CLA Annual Meeting & Colorado’s Finest Celebration

012A0003Colorado Livestock Association invites you to attend the 2017 CLA Annual Meeting and Colorado’s Finest Celebration to be held at the Embassy Suites, Loveland, CO on April 5-6, 2017. CLA’s Annual Meeting is one of the largest gatherings of livestock producers and trade show vendors in Colorado. The event kicks off on Wednesday evening at the Welcome Reception, followed by Colorado’s Finest Celebration, to showcase Colorado’s livestock industry. Spend the evening tasting the best of Colorado agriculture!

Thursday morning the CLA Annual Membership Meeting will be held to elect leadership and conduct Association business. The featured panel, “The First 77 Days of the Trump Administration,” will shed light on how President Trump’s policies will affect agriculture. Panelists include; Jackie Klippenstein, VP of Industry and Legislative Affairs, Dairy Farmers of America, Colin Woodall, VP of Government Affairs, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Michael Formica, National Pork Producers Council. This dynamic panel will be moderated by Thad Lively, Senior VP for Trade Access, with the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

The Past Presidents of CLA and the Colorado Cattle Feeder’s Association will be celebrated for their leadership at Thursday’s luncheon. Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown will be presented CLA’s highest honor, the Top Choice Award, for his commendable work on behalf of the industry.

Following lunch, JoAnn Winks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will share her experience as the Assistant Port Director for Trade at the Denver International Airport where her team works to protect America’s agriculture industry and the nation’s food supply from global threats and unknowing smugglers of animal disease.

The afternoon also will feature J.J. Jones, Center for Food Integrity, who will share key insights from their recently released transparency research that each member of the CLA can apply in their individual operations and through the Association.

The pre-registration deadline is March 30th. Attendees will receive a discounted hotel rate of $134.00 if they book before March 22nd. Further information on the schedule, registration and hotel rooms can be found online at

Our Survival Depends on Trust; We Must Earn It

Vance Crowe, Monsanto
vance-crowe headshot
While in the United States Peace Corps a stranger came to my small village in Kenya and stood on a box to gather my fellow villagers around him.  He delivered a powerful and convincing story so that he could sell vials of water that he claimed would protect the people from the malaria that was ravaging the community.
For years that experience haunted me.  I longed for the chance to go back to that moment and knock the man off the box he stood on, or at least step between him and the people with my hands raised in warning.  To ease the pain of failing to help that vulnerable community, I imagined myself begging them not to listen to this man who was only there to sew a story laden in false hope to sell on their deepest fears: the health of their families.  The science was clear; if they had only trusted my lessons and not his story, they could have real protection from malaria.
Wishing I could go back did nothing; it blinded me to a reality that took me years to realize.  My small village in East Africa was not the only place that men and women stood on boxes, told captivating stories and took advantage of people’s fears.  In fact, as I began to loose the blinders of regret, I began to see that there are men and women who will stand on boxes, use stories and sell fear any place where there are vulnerable people.  People are vulnerable when they don’t know who to trust because they are the furthest away from answers.  In our modern age, people in cities are the furthest from where their food is grown which makes them vulnerable to stories about things like the safety and sustainability of our food.
There is no way to knock these story tellers off their boxes, and in fact trying to only gives them what they need, more attention and a better story.  Also, there is no way to plead with the people to ignore the story tellers, because the people are looking for something that begging won’t give them; they are looking for something to believe in, someone to trust.
The only way to defeat the man on the box is to build trust with the people that are vulnerable to his message.
People do not want to be fooled, but they also don’t have the time or the access to be able to understand all of the aspects of the world around them.  When they look around and they see things about the world that they don’t understand, they will look to those they trust to ask “what should I know about this?”  We all want help to form our opinions and we accept that help from those we trust.
Trust is built with those whose stories about their lives, their work, and their communities reflect the values and desires of their audiences.  We love a comedian whose jokes hit close (but not too close) to home, we love stories of heroes who are fighting for values we hold, we bond with advice columnists who empathetically respond to strangers’ problems that we can relate to.
But your time is valuable. You have livestock to raise and likely don’t have time to stand on street corners to tell stories about your farm, family and values.  That is why social media is so important—it allows you to tell your story without leaving the farm.  The other day a man named Brian Scott posted a video of his kindergarten aged son learning to flip off the auto steer and turn their planter around for another pass.   That video went viral, being seen by over 6 million people.
It went viral because it connected with so many parents, the feeling of teaching your child how to do the things that daddy does.  The video isn’t controversial or complicated, it isn’t talking about genetics or herbicides, or even trying to make a statement.  It just connected with people, and tens of thousands of them decided to “like” The Farmer’s Life Facebook page.  This means that they now have a direct connection to a farmer, someone they can trust when they are confronted with a question about agriculture they don’t understand.
Farmers and ranchers see things every day that would delight a tired mom or dad who fights traffic, sits in a cubicle, and is so far away from tending plants and nurturing animals.  Things that are so small to you, will capture their fascination and build trust as they begin to “know” you by seeing your story on social media.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated: all you have to do is start, knowing that  every person who sees your family, your ranch, your work is one less person who is vulnerable to men and women that stand on boxes trying to sell an alternative to what we grow and raise. You never know how far a video of a calf jumping for joy, a harvester threshing wheat, or a quick lesson on what you feed your hogs, could go.  Whatever you share, know that each person that views it will have better resistance to the man on the box.
Vance Crowe is the Director of Millennial Engagement at Monsanto in Saint Louis, Missouri. Vance is a former Communications Strategist for the World Bank Group, a returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer stationed in Kenya, a former communications coordinator at a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate in Northern California and was a deckhand on an eco-tourism ship that traveled in the Western Hemisphere. Vance holds an undergraduate degree in communications from Marquette University and a Master’s Degree in Cross-Cultural Negotiations from the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy.

Join us at the 9th Annual Marshall Frasier Beef Symposium!

mfbs-cla-weekly-bannerCattleFax: Navigating the Cattle Cycle, Protecting America’s Agriculture at DIA, Managing Your Cattle & Your People

The Colorado Livestock Association is hosting its annual livestock producer educational symposium in Hugo, CO on February 21, 2017. The Marshall Frasier Beef Symposium will feature a full day of informative speakers covering a multitude of important topics of interest to livestock producers in Colorado. In 2008, the meeting was renamed the Marshall Frasier Beef Symposium in honor of the late Eastern, Colorado rancher, Marshall Frasier, who was a strong proponent of education and a dedicated supporter of the industry. Marshall Frasier was and still is the only person who has served as President of both the state livestock organizations; Colorado Livestock Association and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.

