expected to pass, and then head to the governor for signing.

Over the weekend, the proposal had added a significant new sponsor: Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Weld County, the sponsor of the competing measure, Senate Bill 127.

Lawmakers have been looking at dueling approaches contained in two measures seeking to implement a way for the state to manage "dredge and fill discharge" permits tied to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that redefined how a body of water can be protected under the Environmental Protection Agency's "Waters of the United States" rule."

"The two measures looked nothing like each other at the beginning:...

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White House Finalizes NEPAs Phase 2 rule

White House Finalizes NEPAs Phase 2 Rule

By Anna Miller for Western Livestock Journal

Article excerpts:

"The Biden administration has rolled out its phase two rule for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, reversing Trump-era reforms.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) said its “Phase 2” ruling will “simplify and modernize the federal environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act,” but industry groups argue otherwise."

"The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public...

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Updates on H5N1 Beef Safety Studies

- Announcement on the USDA / APHIS website -

Last Modified: May 01, 2024

What's New

May 1, 2024: USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing results from its testing of retail ground beef. FSIS collected 30 samples of ground beef from retail outlets in the states with dairy cattle herds that had tested positive for the H5N1 influenza virus at the time of sample collection. The samples were sent to APHIS’ National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for PCR testing. On May 1, NVSL reported that all samples tested negative for H5N1. These results reaffirm that the meat supply is safe.

Background

USDA is confident that the meat supply is safe. USDA has a rigorous meat inspection process, where USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) veterinarians are present at all federal livestock slaughter facilities. FSIS inspects each animal before slaughter, and all cattle carcasses must pass inspection after slaughter and be determined to be fit to enter...

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Colorado Livestock Industry

Win for Livestock Industry

CDPHE Upholds CAFO General Permit and Continues to Safeguard Colorado’s Natural Resources

Livestock industry, led by the Colorado Livestock Association, prevails in a battle challenging the General CAFO Permit

Aurora, CO - This week, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment accepted the Colorado Livestock Association’s appeal and reversed the initial decision by the Administrative Law Judge reaffirming the validity of the General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This decision was the right result for livestock raising families in Colorado and preserves a permitting system that protects our state’s natural resources while maintaining economic viability for Colorado’s agriculture industry for generations to come. Colorado’s General Permitting system sets one of the highest standards across the nation in environmental...

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Ryan Hostetler, ALC Recognized as the 2023 RLI APEX Region 6 Broker of the Year in Ag Land Crop Sales

4/22/2024 (Greeley, CO) – Ryan Hostetler, ALC, with AGPROfessionals Real Estate in Greeley, Colorado, has been recognized as the APEX 2023 Region 6 (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY) Broker of the Year in Ag Land Crop Sales by the REALTORS® Land Institute as a part of the RLI APEX Production Awards Program, sponsored by The Land Report.

“We are incredibly proud of Ryan for his accomplishments in 2023. The Regional Broker of the Year is a new category for the APEX Awards this year. We are proud to honor land professionals like him across RLI’s ten regions who are dedicated to both the industry and their clients. Ryan is truly among the most accomplished professionals in land real estate.”

A Colorado native, Ryan obtained his Colorado real estate license in 1999...

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There is a movement across the country to ban or highly regulate cell-cultivated food products made in a laboratory. Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas are on the front lines of stopping and restricting lab-grown “meats.”

Arizona

The state of Arizona has created two bills to regulate lab-grown foods. The first is HB 2244. HB 2244 would make it illegal to label products not from livestock or poultry as “meat.” On January 22, the Arizona House Committee on Land, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs voted 6-3 in favor of HB 2244. On February 1, the Bill was passed by the House of Representatives. The Senate read HB 2244 on February 20.

In addition to HB 2244, Rep. David Marshal proposed HB 2121. The goal behind this Bill is to prohibit both the sale and production of cell-cultured meat. On February 22, the House passed HB 2121. The Senate read the bill on February 29. The bill passed its third reading in the Arizona Senate on April 4, 2024.

Florida

In the State of Florida, SB 1084 and HB 1071 have been...

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The Food and Drug Administration is requesting $7.2 billion to "strengthen and modernize" the ability to promote nutritious food

Dive Brief:

  • The Food and Drug Administration requested $7.2 billion as part of President Biden’s fiscal 2025 proposed budget to “strengthen and modernize” the agency’s ability to promote a safe and nutritious food supply in the U.S. The request includes an increase of $495 million — 7.4% above the FY 2023 budget.
  • The FDA has come under fire recently as states have passed legislation preventing companies from using food additives like red dye 3 that the agency has approved as safe. Jim Jones, FDA’s first deputy commissioner for human foods, said last week on a...
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Bovine Veterinary Group Names Illness

Bovine Influenza A Virus Recommended as New Name for Recent Illness in Dairy Cows

"The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) is recommending a new name for the illness that has been making dairy cows sick in several states: Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV)."

"While the virus is the same, it has different symptoms in cattle and thus we want to be sure the name reflects this virus in cattle," Gingrich told DTN.

The virus isolated from the affected dairy cows has been identified as avian influenza virus Type A H5N1. While this virus causes high morbidity and mortality in birds, it does not have the same effect on cattle."

"While for now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, APHIS, and other organizations are still referring to the illness officially as HPAI, AABP said it will refer to the disease as BIAV in all its messaging.

AABP is encouraging other organizations, state animal health officials, diagnostic labs and state and federal agencies to use this name as well. The organization said this will make the...

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HPAI in Dairy Cows - Resources and News for Producers.png

LAST UPDATE: July 17, 2024 - 11:07 AM CST

AGPROfessionals is carefully monitoring information regarding the recent outbreak of HPAI in several dairies. Since this is a developing situation, we felt it would be helpful for producers to have easy access to information in one place.

Therefore, we have put together a list of articles and resources and will update this list as needed.

Information:

  • USDA to Begin Accepting Applications for Expanded Emergency Livestock Assistance Program to Help Dairy Producers Offset Milk Loss Due to H5N1- Link HERE

  • USDA’s $824M in Funding to Address H5N1- "On May 31, The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making $824 million available to its Animal and Plant Health...

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Processing Plants are fighting against a group behind a ballot that will ruin their businesses and livelihoods.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rick Stott grew up on a dairy farm in Montana, but when he looked ahead to the future, agriculture was not a part of it.

“I swore I'd never go into ag,” Stott recalls.

After pursuing a career as a CPA, however, Stott worked his way back to agriculture in a “roundabout way,” and after two decades with Agri Beef, he began working for Superior Farms in 2013, where he now serves as president and CEO. An employee-owned company with 475 people, Superior Farms processes approximately one-third of the lambs in USDA facilities each year, and owns facilities in Dixon, Calif., Blue Island, Ill., Boston, and Denver. It is the latter facility that has inspired Stott’s recent activity on the political scene.

The impetus was “Prohibition of Slaughterhouses,” a citizen-initiative Denver ordinance that would, come Jan. 1, 2026, ban “the construction, maintenance, or use of” any meat processing facilities in Denver. The ordinance, which acquired signatures last year and will appear on the November 2024 ballot, would effectively close Superior Farms’ Denver...

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'Product of USA' label rule will help ensure consumers to trust the process of their food from start to finish was done in America

Article first published on March 16, 2024

The rule, announced last week, stated chicken, beef, pork and other animal protein can only be sold under patriotic packaging if the product was wholly produced in America, from conception to meat counter.

The decision was lauded by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), whose president, Marc Perrone, lambasted the practice of repackaging meat that originated outside the U.S. as American, as ‘trickery’ and ‘cheating.’ “Now, consumers can shop with confidence, knowing that when they buy products with the USA label, their money will...

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Allows "Product of the USA" label to be put on meat, poultry, and egg products

Article first published on March 12, 2024

This week’s finalization of the voluntary “Product of the USA” label claim is prompting concern from the Canadian government even as U.S. trade groups expressed support for specific changes to the previous policy.

The finalized rule announced this week by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack allows the “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” label claim to be used on meat, poultry and egg products only when they come from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. The statute no longer allows the use of these types of labels on products from animals that were raised outside of the United States but slaughtered, repackaged, processed or reprocessed in U.S. facilities. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2026, USDA said.

Canada’s Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and International Trade Minister Mary Ng issued a...

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Animal Rights Activists are finding new ways to be influential on animal agriculture

Article first published on March 8, 2024

Any company involved in the production, processing, and retailing of dairy, meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood has at least one thing in common — the potential to be targeted by animal rights extremist organizations. These groups are opposed to people using animals for any purpose, including for food. Among the many tactics used to advance their goal of eliminating animal agriculture and taking animal products off of our plates, one is of primary concern to any consumer-facing food brand (and those that supply them) — pressure campaigns and pushing for “incremental changes” which they claim are in the name of animal welfare or sustainability.

Legislative efforts have been a mainstay of extremist campaigns, but in recent years animal rights extremists have discovered a quicker way to exert influence on animal agriculture that cuts out the patchwork of state-level regulations on animal care dictated by ballot initiative campaigns. By pressuring restaurant, retail, and foodservice brands to adopt certain policies, these...

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Colorado House Bill 1375

UPDATE: - April 3, 2024

On April 1st, the Colorado General Assembly website listed HB24 - 1375 as "postponed indefinitely",

Editorial About Colorado House Bill 1375 - Another Attack on the Western Slope

Article Excerpts:

"When urban Front Range liberals released wolves on Western Slope farmers and ranchers, they illustrated how 51% of voters can tyrannize the other 49%. In this case, a slim majority brazenly imposed liability on a large minority. Wolves kill livestock, outdoor pets and on rare occasions, children.

Because the wolves certainly will kill livestock and herding animals, the Legislature in 2023 passed Senate Bill 255. It established the half-million-dollar Wolf Depredation Compensation Fund to reimburse “people who suffer damages because of gray wolf depredation.”

"Today, legislators want to gum up the compensation fund with bureaucratic hurdles that will impose costs on farmers and ranchers. Under House Bill 1375, Western Slope residents would qualify for compensation only after...

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A Guide to Understanding Ranching in the West

A Guide to Understanding Ranching in The West

Learning about grazing and water rights on federally managed public lands is essential to understanding some key factors impacting livestock production and the purchase of ranch land in the West. This is particularly essential information if you are considering a property with grazing and water rights as additional assets.

In the early days of the American West, land was settled through various government acts. Along with settlement, the land's natural resources, like grass, water, and minerals, were claimed. Over time, those same rights were sold or passed down through the generations, and the rights remain in place to this day.

Split Estates

These claimed resources are not “public” even though the Federal Government administers them. Instead, they are considered a “split estate.” Split estates were proposed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Split estates occur when separate parties own the rights to the land above ground and minerals rights below the...