The 9th Annual Marshall Frasier Beef Symposium will kick-off at 9:00am with Colorado State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr, who will inform livestock producers of animal health issues the state is monitoring. The Colorado State University Beef Extension Specialist, Dr. Ryan Rhoades, will present ways in which producers can build profitable and environmentally sound beef production systems. Troy Applehans a Market Specialist with CattleFax will discuss retained ownership and its benefits and limitations for producers and feeders.

Following lunch, JoAnn Winks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will share her experiences as the Assistant Port Director for Trade at the Denver International Airport where her team works to protect America’s agriculture industry and the nation’s food supply. Feedlot veterinarian and leadership trainer, Dr. Nels Lindberg, owner of the Animal Medical Center and a partner in Production Animal Consultation will discuss challenges producers face working with cattle and managing people. Safety expert, BJ Schellenberg, Common Sense Safety, will discuss ways in which agriculture producers can avoid injuries by battling complacency in the workplace.

View the full schedule here.

Lunch is free to attendees and will be provided by the Colorado State University Meats Judging Team. Registration is complimentary, but please register by Friday, February 17, 2017. Register online or call the CLA office at (970) 378-0500.

The Global Impact of Colorado Agriculture

Ajay Menon, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University

When looking at the grand global challenges facing agriculture, the need to ensure that our food supply is safe, affordable, and sustainable comes to the forefront almost immediately. In the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University, we have research programs that focus on the continued viability and profitability of Colorado’s diverse agricultural industry, of which livestock and the Colorado Livestock Association figure prominently. We know that agriculture is a significant economic driver in our state, contributing $41 billion to the Colorado economy and employing nearly 173,000 people, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
You don’t need me to tell you that the livestock industry is big business in Colorado, a state that is the third-largest producer of sheep and lambs in the U.S. and has 2.7 million head of cattle. The CDA also notes that approximately 60% of the state’s $7.1 billion in agricultural cash receipts are attributed to livestock. It is only natural that as the state’s land grant university, it is our obligation to provide cutting-edge research, community engagement, and workforce development to support Colorado agriculture.
Dollars and cents are not the only drivers of agriculture here in Colorado or elsewhere. Ensuring the viability of this industry depends on providing food that is both safe and plentiful. Other statistics emphasize the national and global scale of food sustainability and food security concerns. The USDA reports that 48.1 million people lived in food insecure households in 2014, with Colorado ranking near the U.S. average for food insecurity. Globally, the United Nations estimated that 795 million people were chronically undernourished between 2012-2014. Demand for meat proteins will exceed 213 million metric tons by 2020 in developing countries, a number that is more than double what it was just 20 years ago. These are challenges that we must face head-on. And as I look at the great minds and enterprising students across our college, I am reassured that we are doing so every day.
Our meat science faculty members are at the leading edge of innovation in anti-microbial work, work that will help prevent food borne illnesses, ensuring the health of millions of Americans as well as aiding the U.S. economy which loses an estimated $7 million for every E. coli 0157 infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Not surprisingly, protecting our food supply is also a national security concern, and we have researchers focused on identifying and preventing bioterrorism across a number of agricultural sectors. We are also utilizing the latest precision technology in our research, employing big data, digital mapping, and drone technology so that the producers we serve can be proactive, not reactive, as they plan for upcoming growing seasons and livestock feeding. Of course, workforce development is essential as we prepare our students to take part in 21st century agriculture and to help educate consumers and policy makers as to where their food comes from. We have a state-of-the-art CoBank Center for Agricultural Education, and we encourage our students to look for industry internships and development programs to enhance the education they receive at CSU.
But we cannot go it alone – we need to hear from industry as to what kinds of research will help advance animal production and will serve consumers, producers and policy-makers. The industry is acutely aware of consumer interests and regulatory pressures that continue to change and develop in ways that impact food production techniques, food labeling initiatives, and public relations campaigns. I would argue that it is essential for the state’s land grant university to be responsive to the needs of industry by providing strong, reliable science as well as making available practitioners who understand how to communicate the pivotal role of agriculture in our society.
Contributing writer, Jason Kosovski, Director of Communications, CSU College of Agricultural Sciences.

Winners Meet High Bar for Workplace Safety and Risk Management

Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s leading workers’ compensation insurer, is honoring 55 policyholders with its Circle of Safety Award for their exemplary performance in safety, loss control, and financial and claims management.

“This year’s Circle of Safety winners are setting the standard in protecting their employees on the job, no matter what kind of hazards they face,” said Phil Kalin, Pinnacol’s president and CEO. “They’re an example of how to do it right, which keeps their employees safe and their businesses strong.”

For nine years, Pinnacol’s Circle of Safety Award has recognized that exceptional risk management is the result of a circle of many people working together. From top management and frontline employees to Pinnacol representatives and the policyholders’ agents, everyone plays a role in making Colorado workplaces safer. These Circle of Safety winners embrace risk management and get their employees home safe every day.

Pinnacol policyholders were eligible to receive the Circle of Safety Award if they met the following criteria: •

  • Pinnacol policyholder for more than four consecutive years
  • Must have an Experience Modification Rating (e-mod) – This number indicates how an employer’s claims costs compare to other employers in the same industry.
  • E-mod must be .85 or less in the current policy period
  • Combined four-year loss ratio of less than or equal to 25 percent – The ratio of claims paid by Pinnacol to the premium paid by the employer.
  • 80 percent or more of all claims reported within 48 hours (combined four-year history)
  • Two or fewer notices of cancellation each year – When employers pay their bill late or not at all, they and their employees can be at risk.
  • No non-compliant audits – When employers do not complete their audit correctly or at all, they are at risk of paying too much or too little for their workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Must currently hold the State of Colorado’s Cost Containment Certification
  • No fatalities
  • Pinnacol-approved return-to-work program – These programs help get employees back to work as safely and quickly as possible.