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Manure Digesters Add Value to Agriculture and Communities

Manure Digesters Add Value to Agriculture and Communities

Alternate revenue streams in agriculture are becoming increasingly important as farmers and ranchers struggle with rising costs due to inflation and other market conditions. Diversification has become a vital component of the long-term financial viability of many farms. The utilization of manure digesters is emerging as a viable way for farmers to generate additional income and help meet consumer demand for sustainable practices.

What Anaerobic Digesters Do

Farmers can utilize anaerobic digesters as a part of an integrated manure management approach. Methane is created when organic materials such as manure decompose in an oxygen-free environment, like a landfill or lagoon. Anaerobic digesters capture methane, and a renewable source of energy is created called biogas. In addition to creating biogas, anaerobic digestion produces a material called digestate, a nutrient-rich and stable biproduct.

Benefits of Anaerobic Digesters

According to...

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Construction, storm water, erosion, environmental control, construction permit, permitting, stormwater permit,

What Is Stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater runoff is produced by precipitation like snow or rain that falls onto an impervious or partially impervious surface like roofs, driveways, roads, or structures and is not absorbed into the soil. As the runoff flows, it picks up pollutants and sediment along the way that can be transferred into nearby waterways. Stormwater controls help to manage this by filtering and/or preventing pollution by controlling those sources.

Purpose For Construction Stormwater Management

Construction sites pose a higher risk of transporting pollutants into water. The disturbed ground is less stable, increasing the chances of erosion and/or runoff. The construction equipment and materials (i.e., stockpiles, oils/grease, etc.) found on construction sites may release pollutants onto the ground that can then be transported off-site in a potential discharge event.

Construction stormwater management practices help keep the property in compliance with the Clean Water Act and local, state, and federal stormwater...

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EPA - Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics

At AGPROfessionals, our mission is to advocate for our clients. As a part of this, we follow the regulatory landscape and participate when needed. Most recently, we stepped in on the EPA's request to comment on their Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics. All too often, agencies pass regulations without thought to the bigger picture and their ripple effect. In the case of food and organic waste, we asked for consideration to be made to existing roadblocks and the need to open up viable, practical pathways for anaerobic co-digestion and composting.

See our comment below, submitted on February 1st.

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Comments Regarding Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics

Docket Number: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0415

The dairy industry has a long history of seeking solutions to make our products environmentally friendly and sustainable. We applaud the focus on reducing food waste and methane emissions by the United States Department...

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Arizona and Florida Lawmakers Put Forward Bills Regulating Factory Laboratory Food

Arizona and Florida Lawmakers Put Forward Bills Regulating Factory Laboratory Food

Arizona and Florida lawmakers have put forth bills that aim toward the regulation and labeling of cultivated meat on store shelves. Cultivated “meat” is defined as a product that is produced when cells are taken from an animal and put in a bioreactor to replicate.

Making Headway

The proposed bills from both the states of Arizona and Florida are making headway just six months after the USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service notified the public that Upside Food and Good Meat were moving forward after the completion of the pre-market regulatory review process for cultivated meat. Both companies listed have been selling their products in restaurants; however, they have not had their product on grocery store shelves.

Arizona

In the State of Arizona, two bills have been put forward. House Bill 2244 was proposed with the intention of making it an illegal act to put the label “meat” on products that are not from livestock or...

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Anaerobic Co-Digesters a Renewable Solution for Both Farms and Food Waste

Anaerobic Co-DigestionA Renewable Solution for Farms and Food Waste

With the focus on reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), urban and rural communities across America are looking at their options for managing the waste that is producing methane in our nation’s landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their report, “From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste”, the greenhouse gas emissions from food waste and food loss in the United States are significant. The estimation is that decomposing food and plant matter is equal to the output of 42 coal-fired power plants. In the report, the EPA lists food waste as the “single most common material landfilled and incinerated in the United States, comprising 24 and 22 percent of landfilled and combusted municipal solid waste…”.

Anaerobic Co-Digestion for Small and Mid-Sized Dairies

Anaerobic co-digesters utilize food waste, other organic materials, and manure to prevent methane from escaping into the environment and putting it to work....

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Article Posts.jpg

On Wednesday, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) withdrew their proposal to create a new type of publicly traded corporation called a natural asset company (NAC).

Why does this matter? Under the formerly proposed rule, an NAC would be a corporation that holds the rights to the ecological performance of a specific area of land. These rights would be licensed, much like water rights, mineral rights, etc. An NAC would have to license the rights from a private landowner or sovereign nation (either the U.S. federal government, Tribal government, or foreign nation.) The proposal garnered significant criticism due to its potential to reduce or remove industries like grazing from public lands.

The NYSE's reversal followed several weeks of pushback from congressional Republicans, the livestock industry, Western energy and other multiple-use stakeholders, and private property rights advocacy groups. PLC joined NCBA on comments in opposition to the rule earlier this month. 25 Republican state attorneys argued in a letter to the SEC that the proposal did not...

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The National Western Stock Show is going on right now, and among the many things it does, it brings people together.

This is a great article about a visit a livestock judging team had with our friends and clients - the Gabel family and Magnum Feedyard LLC. Steve Gabel was one of our first clients more than 20 years ago, and his support helped AGPROfessionals get started.