Circle of Safety 2016 Award Winners

ACA Products, Buena Vista
Accent Electrical Services, Broomfield
Adcon Signs, Fort Collins
Alert Traffic Control, Inc., Bayfield
Alpha Center*, Fort Collins
GO Alpine, Steamboat Springs
Bamford Farms, Haxtun
Basalt & Rural Fire Protection District, Carbondale
Bolton Construction, LLC, Meeker
Coblaco Services, Inc., Henderson
Colling Insurance Services, Inc.*, Lakewood
Colorado Crude Carriers, Inc., Greeley
Colorado Livestock Association*, Greeley
Curbside Recycling Indefinitely, Inc., Grand Junction
Dam Brewing Company, Dillon
DEN-Col Steel, Inc.*, Denver
Desktop Consulting Inc.*, Glenwood Springs
Diversified Commercial Insurers*, Aurora
Double M Concrete LLC, Woodland Park
Energy Resource Center, Colorado Springs
Forestry Specialists Inc., Durango
Foss Industries, Inc., Colorado Springs
Fox Construction, Inc., Steamboat Springs
Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District, Frederick
Front Range Lumber Company, Lakewood
HLCC Construction Company, Steamboat Springs
Home Care of the Grand Valley, Grand Junction
HRL Compliance Solutions, Inc., Grand Junction
Intermountain Rural Electric Association, Sedalia
jetCenters of Colorado, Englewood
LEI Companies, Inc., Denver
Lakewood Electric Company Inc., Littleton
Log Hill Mesa Fire Protection District*, Montrose
McClary Farms, Inc.*, Sedgwick
Mech One, Inc.*, Colorado Springs
MK Hydrovac, Inc., Parachute
Northern Water, Berthoud
Party Time Rental, Englewood
Peak Petroleum Testing Services, Inc.*, Denver
Pikes Peak Steel, LLC, Colorado Springs
Piper Communication Services, Inc.*, Arvada
PNCI Construction, Inc., Grand Junction
Premier Fire Protection, Inc.*, Loveland
Quality Concepts Manufacturing, Inc., Colorado Springs
Regional Home Visitation Program*, Yuma
Rich & Cartmill Insurance of Colorado, LLC*, Greeley
Rocky Mountain CFC Equipment Service, Inc.*, Denver
Save Our Youth*, Denver
Scudder Press, Inc.*, Thornton
Columbine Label Company, Inc.
The Landscape Workshop, Inc.*, Carbondale
TLC Pipeline Construction, Parachute
Ultimate Heating & Cooling, Inc., Commerce City
Y-W Electric Association, Inc.*, Akron
Woodworks Millshop, Colorado Springs

* Multiple Year Winners

Fugitive Nitrogen

Dr. Jay Ham, PhD, Colorado State University

JaySamplingPerhaps nowhere is ammonia from livestock under greater scrutiny than along the Front Range of Colorado. Increased levels of atmospheric nitrogen deposition are having a negative impact on the ecology of Rocky Mountain National Park, a crown jewel of the National Park System. While studies suggest many different sources are contributing to nitrogen deposition in the park (e.g., urban, out of state sources), much attention has been directed to the beef feedlots and dairies that populate the plains just east of the mountains.
Once ammonia enters the atmosphere it can convert to an aerosol and travel long distances from the source. Most of this fugitive nitrogen is eventually deposited back to the ground when scavenged from the air by precipitation. Unfortunately, this unintentional nitrogen transport and fertilization is having a negative ecological impact on pristine ecosystems around the globe. Thus, it is not surprising that livestock ammonia is an area of growing public concern and regulatory debate.
Over the last 10 years Colorado Livestock Association has been actively involved with the issue of nitrogen deposition and recently engaged Dr. Jay Ham, a micrometeorology and environmental physics expert as the lead principle investigator for a pilot project known as the Early Warning System. In 2013, Colorado’s livestock and crop producers and researchers at Colorado State University, with funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the National Park Service, began developing a weather based “warning system” to inform crop and livestock producers of impending weather events that have a high likelihood of moving nitrogen emissions from eastern Colorado into RMNP. The goal of the Early Warning System is to study the effectiveness of the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) and their effect on reduction of nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park. The warning system gives producers the opportunity to voluntarily apply certain conservation management practices to reduce ammonia during strategic times when they will be most beneficial.

About Dr. Jay Ham
Jay Ham grew up near Garden City, Kansas where his family was actively engaged in agriculture, including management of beef feedlots and irrigated corn production.  Prior to joining CSU, he was a professor at Kansas State University from 1991 to 2008 and worked closely with the Kansas Livestock Association on a range of environmental issues facing the industry.
Dr. Ham joined the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University in 2008 with an appointment that includes research, teaching, and extension responsibilities. Prior to joining the faculty at CSU, he led a program in Micrometeorology and Environmental Physics for 18 years at Kansas State University. Dr. Ham’s research includes: (1) evaluation of air and water quality issues at animal feeding operations; (2) instrumentation development for environmental, soil, and crop research; (3) micrometeorological studies of water, carbon, and contaminant transport between the surface and atmosphere; and (4) air quality impacts of oil and gas development. His teaching responsibilities include courses in micrometeorology and research proposal development.
Dr. Ham acts as lead investigator for several federally-funded research projects ($1.75 million) that focus on ammonia emissions from feedlots and dairies. This work includes the develop of management practices to reduce emissions from livestock operations and track atmospheric transport of ammonia along the Front Range – including nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park. Jay and his team were recently awarded a new grant as part of the National Robotics Initiative (NSF and USDA) to develop air quality robotics for use at feedlots and dairies. Other research interests include the air quality impacts of hydraulic fracturing used in oil and gas exploration. 

2nd Annual CLA Northeast Livestock Symposium

CattleFax Market Outlook, Antibiotic Use, & Drones vs. Privacy


The Colorado Livestock Association (CLA) is hosting its annual producer educational symposium in Sterling, CO on November 15, 2016. The Northeast Livestock Symposium will feature a full day of informative speakers covering a multitude of important topics affecting the livestock industry.

The symposium will kick-off promptly at 8:30am with a market outlook from Randy Blach, Chief Executive Officer of CattleFax, an organization focused on helping cattle producers make more profitable marketing and management decisions. CattleFax is the cattle and beef industry leader on timely market information, analyses and research.

Dr. Larry Hollis, a beef cattle health management consultant, will discuss management tools to help producers reduce the use of antibiotics. Bill Hammerich, CEO of CLA, will provide a synopsis of the ballot questions Colorado voters will decide on November 8th and how those will affect rural Coloradoans. The Commissioner of the State Board of Stock Inspection, Chris Whitney, will give an update on Electronic Brand Certificates, the Certified Feedlot Program and brand assessments.

The afternoon will feature a presentation by Jeffrey Cullers, a lawyer who focuses on land and property law, regarding drone use and private property rights. Dr. Jared Walahoski, a beef cattle veterinarian from Lexington, Nebraska will present the latest advances in bovine diagnostics. The afternoon will finish with an important presentation on rural first aid for emergencies by Ivan Steinke with Extraction Oil and Gas.

Check out the full schedule and register online here: Registration is FREE, but please register for lunch by Friday, November 11, 2016. Register online at  or call the CLA office at (970) 378-0500.

Partners in Safety

Pinnacol Assurance partners with CLA to provide big savings while protecting workers through safety group program.

Joe Newhouse, Pinnacol Assurance

“Never leave money on the table.” We’ve all heard this good advice, yet most of us fail to follow it at one time or another.
My hope is that you’ll consider joining nearly 100 other feedlot, dairy, swine, sheep, and cow and calf producers that participate in the Colorado Livestock Association (CLA) safety group program through Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s premier workers’ compensation insurer. By participating in the group, you’ll leave no money on the table.
Since 2001, when the CLA safety group formed, participating members have pocketed $1.5 million in dividends. More than this, they’ve enjoyed an upfront 4 percent discount on their workers’ compensation premiums.
The question is, why would you not participate in the group? Your business has workers’ compensation insurance, so you’ve already taken the first big step. The next step is to call the CLA office or one of the endorsed agencies, Flood and Peterson or HUB International. To meet Pinnacol’s safety group requirements, your business simply needs to have two full policy periods of continuous workers’ compensation experience, meet Pinnacol’s underwriting eligibility guidelines, maintain a formal safety and return-to-work program, and use Pinnacol’s broad network of SelectNet physicians and facilities.
Safety Group Protects Employers’ Most Valuable Asset — Employees
Looking into these requirements is an investment of time that pays dividends. Literally. But the payoff is far more than financial. By participating in the CLA safety group, members reduce their worksite risks; improve the safety and health of employees, their most valuable asset; and even boost productivity.
Another benefit is the helping hand from Pinnacol. Policyholders in the group benefit from the help of a dedicated service team of Pinnacol underwriters, claims representatives, safety services consultants, medical case managers and return-to-work consultants.  This dedicated service team has invested time to learn about the livestock industry — and continues to strengthen its knowledge of the challenges this industry is faced with.  Alongside the CLA and the endorsed brokers, the safety group program provides tailored risk management training, materials and other assistance that helps participants in the CLA safety group optimize safe working conditions.
As industry safety groups go, the CLA’s happens to be one of the strongest. The minimum premium requirement for the CLA safety group is a half-million dollars in total written premium; the CLA safety group is currently at $1.3 million. The minimum number of policyholders is 20; the CLA has 90. The minimum required loss ratio is 55 percent; the CLA safety group’s ratio was twice as good last year, and it’s even better so far in 2016. In short, your industry’s safety group is in the strongest position it’s been in years.
As for Pinnacol, no other insurance company can match our workers’ compensation expertise. We’ve been protecting Colorado companies and their employees since 1915, and over the years we’ve grown from industry pioneer to Colorado’s choice for workers’ compensation. Today, approximately 56,000 customers across Colorado have made Pinnacol their carrier of choice. We look forward to another century of providing compassionate care for injured workers. And we look forward to supporting the continued success of Colorado’s community of livestock companies.

Joseph Newhouse serves as an agency relationship manager at Pinnacol Assurance. He manages relationships, communications, education and training, and performance metrics for assigned insurance agents and industry safety groups. Newhouse meets regularly with agents and safety groups to understand their evolving needs; interpret regulations, rules and contracts; and ensure that Pinnacol provides timely training and the highest level of coordinated, responsive customer service. A seasoned insurance professional, Newhouse previously served in management roles at the agency of Flood and Peterson and The Hanover Insurance Group.

CLA Position on Amendments 69 and 71


The Colorado Livestock Association Board of Directors has taken a position on the following proposed initiatives:

Colorado Livestock Association Opposes:

Amendment 69 – Statewide Healthcare System Proposed Initiative #20

Shall state taxes be increased $25 billion annually in the first full fiscal year, and by such amounts that are raised thereafter, by an amendment to the Colorado constitution establishing a health care payment system to fund health care for all individuals whose primary residence is in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, creating a governmental entity called ColoradoCare to administer the health care payment system; providing for the governance of ColoradoCare by an interim appointed board of trustees until an elected board of trustees takes responsibility; exempting ColoradoCare from the taxpayer’s bill of rights; assessing an initial tax on the total payroll from employers, payroll income from employees, and nonpayroll income at varying rates; increasing these tax rates when ColoradoCare begins making health care payments for beneficiaries; capping the total amount of income subject to taxation; authorizing the board to increase the taxes in specified circumstances upon approval of the members of ColoradoCare; requiring ColoradoCare to contract with health care providers to pay for specific health care benefits; transferring administration of the medicaid and children’s basic health programs and all other state and federal health care funds for Colorado to ColoradoCare; transferring responsibility to ColoradoCare for medical care that would otherwise be paid for by workers’ compensation insurance; requiring ColoradoCare to apply for a waiver from the affordable care act to establish a Colorado health care payment system; and suspending the operations of the Colorado health benefit exchange and transferring its resources to ColoradoCare?


Colorado Livestock Association Supports:

Amendment 71 – Requirements for Initiated Constitutional Amendments Proposed Initiative #96

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution making it more difficult to amend the Colorado constitution by requiring that any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district for the amendment to be placed on the ballot and increasing the percentage of votes needed to pass any proposed constitutional amendment from a majority to at least fifty-five percent of the votes cast, unless the proposed constitutional amendment only repeals, in whole or in part, any provision of the constitution?

Partnerships to Protect Fragile Mountain Ecosystems

If you are a cow, Colorado is an ideal place to be. Colorado’s climate is sunny and dry, and these characteristics have helped make the state fourth in the nation for numbers of cattle in feedlots. Weld County, just east of the Colorado Front Range mountains, is the fifth most livestock-rich county in the United States—beef and dairy, swine, sheep, chickens—and produces as much waste as 24.5 million people. With nearly 500,000 head of cattle, Weld County has twice as many cattle as people. Notable gases from the front and back ends of these animals include methane (a potent greenhouse gas), ammonia (fertilizer), hydrogen sulfide (rotten-egg smell), and other volatile organic compounds that produce more bad smells and are precursors of ozone. Emissions of gases from agriculture are unregulated by federal or state environmental protection agencies.

Ammonia: navigating the balance

Here we’ll focus on ammonia, one of many forms of reactive nitrogen (Nr). Nr is a required nutrient for all living things. When present in abundance, however, Nr also pollutes. Human society now produces more Nr than all natural sources combined. Some Nr rises into the atmosphere where it can be transported long distances and deposited far from its source.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo: National Park Service.