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Article by Jennifer Shike for Farm Journal's PORK

Encourage the Next Generation to Chase Big Dreams

I instantly felt at ease when I walked into the office of Magnum Feedyard LLC and found myself surrounded by two of my passions: livestock and wrestling. In addition to being well known for their impressive cattle feedyard, the Gabel family is also well known for their love of wrestling.

We were traveling with our 4-H livestock judging team to Denver for the Western National Roundup and had just worked out on three great classes of feedlot cattle. The cattle were awesome, nobody busted a class, and the weather was chilly, but beautiful. As I stood...

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Is it mining in the State of Colorado

Is It Mining?

The Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety provides a questionnaire to determine if potential projects require a Reclamation Permit. While a simple questionnaire seems helpful, the Mined Land Reclamation (MLR) Board has created policies that do not align with the Colorado Revised Statutes. The “Is it Mining” questionnaire requires the user to answer such questions as whether the mine site operator will receive any compensation and what post-mining land uses will be made of extracted materials.

It requires that you identify yourself as a mine operator to determine whether you are a mine operator.

As directed by the MLR board, office staff members consider the extraction of any material that uses public roads or benefits another to be mining.

They have extended this policy to include cleaning and maintaining irrigation reservoirs and canals.

We believe that this interpretation is wrong.

When the Left Hand is Stopping the Right Hand

We are currently advocating for clients who received...

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Oregon Petition 3 Threatens Agriculture

Oregon Petition 3 Threatens Agriculture

Petition 3 (IP 3) is a ballot initiative currently collecting petition signatures in Oregon. Its language is similar to Colorado Initiative 16, but with much greater restrictions. If IP3 makes it on the ballot in Oregon, it will misrepresent and harm animal owners and set a precedent for other states. This will be harmful to pet owners and agriculturalists across America.

Misleading Summary

Like with most of the ballot initiatives by animal rights groups, the summary of IP 3 leads the people of Oregon to believe that they are supporting animal welfare by signing a petition in favor of this ballot initiative. This common tactic is used with ballot initiatives to mislead and sway voters.

Looking Past the Summary

A look beyond the surface of the petition shows that IP 3 is a way to implement an animal rights agenda and to remove animal protein products like beef, chicken, pork, and dairy, as well as fish and game meats, from the diet of the citizens of Oregon. IP3...

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Oregon County Uses New Law to Restrict Livestock Operations

Linn County, Oregon, Uses New Law to Restrict Livestock Operations

According to a June 2023 article in the Statesman’s Journal, “Oregon has passed a bill imposing restrictions on new or expanding large livestock and poultry farms in the state.” The bill the article refers to is Oregon Senate Bill 85, which comprises of a number of restrictions for confined feeding animal operations (CAFOs), including groundwater use, permit requirements for waste management, and property line setbacks.

On December 12, 2023, Linn County, Oregon, recently utilized Oregon Senate Bill 85 to severely restrict the number and locations of large CAFOs by changing their county code to include a setback of one mile for livestock buildings from the property line of neighboring property. This action was taken in response to a proposal to build an 11-barn poultry farm in a rural area of Linn County.

SB 85 was Legislation Presented by Special Interest Groups Calling for a Moratorium on New or Expanding Livestock Operations

Originally, SB 85 called...

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Winter Manure Management Tips

Winter Manure Management Tips

Article by Progressive Farmer reporting information provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Highlights:

Factors To Consider

Producers need to test their soil and manure nutrient concentrations to guide their decisions on where manure should be applied. If possible, avoid applying manure on fields with slopes, as this land presents a greater risk for erosion and runoff.

Try to apply manure on ground with at least 30% crop residue cover as this reduces the chances of manure runoff during heavy rains and snowmelt. Another consideration would be to apply manure on coarse-textured soils as fine-textured soils have more infiltration rates and reduce the risk for nutrient runoff losses.

In general, manure application should be avoided when fields are snow-covered. If manure must be applied then or when the soil is frozen, it is critical to recognize the runoff risk associated with solid versus liquid manures before making application decisions.

Different Manure, Different Rules

For...

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Wolves released in Colorado came from a pack that kills livestock in Oregon

Article excerpts:

"Two wolves released on Dec. 19, 2023, in Grand County, Colorado, 2302-OR, a juvenile female, black color, 68 pounds, and 2303-OR, a juvenile male, gray color, 76 pounds, come from the Five Points Pack. According to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Livestock Depredation Investigations, Five Points Pack wolves injured one calf and killed another in separate depredations in July of 2023; killed a cow on Dec. 5, 2022; and injured a 900-pound yearling heifer on July 17, 2022.

On July 21, OFW authorized the killing of up to four wolves from the Five Points Pack after two attacks on livestock within a week, which were the second and third depredations in the area within eight months. USDA employees killed two adult females, one adult male, and a yearling female from the problem pack by Aug. 4.

The other wolves released the same day, 2304-OR, a juvenile female, gray color, 76 pounds, and 2305-OR, a juvenile male, black color, 93 pounds, both come from the Noregaard Pack. According to OFW, the Noregaard Pack was involved in the confirmed killing...

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Farmers Freedom Act

Senators Pete Ricketts (R-NE) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) recently introduced the Farmer’s Freedom Act of 2023. The Farmer’s Freedom Act was written in response to governmental overreach in the latest Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule written by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA had rewritten the rules in response to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Sackett vs. EPA, which clarified the definition of navigable Waters of the United States. This stripped EPA control over unconnected wet areas, like livestock ponds and vernal pools (mud puddles) that can form in the low spots in pastures and fields after a rain.