This brings us to Weld County and its neighbors. These counties are unusual in many ways. Rich in agricultural resources, they are also close to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), a crown jewel with towering peaks and an abundance of alpine meadows and lakes. RMNP is beloved by Coloradans. Last year it was the third most visited park in the United States. RMNP ecosystems evolved in a nitrogen-poor environment, but are now fertilized by nitrogen deposition, at least half of which comes from agriculture. Dairymen, cattlemen, and growers of Weld and neighboring counties are Coloradans who also love RMNP. They want to protect the park from pollution as well as avoid regulation, and are working actively to reduce their impact.

To address concerns related to agriculture’s contribution to nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park, growers and livestock managers volunteered to form the Agriculture Subcommittee in 2006. The diverse group has built a community around shared goals and trust. Having developed a comprehensive list of best management practices (BMPs) for reducing ammonia emissions, agricultural producers and managers discuss, and even test, new state of the art BMPs. They also commissioned an Early Warning System that is now in use by many agriculturalists in the region to manage their activities. Simply, the Early Warning System forecasts when winds will blow from the east into the mountains carrying agricultural emissions. Via text message or email, the forecasting system alerts ranchers, dairymen, and growers so that they can change their practices to temporarily curb emissions for 1-3 days.

Changes to agriculture

To reduce pollution from Nr, there are short-term and long-term changes that agricultural producers can implement. Short-term changes include waiting to bulldoze manure stacks or spread effluent on fields during major weather events to minimize what is lost to the atmosphere. A popular long-term change reduces milk urea nitrogen (MUN) levels in dairy cows by matching the proteins in cow diets with those needed for milk or muscle production. One local dairyman has significantly increased milk nitrogen efficiency rates and profit margins by adopting this type of precision diet.

Due to the lack of site-specific emissions information, it is impossible to evaluate the direct impact of the warning system on Nr deposition in RMNP. And to be sure, short-term actions do not reduce overall ammonia emissions; they merely postpone them until winds blow the other direction. However, 39 of the largest agricultural operations in Colorado volunteered to curb emissions, along with many smaller farms, demonstrating remarkable support. Regardless of whether or not the management changes impact nitrogen deposition, the awareness of operators impacting natural ecosystems tens to hundreds of miles away has undoubtedly increased.

Looking forward

Natural resources in RMNP are protected by the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Wilderness Acts. If voluntary measures to reduce Nr deposition are not effective, regulatory action may be implemented. But our region of Colorado is not alone. Nr emissions are a major cause of air pollution all over the world and at some point must be addressed, whether through improving emission reduction technologies, changing animal husbandry practices to minimize industrial feedlots, or replacing animal proteins with vegetable proteins in human diets. We are still working together to come up with solutions, but our corner of the world is beginning to move in the right direction.

Aaron Piña and Jill Baron, , UCS

Partnerships to Protect Fragile Mountain Ecosystems

Aaron Piña completed his M.S. in Atmospheric Science (2013) and is finishing his Ph.D. in Ecology at Colorado State University. While his research focuses on mountain meteorology, air pollution transport from agricultural operations, and nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park, Aaron hopes to work at the interface of science, technology, and policy.

Jill Baron is a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and a Senior Research Ecologist with the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University. Her interests include applying ecosystem concepts to management of human-dominated regions, and understanding the biogeochemical and ecological effects of climate change and atmospheric nitrogen deposition to mountain ecosystems.

A Citizen’s Duty and Privilege

Steve Holdren, Capitol Strategies, LLC

IMG_5907-Edit-EditEvery four years people say, “ This could be the most important election of our time,” and honestly, this might be the year they’re right! The 2016 election is extremely important for our country and our state.
The balance of power lies in waiting on it’s results, our nation will elect a new President, the majority in the U.S. Senate could change parties, influencing important decisions, including appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, rights granted to the citizens by the constitution, environmental and regulatory change and the list goes on.
The balance of power in the Colorado Legislature may change too, although Colorado has traditionally been a checks and balances state, the majority margin in the senate is so narrow, the final vote count will ultimately decide, resulting in what could be Democratically controlled Legislative and Executive branches of state government.
The ballot again will be overrun by proposed amendments to the state’s constitution and statutes, although Colorado voters have an opportunity to create change in the initiative process, making it harder, yet more fair and equitable, to get amendments on future ballots.
CLA will continue to be a progressive voice for the livestock industry at the Colorado Legislature, working in coalition with other like-minded interests to preserve the industry in Colorado.  Issues pertaining to animal welfare, water, property rights, business and insurance will remain at the top of the list of priorities.
We will continue to educate Legislators on the importance of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s, Environmental Ag Program to our industry, as it comes up for extension in 2017.
This could be the most important election of our time, so vote! It has been said that “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” Educate yourself on the issues and get to know the candidates running for office and be sure to get honest and truthful information!
Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can’t believe everything you read on Facebook.”
There’s a lot of truth in that… 
Steve Holdren has been lobbying on behalf of Colorado Livestock Association members for the past 17 years. Steve has been the President of Capitol Strategies since 1987, a respected governmental relations and lobbying firm that provides contract lobbying and governmental relations services to a variety of clients at the state and federal levels. Steve is a Colorado native and was raised north of Weldona on a cow/calf ranch. He attended Northeastern Junior College and Colorado State University where he graduated with a bachelor of science in Agriculture and Animal Science.

Where Will You Be 11.8.2016?

Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Colin-WoodallNovember 8th is Election Day here in the United States, and by now I’m sure you are sick of the constant political ads.  You will hear many people say that this is the most important election we’ve ever seen.  I argue that each election is important, but our American electorate easily forgets the past and tends to focus only on the present.  Regardless, you need to plan on being in a voting booth on November 8th.  If, for some reason, you know that you will be busy that day, most jurisdictions have absentee or early voting.  Make sure your vote is cast because much is at stake.
Topping the list is the race for the White House.  With the change in President comes all new Cabinet officials and heads of agencies.  This means that NCBA will have the opportunity to build new relationships with officials at USDA, EPA, FDA, BLM, and many more.  It also means, however, that we have to start from scratch talking about how these Federal departments and agencies impact our industry.  That is always complicated by the excitement of a new Administration as they get to work and typically only want to focus on their priorities.  The election of either candidate will probably bring us Federal officials who don’t know much about the production of beef in the United States.
For NCBA, managing the White House is best done by working with Congress.  As you look at the current seats in the House of Representatives and the re-districting that has been done over the past decade, it looks like the Republicans will maintain control of the House.  On the Senate side, however, control is up for grabs.  Senators that are up for election this year are ones which were elected during President Obama’s first mid-term election in 2010 when the anti-Obama wave brought more Republicans to the Senate.  Many of those Republican Senators were elected from states which had historically sent Democrats to the Senate.  This year’s test will be whether those Republicans can convince their constituents to send them back.  The Republicans have had a rough run as the majority in the Senate because they do not have 60 Republican Senators in their camp.  The way the Senate is structured, you really need 60 votes to get anything done.
No matter the outcome on Election Day, NCBA makes it a practice to work with both Democrats and Republicans based on what they do for our industry, rather than their party affiliation.  Any group that puts all of their focus on one party will rarely be successful.  We are fortunate to have friends in Congress on both sides of the aisle who are willing to help us push back against over-burdensome Federal rules and regulations.  As we get closer to November 8th, I urge you to look at the candidates’ positions on the issues and help send Senators and Representatives to Washington to help us with our fights.
Bottom line – exercise your right to vote!

Focusing on the Future

Mike Veeman, President-Elect, Veeman & Sons Dairy

The Colorado Livestock Association has a rich and deep history that needs to continue to be shared with future generations of agriculture producers. It is critical to the future of the industry to continue the generational transfer of stories about where we came from and how we got here so that our children and our children’s children can develop an understanding of the work that CLA has done on behalf of livestock producers. As an Association we have worn many hats over the years and have fought many battles. Without this diverse coalition of livestock producers our industry would not be where it is today and would not have the bright future that I believe we have.


The livestock industry and the world is changing more rapidly than ever before. The overwhelming amount of challenges our industry faces on a daily basis can change in a blink of an eye and new issues are always on the horizon. As an Association we have been evolving to better handle these issues and it is imperative that we remain flexible to adapt to our changing environment. During my term in leadership I hope to focus on the area of issues management with an emphasis on building new relationships.
As a dairy producer I am focused on my cows, my employees and the business, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Like all of my peers in the livestock industry, I do not have the time or resources to dedicate to representing my own interests in the regulatory and legislative arenas. The work CLA does on behalf of livestock agriculture is vital to my farm and to preserving it for future generations.

Vail VeemanAs a fifth generation dairyman, Mike Veeman brings the knowledge and experience of a lifetime of animal husbandry to Colorado Livestock Association as the new President-Elect. Mike began his career in California on his family’s dairy farm, which relocated to Colorado in the early 1980’s.  Alongside his father Andy and his brother Derek, he has worked to expand the family’s partnership ever since. Veeman & Sons Dairy is located in Wiggins, Colorado. The family also maintains a ranch outside of Sterling, Colorado, which is home to both farming and heifer operations.

Beyond his title of “dairyman”, Mike is also a passionate family man. He shares his life with Cindy, his wife of 35 years. They have three children including two married daughters and a son who has returned to the farm to carry the family’s business into the sixth generation. Mike is also a proud Papa to four grandchildren. He will serve as President-Elect until the Annual Membership Meeting in April 2018 where he will move into the role as President.

A Focus on Quality

Beef and dairy industries unify voice through quality assurance collaboration.

Libby Bigler, Colorado Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator

There is no doubt that cattle are a uniquely productive species; one that can produce an astounding 27,000 pounds of milk annually, as well as turn otherwise unproductive ground into high quality protein products. It’s these unique abilities that created an alignment between the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program and the National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.
As part of this collaboration, in January of 2016, the National BQA Advisory committee approved an expansion to the current Dairy BQA program, integrating FARM’s upcoming 3.0 version into its Dairy BQA certification guidelines. Beginning January 2017, any dairy producer that is evaluated using FARM 3.0 will also receive a BQA certification.
Emily Meredith, Chief of Staff and former Vice President of Animal Care for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), said that because dairy cows eventually become beef, it is crucial for the beef and dairy industries to find ways to work together.
“There are many synergies between BQA and the FARM program,” Meredith said in recent edition of the online publication Beef Issues Quarterly. “Our collaboration has centered on identifying our similarities and working to maximize those… to ensure the highest quality beef supply possible.”
Merging Animal Care Programs
Co BQAThe National Dairy FARM program goes through an update process every three years. Although the program’s focus remains distinctly on animal care principles that are key to dairy production, the revision committee, which consists of NMPF’s Board of Directors along with a public comment period, recognized the importance of the dairy industry to the beef supply.
“Dairy animals have a dual purpose,” said Chase DeCoite, Associate Director of BQA. “After spending their lives producing milk, dairy animals work their way into the beef supply chain, and consequently, dairy producers participate in the beef checkoff. The checkoff-funded BQA program has long felt it was important to offer dairy producers the same resources and information as it does to beef producers.”
Through collaboration with National BQA, steps were then taken to include additional resources and references in the dairy beef section of the new edition of the FARM 3.0 program’s Animal Care Manual. Changes will include guidelines surrounding fitness for transport, treatment of special needs cattle and proper administration of injectable health products. A stockmanship training component will also be required. It’s these particular updates that made the case for the National BQA Advisory Committee to approve FARM 3.0 as an equivalent to BQA certification.
Collaboration to Target Crossover Issues
The collaboration between NMPF’s FARM program and the National BQA program is a step in the right direction for animal agriculture. Both the dairy and beef industries have been challenged to address similar consumer concerns. With this new unification, both industries will be better equipped to answer the tough questions.
“The beef industry faces many of the same pressures as dairy,” DeCoite said. “Specifically, we see a lot of questions from consumers and retail partners about antibiotic use and animal welfare….BQA and FARM are answering these questions and concerns.”
In January 2017, consumers will be able to hear a more cohesive voice from both the dairy and beef sides of the cattle business through this new collaboration. For dairy producers, the process to earn a BQA certification is simple. Farms that are evaluated under FARM 3.0 will automatically qualify as BQA Certified operations. Once a FARM evaluation is completed, the evaluation status will be reported to Colorado BQA, who will process the dairy’s BQA certificate and send it to the farm to keep on file. No additional steps are required.The new process will be a convenient way to assure the quality of the beef produced on U.S. dairy farms, while concurrently assuring animal health and wellbeing.
“BQA has long been committed to providing producers with the tools, resources and materials to improve their operations,” DeCoite said.  “We see this partnership as the next step in that commitment… to provide high-quality, wholesome, delicious milk – and meat!”