The legislation is designed to offer regulatory certainty to farmers, ranchers, and landowners by safeguarding the definition of prior converted cropland (PCC). Wetlands converted to cropland before 1985, have historically been exempt from WOTUS regulation. The EPA’s new WOTUS rule alters this exemption, potentially categorizing PCC as wetlands if it becomes unsuitable for commodity production or is used for non-agricultural purposes....

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Chad teVelde, PE, Appointed to Weld County Farm Bureau Board of Directors

- PRESS RELEASE-

Greeley, Colorado

December 6, 2023

We are pleased to announce AGPROfessionals' Senior Principal Engineer, Chad teVelde, P.E. has been appointed to the Weld County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

Chad's connection to the dairy industry is deeply rooted, having grown up on his family's dairy in Chino, California. His hands-on experience extends to operating a dairy in partnership with his brother in Nebraska and beyond. Chad earned his degree in Agricultural Engineering from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. In 2002, he launched his engineering consulting career, specializing in dairy and building design.

Chad teVelde joined AGPROfessionals in 2011, assuming the role of Senior Professional Engineer. Within our organization, Chad is dedicated to serving our clients by offering a range of new and existing dairy development services, encompassing site selection, construction, irrigation structures,...

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Keeping Small-Town America Alive

We believe it is critical to keep small towns in rural America alive. Small towns are the foundation and backbone of America. They embody the values that this country was built on. Traditionally, agriculture has been a significant source of revenue for small towns. It provides jobs on farms and related industries such as food processing, transportation, services, and retail. The income generated by these jobs circulates in the local economy.

Unfortunately, small towns across America are facing a problem with limited job opportunities and increased poverty. According to a USDA report titled Rural Employment and Unemployment, from 2007 to 2010, small towns lost over 1.4 million jobs, with the 2009 recession being a significant contributing factor. From 2010 to 2019, employment slowly grew but never fully recovered to the employment rates in 2007. Factors for unemployment can vary; however, there is often not enough work in small towns, even if a person is consistently looking and applying for positions....

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COLORADO WATER QUALITY CONTROL DIVISION CHANGES

The Colorado Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) is currently in the process of making changes and updates to the state’s construction stormwater permit regulations.

These changes are primarily being made to provide additional clarification on existing regulations and to update definitions to be clearer.

New Permitting Process – Updating Stormwater Management Plans

Colorado is transitioning to new construction stormwater permit certifications and the Stormwater Management Plan requirements and meeting specific submittal deadlines to continue coverage.

Since there are new code changes, current Stormwater Management Plans may require additional information in order to be in compliance when the transition occurs.

Critical Dates for Stormwater Discharge Permit Holders

For current construction, stormwater discharge permit holders

o Current permits expire on March 31, 2024

o To continue coverage after March 31st, a renewal must be...

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Jared Polis Needs to Give Agriculture in Colorado Some Respect Byron Pelton Barbara Kirkmeyer.png

It's Time That Colorado's 2nd Leading Economic Driver, Agriculture, Gets Some Respect

July 11, 2023 Opinion Editorial by Senators Bryon Pelton and Barbara Kirkmeyer published in Our Town Colorado

"Every now and then we all like to take a trip down memory lane.

When you are a senator serving in the minority, those memories can be painful sometimes. But try being a senator from rural Colorado in the minority and recalling all the bad legislation, proclamations, executive orders or department appointments that have come across the books over the past few years — painful doesn’t even begin to describe it.

We represent the heart of rural Colorado — Weld, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma counties where agriculture is one of the top industries, and not just in our own counties, but also in our state and the nation. Weld County is the No. 1 beef producer in Colorado and among the top 5 in the United States.

And let’s not forget lamb, turkey, pig and chicken production as well as corn, wheat,...

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WOTUS - Waters of the United States Back in Court

Waters of the United States - WOTUS - is Back in Court

On November 11th, twenty-four states filed an Amended Complaint in federal court over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. This is happening on the heels of the Supreme Court decision Sackett vs. the EPA and subsequent rulemaking by the current administration.

Attorneys for the states and industry groups have voiced strong criticism against the new rule. The complaint asserts that the current administration’s latest revision of the Waters of the United States Rule utilizes an impractical definition conflicting with the Clean Water Act, the Constitution, and Supreme Court precedent.

The Amended Complaint states, “…the Amended Final Rule still violates the CWA, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251-1387, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, and the United States Constitution. It “exce[eds] [the Agencies’] statutory jurisdiction [and] authority” under the CWA by encompassing waters with no reasonable connection to “navigable waters.” 5...

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Maria Irianni Renno MS PhD Candidate Senior Enviornmental Engineer

AGPROfessionals Hires Maria Irianni Renno, M.S. PhD Candidate

- PRESS RELEASE-

November 7, 2023

On November 7, 2023, Maria Irianni Renno joined the group as Senior Environmental Engineer. Irianni Renno has over 10 years of experience working as a project manager and technical specialist in environmental remediation, working in the academic sector in collaboration with private and government clients, on-site investigations, remediation system design, and developing and implementing monitoring tools for site and technology assessments.

Maria specializes in biogeochemical cycle characterization and its application to different environments with the goal of optimizing natural and engineered processes to achieve efficient and cost-effective solutions. She has extensive field experience in the collection and preservation of biodegradable and redox-sensitive samples as well as in the installation of non-conventional monitoring sensor-based tools. Maria is well-versed in several remediation technologies and has...

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WELD COUNTY NOTICE – PROPOSED ZONING CHANGES:

Weld County, Colorado, is considering major changes to its subdivision processes, which include changes to Chapter 23 (Zoning), Chapter 24 (Subdivisions), and Chapter 27 (Planned Unit Developments).

The following changes are proposed:

  • ORD2023-17 (Repealing and Reenacting with Amendments Chapter 23 (Zoning) and Chapter 24 (Subdivisions)) . Ordinance 2023-17 was withdrawn from the November 7th Planning Commission Agenda for further changes to the draft Ordinance.
  • ORD2023-18 (Repealing and Reenacting with Amendments Chapter 27 (Planned Unit Developments)). If adopted, Ordinance 2023-18 will rewrite Chapter 27 and state that no new PUDs will be allowed.

Planning Commission Voted Unanimously to Recommend Denial

At the November 7th Planning Commission hearing, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend of denial of ORD2023-18 to the Board of County Commissioners, with the comment that the Planning Commission would like to see additional Board...

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Response to Study About Diabetes 2 and Red Meat

Diabetes is a Glucose Problem, and Red Meat Does Not Contain Glucose

Harvard University’s T.H. Chan’s School of Public Health, recently published a study titled, Red meat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in a prospective cohort study of United States females and males (2023). The study concluded: “Our study supports current dietary recommendations for limiting consumption of red meat intake and emphasizes the importance of different alternative sources of protein for T2D prevention.”

Diabetes is a disease where the human body is unable to manage glucose. Red meat does not contain glucose. However, carbohydrates such as buns, rolls, bread, french fries, and soda that are often consumed with red meat do contain glucose.

Epidemiological Studies Have a Bad Track Record

The methodology utilized in the study is called epidemiology. It has been defined as the study of the determinants, occurrence, and distribution of health and disease in a defined population. Overall, epidemiology, when rigorously tested in clinical...

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Solar Farms and Wildlife Success Stories Uncovered

Solar Farms and Wildlife – Success Stories Uncovered

Solar farms have been a target of contention for several years among critics concerned about their potentially harmful environmental and wildlife impacts. These concerns are often based on misinformation and the lack of broad public awareness of the successful work solar developers, environmental experts, and others have done to benefit wildlife, minimize water usage, and manage water runoff. Studies have shown that solar farms do a lot to improve and enhance the environment and wildlife.

Benefits to Wildlife

Wildlife can see a significant benefit from solar farms through scientific research, careful scaling, and effective modeling. An article by the Quintas Group stated that solar farms can help various endangered species thrive. The article also highlighted that the panels could reverse the decline in some species.

According to a study by researchers from the Universities of York and Lancaster (UK), the panels can serve as protection for small animals. One pro-solar...

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Agriculture and Energy Production Coexist

Article published on Chevron.com

"On Art Guttersen’s 35,000-acre Colorado ranch are cows, horses, chickens—and active oil and gas operations.

Wellheads, tankless facilities and drilling rigs are strategically placed throughout his property, against the backdrop of green fields and distant, snowcapped Rocky Mountains.

As his cows grazed nearby, Guttersen reflected on how energy development spared his multigenerational farm from being sold to developers.

“Chevron saved my ranch,” he said.

Why It Matters

Agriculture and energy production are essential industries.

Guttersen wants his ranch to serve as an example of how these sectors can work together to meet growing demands for both.

“Our ranch is better today with wells on it,” he said. “It’s no longer just a ranch. It has become a major producer for the economy.”

A Good Neighbor

"Those visiting Guttersen’s ranch must abide by a series of rules: no smoking, littering or exceeding the 21 mph speed limit.

Likewise, Chevron has its own...

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Our Mission is To Keep Agriculture Thriving

For nearly 25 years, AGPROfessionals has been a proud developer and advocate of all types of agricultural business in Colorado and throughout the United States. The fingerprints of our work have been on nearly every major agricultural project in Morgan County in the last quarter-century. We are unapologetic about our focus to keep agriculture thriving and growing.

However, with the challenges facing common agricultural practices, keeping agriculture thriving and growing is becoming more complex every year. Agriculture is under significant regulatory pressure to lower its carbon footprint and reduce environmental impacts without regard for the producer's costs. Satisfying those pressures and keeping our clients in business is complicated.

Every day, farmers and ranchers face rules and regulations that make it harder to produce. Some of the challenges producers face are as follows:

  • Row crop farmers are unable to aerial spray anymore due to urban encroachment and their options to protect their crops are continually decreasing.
  • Land prices and taxes...
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How Dairy Farmers Are Turning Manure Into Money

Digesters are being utilized in dairies to recycle manure into biogas and fertilizer.

They are also being used to reduce the impact of food waste.

We are proud to be working with Vanguard Renewables on many of these projects.

How Diary Farmers Are Turning Manure Into Money –

Article in Smithsonian Magazine

Article Excerpts:

“In the early 2000s, when the price of milk plummeted and dairy farms everywhere were trying to find a way to diversify, the Barstows began thinking about how to stay alive. They decided to take full advantage of an underutilized commodity the cows produced in abundance, and build something called an anaerobic digester—basically, a manure-fueled power plant.”