Colorado Monitoring Framework – Agricultural Task Force


On the Horizon

President Nolan Stone shares his thoughts about the future of the livestock industry and of the Association.

IMG_1186-Edit-EditNolan Stone, President of the Colorado Livestock Association, is a fifth generation Colorado cattlemen who was raised near Karval, 17 miles southeast of Punkin Center. For the past 17 years, Nolan has worked for JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC and is the General Manager of the Kuner Feedyard near Kersey. When he isn’t working, family time for Nolan and his wife, Jodi, means watching their two kids Shae and Dylan play softball and baseball, watching Shae show steers and spending time managing their family’s cattle business; a diversified spring and fall calving cow herd and stocker operation on leased ranches throughout Colorado.
What is your favorite part of the cattle business?
My favorite part of the cattle business is the people.  For the most part, the industry is made up of people with a high degree of integrity and pride.  Folks are passionate about this industry, and at our foundation, we are all stockmen, which allows us to interact daily with a group that have this common thread.
Given the career choices you may have had what made you decide to go down the path that you did?
I have always had a love for cattle and have been enthralled with the cattle business.  When I graduated from CSU, I knew I wanted to be in the cattle business, and specifically the production side of things.  The cattle feeding business offered me the opportunity to be outside and around cattle, and at the same time develop my cattle business knowledge.  I have been fortunate to work for a good company that invests in my professional development, and continues to challenge me and encourage professional growth.
If you had 15 minutes to spend with a consumer what would you tell them about their food and the people who produce it?
First, I would assure them about the safety of their food, and how the producers who grow their food are people with deep roots in agriculture and care about the future of their operations.  The protein producers in this country are determined to produce food that is safe and plentiful, and the United States government provides oversight that ensures that the proper steps have been taken to provide the consumer with safe healthy food.  Next, I would spend some time discussing the importance of meat in the diet, and the health benefits of eating a balanced diet.  The last thing, but possibly the most important,  I would want them to know is how much producers care about their animals, and the efforts that are put into the feeding and care of the animals we are entrusted with.
What, in your opinion, is the greatest benefit of membership in the Colorado Livestock Association (CLA)?
As society evolves, it is becoming more important to have a unified voice representing our message to the public and in the government arenas.  CLA does a great job of opening doors and allowing its members to deliver their message wherever it might matter the most.  As a group of diversified protein producers, we might not always agree on the detail of every message, but we all understand that a message coming from our broad membership packs a harder punch than each of us individually.  I hope to continue to grow membership and seek more opinions and ideas from the producers of Colorado.
In what areas would you like to see the Association improve and what is your vision for the future of CLA?
I think CLA can continue to improve by growing membership and increasing involvement.  This is challenging due to the busy schedules that people pack with them nowadays, so I think we need to get more creative with how we seek input and schedule meetings.  The new regional meetings are a great start, and it’s my goal to continue the evolvement of these meetings.  My vision for CLA is to continue to be the unified voice of the livestock industry in the state, and work hard to serve our membership in the regulatory and legislative spaces.  We will continue to manage the relationships that are already in place and cultivate new ones that might help us in the future.
Based on your vision, what do we need to do differently to be more impactful as an Association?
Again, I know I sound like a broken record, but we need more involvement from the membership.  We are a membership organization, and I want to make sure we are utilizing our membership to the greatest extent.  When issues arise, we need to be agile, and prepared to react.  Our membership is our toolbox, and we need to be prepared to use the right tool for the right job.  Our membership is diverse, talented, and smart, and I want to be sure that we are leveraging this for our own benefit.
If you were king for a day, what would change about the livestock industry in Colorado?
I’m going to take creative liberty while answering this as it doesn’t pertain necessarily to just the livestock industry.  I think the most important change that needs to happen in Colorado is to change the ballot initiative process.  We need to allow our elected officials to perform the jobs they were elected to do.  The way these initiatives are written, it is very dangerous to place them in front of the public for vote.  Most people don’t have time to become familiar with all of the initiatives that are on the ballot each election, and probably may not realize the impact that an initiative might have.  At the CLA Board of Directors meeting in April 2016 the board voted to support Initiative #96.
What is the single most important issue facing the livestock industry that keeps you awake at night?
Consumer confidence and education is something that I think about a lot.  People will believe what they want to believe regardless of the facts.  How we, as 2% of the global population, impact this is very important.  Accomplishing this is complex, and I’m not sure how to go about it, but I think there is great risk if we do not put forth a tremendous amount of effort to tell our side of the story.
At the end of your term as President of CLA, when you look back at the previous two years what do you hope to be our greatest accomplishments?
I hope that we have represented the industry to the best of our abilities, and that the membership is proud of how we have conducted ourselves and of the decisions that we made.
History has a way of repeating itself. If you had the opportunity to help guide future generations of livestock producers by learning from your own mistakes what would you tell them?
I’m not sure we have time to list all of my mistakes that others could learn from, but there are a couple that are highest on the list.  The first would be to learn more about business management.  I think as livestock people we immerse ourselves into the science and production of livestock and overlook basic business management.  Even though our operations are a way of life to us, we need to continue to hone our business acumen in order to survive. The other thing I would want the next generation of stockmen to learn sooner rather than later is leadership.  Leadership is a skill that needs to be studied constantly.  The earlier in life that you can begin developing these skills, the easier it is to become a good leader and teach others to be leaders. 
Nolan will serve as President of Colorado Livestock Association for two years. He will complete his term at the 2018 CLA Annual Meeting in Loveland and will become the Immediate Past President.

A Farmer at Heart

Air scientist, Dr. William “Brock” Faulkner, was a tireless advocate for livestock producers in Colorado & across the nation.

Bill Hammerich, Colorado Livestock Association

RS48444_ag-6 (1)It was June, 2006, and I was driving home from the Omni in Broomfield, following the conclusion of a Colorado Livestock Association (CLA) Annual Convention, and thinking about how CLA could become more engaged in addressing the issue of ammonia deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park (Park). We had met with folks at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and it was their belief based on modeling at the time, that agriculture, both crop and livestock were major contributors to the “problem” in the Park. After the initial meeting with CDPHE and a handful of stakeholder meetings it became apparent that the agricultural community was going to need some help in understanding the scientific aspects of ammonia and other nitrogen compounds. There was never a question that agriculture was a contributor, the question was and still is; how much does agriculture contribute and more specifically how much does agriculture in Colorado contribute?