“In 2013, Vanguard started trucking more than 24,000 tons of food waste each year, from local companies, such as Cabot Creamery and HP Hood, to the Barstows’ farm. “Manure is really just food waste that’s been digested once,” says Patrick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council. “So when you take food...

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Solar for Agriculture

The Cost of Solar Panels Has Decreased – Creating Opportunities for Farmers

As solar panel manufacturing has ramped up around the world, prices have declined dramatically. The long-term price implications suggest that solar will be the cheapest form of energy in all markets, it is only a matter of time. In fact, it already is the cheapest electric power in many locations. This points to the opportunity that solar presents for farmers.

Only the Sun and Space Needed for Solar

Most basically, generating solar energy requires the sun, solar equipment, and the space to locate that equipment. Farmers own, control, or work more space (land) than any other profession. Whether the under-utilized space is rooftops, marginal farmland, or other unused land area, considering solar energy for those spaces can generate significant benefits for farmers and ranchers.

Reduced Energy Costs and Tax Credits

The first benefit of owning solar is reducing energy costs. Solar panel systems produce electricity for over 30...

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Morgan County: Solar Project Update

We have provided the documentation involved in the planning and permitting process of the Taelor Solar Project here on our website. Having it here, to easily open or download online, saves a trip to the Morgan County Planning Commission Office. We have included the entire application packet as well as the supplemental packet and have also broken out specific sections for ease of reading.

You will find that a lot of work has gone into the planning of this project with concern given to the wildlife, ecosystem, erosion and flood control, traffic, community, and economic impact.

Questions? Contact Taylor Henderson

Contact Information

Taylor Henderson – Project Developer

3300 E 1st Ave, Suite 675

Denver, CO 80206, USA

(970) 295-2234

TaelorSolarProject@BalancedRockPower.com

Links and Resources

Link to Taelor Solar Project Open House Event on Facebook HERE

Link to Taelor Solar Project website...

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Agriculture and Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Has Become a Key Component of Agriculture

Over the weekend, we were asked what energy has to do with agriculture, and the answer is – everything.

Agriculture relies on various forms of energy to power equipment, to heat and cool buildings from barns to greenhouses, to run fans in barns and silos, to light barns and pens, to run well pumps, to heat water, to run robotics, to electrify fences, to heat and refrigerate tanks, to manage manure, to plant, harvest, store, and ship crops and commodities and more.

Renewable Energy Offsets Farm and Ranch Expenses

In addition to the required energy to produce nutritious and affordable food, farmers and ranchers utilize energy to offset expenses. Corn is grown to produce renewable energy in the form of ethanol. Manure digesters produce natural gas at dairies. The US Department of Energy estimates that biomass energy has the potential to provide as much as $20 billion in new income for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Farmers and ranchers are also...

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Not in my backyard

Another "Not in my backyard" scenario was made even more egregious since the city annexed a long-operating farm, and Tennessee's Right to Farm laws are very clear.

Article by Chris Bennett for Farm Journal and...

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AGPROs Vice President Communications and Strategic Planning

Karen Gerfen Glueck is named Vice President, Communications and Strategic Planning

PRESS RELEASE

September 14, 2023

Agriculture development and advocacy firm AGPROfessionals, is positioning itself for future growth. On August 28, Karen Gerfen Glueck assumed the role of VicePresident of Communications and Strategic Planning.

Gerfen Glueck is a recognized advocate for agriculture and a communications, operations, and strategic planning expert. She guided the non-profit agriculture advocacy group Protect the Harvest’s growth to national prominence.Before joining Protect the Harvest, Karen spent 20 years working in a variety of roles, from operations and training to communications, marketing, and strategic planning to help grow the largest animal hospital company in the United States, VCA Antech , which Mars Animal Health now owns.

“AGPROfessionals has been highly successful going into our 25th year; however, the business environment is changing around us, and we must not only adapt, but lead in our work of advocating for our...

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NIMBY, Not in My Backyard

Colorado Laws Mandate Change in Energy Production

In 2021, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law a suite of bills related to greenhouse gas emissions and energy production. The bills address streamlining solar energy permitting, encouraging other types of heating and cooling, renewable energy workforce careers, and more. This new suite of laws to encourage alternative energy production is not a new concept for Colorado and its residents. In fact, Colorado was the first state to enact a renewable energy standard (RES) in 2004. The energy standard required utilities to transmit specific percentages of energy from renewable sources.

Some Colorado Landscapes Are Ideal for Solar Energy Production

An article in Forbes about solar energy stated, "...the state of Colorado is one of the best states for solar energy." Colorado's elevation, weather, and broad expanses of flat land make it an ideal area for solar energy generation. In addition to those features, portions of Colorado's landscape are unsuitable for crop production...

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Food Companies Targeted in Colorado

Colorado:

New Pollution Rules for Manufacturers Raise Questions and Eyebrows

Anyone reading the Denver Post article titled, “State weighs new pollution rules for manufacturers” has to wonder why certain businesses have become targets of environmentalists and the policy makers they sway, and others have not. This is all about the 2021 law titled the Environmental Justice Act (HB 21-1266) which mandates a requirement for greenhouse gas reduction from companies that are in disproportionately impacted communities. At this point it appears that the rulemaking process has already commenced and there will be a hearing starting Wednesday at 4:35, then on Thursday 21st, and Friday the 22nd.

Washington DC Environmental Group Is Meddling in Colorado

It is not surprising that a Washington DC group called Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has weighed in and the panel advising the Department of Public Health and Environment, called the Climate Equity Community Advisory Council, is vying for their recommendations to be...

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Snake River Waterkeeper, Simplot, Lawsuit

Founded in 2014, the Snake River Waterkeeper group has been busy in Idaho. The group’s website touts a variety of activities, from dam removal demonstrations, joining numerous lawsuits over the definition of “Waters of the United States,” to suing the EPA and filing a lawsuit to appeal Idaho’s newly promulgated General CAFO Permit Rule to the 9th Circuit.

Most Recent Target – Simplot

In May of this year, Snake River Waterkeeper filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Simplot Livestock, alleging that Simplot was discharging manure illegally. According to an article in Progressive Farmer, in response, Simplot Livestock filed a motion for dismissal on the grounds that the lawsuit could not provide any specifics for which they are making their claims.

On September 6th, the court ordered to stay discovery until it issues a decision on the pending motion to dismiss. The court took this action for various reasons, but most importantly, because proper notice to Simplot was not given. Snake River Waterkeeper could not and did not provide specific facts...

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colorado energy office

The Urban Dictionary defines a “shakedown” as:

“Another word for extortion/blackmail, or the obtaining of a good or service through means of force, threats/intimidation, or abuse of power."

Colorado’s Energy Performance for Buildings Statute

Colorado House Bill 21-1286, the Energy Performance for Buildings Statute, was established with the goal of helping building owners increase energy efficiency, lower energy costs, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

This sounds like a great idea until implementation commences, and government agencies enter the picture.

Agriculture is Supposed to Be Exempt

The Colorado Energy Office is mandated to address the “Energy Performance for Buildings” statute. It requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to comply with new energy standards by 2030. According to the law, agricultural buildings are exempt.

It clearly states:

“(II) "COVERED BUILDING" DOES NOT INCLUDE:

(B) A BUILDING IN WHICH MORE THAN HALF OF THE GROSS FLOOR AREA IS USED FOR...

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EATS Act, Animal Agriculture, Protect Producers

As the Farm Bill gets close to expiring, an important piece of legislation meant to protect animal agriculture producers, titled Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Act (EATS), has become a hot topic.

On August 21st, Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon submitted a letter to the House Committee on Agriculture opposing the EATS Act. This letter is reported to have gained 171 signatures. Of those signatures, four Colorado Congress members have signed, including some “agriculture” groups based in Washington D.C. that have no practical experience in actual agriculture production geared towards feeding hundreds of millions of people.

The EATS Act - A Response to Proposition 12 in California and Similar Legislation in Other States

The EATS Act was initially sponsored by U.S. Senator Roger Marshall and cosponsored by Senators Charles Grassley, Cindy Hyde-Smith, John Cornyn, and Joni Ernst. The EATS Act aimed to combat anti-animal agriculture legislation penned by animal rights groups. The EATS Act would...

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EPA regulations, Idaho, Government, Policy,

On July 18, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) submitted new proposed modifications to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. At this time, Region 10 of the EPA has tentatively determined to make the proposed modifications.

The comment period to respond and give feedback was open until September 1, 2023.

Now, we wait for the findings and the final rule.

Here’s What You Need to Know

The EPA’s proposed modifications involve the establishment of monitoring conditions for the following discharges involving “waters of the United States”:

  • Subsurface discharges of pollutants from production areas
  • Dry weather surface and subsurface discharges from land application areas

Details

Listed below are highlights of the new regulations. The following actions must be taken if runoff or discharge from land application area impacts “Waters of the United States”:

Monitoring the following discharges, which will be sampled and...

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Spring Cleaning on the Dairy

Spring is here, which means it is time for dairy operators to start thinking about their “spring cleaning” practices. Between managing spring rains and runoff, planting, and the beginning of land application, spring can feel overwhelming and like there is too much to be done in too little time. This busy season can sometimes disrupt basic cleanup processes that are necessary to pass annual state or county inspections. AGPROfessionals has three tips that can jump-start your “spring cleaning” and ensure that your facility is operating smoothly, cleanly, and can help to relieve some of the stress that can accompany state or county inspections.

Inspect Regularly

Diligently inspecting the manure management systems prior to starting land application could help prevent equipment malfunctions, unwanted runoff, and excess ponding water. These include manure hauling equipment, pumps, ponds, settling basins, etc. Taking the time to inspect and calibrate equipment can help to be intentional with land...

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If you are looking for subdividing or land planning services, there is only one name to trust — AGPROfessionals. We have been in the nationwide agriculture real estate development business for over 20 years and our team has all of the experience necessary to get your project done correctly. Here are just four reasons why you should let us handle your subdividing or land planning services!

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Car∙bon se∙ques∙tra∙tion / noun / a natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.

It is estimated that 80% of the world’s carbon is found in the soil and it has potential to store more[1]. Hence, why the new federal administration is looking toward agriculture to help. Carbon is initially transferred to the soil through photosynthesis of plants. Carbon that is not used by the plant is transferred to the soil through the root system. Carbon then feeds the soil organisms and becomes stable. It gives the soil structure, as it is the main component of organic matter, which also increases water retention capacity. Some carbon is maintained in the topsoil and can be released back into the atmosphere, while other carbon is more stable and can stay in the soil for thousands of years....

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Finding agricultural properties in Greeley, Colorado

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Solar Energy - What if you could harvest the sun?

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