As I was contemplating our dilemma my cell phone rang and Tom McDonald was on the line. Tom is in charge of all things environmental at JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding and had been involved in the process of trying to identify someone who could help us address the scientific nature of ammonia, nitrogen, crops and cattle and how they all interact in a very complex equation.
At this point in our conversation Tom and I, and others, had contacted a number of individuals that were considered to be experts in the field of air quality and had attempted to enlist their assistance, but for a variety of reasons we had no success.

The reason for Tom’s call was to let me know that one of his contacts at Texas A & M had shared the name of a PhD candidate who would receive his degree in December. It wasn’t that we were desperate, but we were needing someone who could help us understand what we were facing. Following several minutes of discussion, we both agreed that it was worth the effort to contact this young man and see if he might be a fit. As we both weighed the pros and cons of engaging someone who had limited experience with our issue Tom made the statement, “Geez, I hate to have to break in a kid on an issue of such importance!”

Little did we know at the time this was the best decision that we could have made. Dr. Brock Faulkner became the face of our effort with regard to reducing nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park. He not only understood the science, but more important he was able to communicate that science in a way that everyone could understand. Whether he was talking to someone with a degree in atmospheric science, a feedlot or dairy operator, someone with the Park Service or CDPHE, he could explain the intricacies in such a way that everyone ended up on the same page.
Today, the problem with increased ammonia deposition in RNMP has not been solved, but there are indications that maybe we are on the right path. In some years there has been reductions in deposition and we have discovered that there are other sources of ammonia including those that come to the Park from outside of Colorado.

“Brock was a good and honest man and scientist, and as such he was not looking to take a side or position, but rather to seek to understand the science.  His background as a rancher and scientist made him a perfect fit to help the membership of the Colorado Livestock Association understand how the pieces of the complicated nitrogen puzzle fit together and how production ag plays a role in that puzzle. As a scientist he was extremely knowledgeable and quickly earned the respect and trust of other scientists as well as the Parks Service and the regulatory community involved with Rocky Mountain National Park.  Brock was not involved with CLA or the Rocky Mountain National Park issue to earn a name for himself.  His goal was to understand the science and help make sure that it was used to make sound and wise decisions.  His guidance and support will be greatly missed by all those that have known and worked with him.” -Justin Miller, JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC

“Brock was our advocate for things regulatory and scientific. A translator of sorts. This issue of nitrogen emissions is perhaps our biggest environmental issue and we need help with it. Brock could break it down for us and help us understand what our part is. But as important as that is for us, he was able to act in a similar capacity for the scientific and regulatory community and translate our positions and reality for and to them. He had such a great mix of skills and was equally at home on the ranch or in the classroom. He easily earned everyone’s respect and friendship, and so deserved it.” – Jon Slutsky, La Luna Dairy

As of February 17, 2016 we no longer have Dr. Faulkner to help guide us. For on this day, he was released to the presence of Jesus after fighting a two-year battle with leukemia. He will be missed. Most by his family and friends, but also by those of us who were fortunate to have known him for his keen intellect, infectious smile and the strength to fight on in the face of such a terrible disease.
God Bless you Brock Faulkner, may you Rest in Peace!

Picture3Colorado Livestock Association honored the late William Brock Faulkner, PhD, with its most prestigious honor, the Top Choice Award, at the 2016 CLA Annual Meeting April 13-14, 2016. Dr. Faulkner was a passionate and tireless advocate for the livestock industry in Colorado and across the country. Over the last 9 years, Brock worked closely with livestock producers in Colorado on air quality issues related to Rocky Mountain National Park. His career in teaching culminated in serving as Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University and he advised the Secretary of Agriculture on the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. In addition to the Top Choice Award, Brock has received numerous awards including the 2012 Texas A&M College of Agriculture Award for Outstanding Achievement in Early Career Research, and the 2014 Gale Holloway ASABE Professional Development Award. His greatest professional joy, though, was working with students. He leaves an uncommon legacy of young men and women who were deeply impacted by his teaching and mentorship.


Previous Top Choice Award Recipients

F.M. “Pete” Peterson

Paul Andre

Tim Weigand

Cecil Hellbusch

George Spencer

Bart Nyberg

Chuck Muller

Frank Kemp

H.L. “Jay” Rowe

Joe Tennessen

Dr. Rue Jensen

Ben Houston

Tom Ferrell

C.W. “Bill” McMillan

Kenneth Monfort

Evan Slack

Champ Gross

W.D. Farr

Forrest Bassford

Fred Anderson

A.R. “Bud” Middaugh

Neil Skau

Lynn Heinze

Leroy Dalton

Willard Simms

Dr. J. Matsushima

John Holtorf, Sr.

Carl Carlson

Carl “Bev” Bledsoe

Dr. Duane Flack

Chuck Sylvester

Roger Berglund

Hank Brown

Dr. Gary Smith

Dr. Daryl Tatum

Ray Powers

Dr. Daryl Tatum

Don Ament

Tom Camerlo

Dr. Jim Heird

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell

Marshall Frasier

William “Bill” Wailes, Jr.

Terry Stokes

John Stulp

Dr. Temple Grandin

Phyllis Woodford

Dr. Tony Frank

Dr. William “Brock” Faulkner



Rooted with a Passion

Drew Carlson, Colorado State University Student and CLA Intern

IMG_6038-Edit-EditAs my Senior year at Colorado State University and the reality of real world living quickly approaches, I can’t help but look back and count the blessings in my life thus far. I was born and raised on a small farm and ranch south of Sterling, Colorado, and have been particularly dedicated to my agricultural way-of-life. Through my experiences and the commendable lifestyle of being involved in agriculture, I have found a simple love for the livestock industry. Being  part of the agriculture industry has taught me first and foremost the value of hard work. The friendships I have built, the connections I have made, and the opportunities I have been given to network with other producers in this industry have blessed me abundantly and I have successfully constructed a hobby into a passion.
Due to the vast advancements in technology, there is always something new to learn in the agricultural world, whether it be marketing, management, or even the productivity and efficiency to meet the demands of the world’s growing population. This presents an exciting challenge for me to pursue the future of agriculture in this state in hopes of educating others locally and nationally. I am interested in communicating the critical importance of a strong agricultural economy to our citizens. With this, I find it of worth to inform and encourage students who have never had an agricultural opportunity to discover the significance of agriculture in our local, national, and global economy.
It goes without saying that every situation in life presents a lesson to be learned. Through my experiences over the past few years I have learned things that I will appreciate for the rest of my life. One of the most meaningful lessons that I have taken away is that it is acceptable to change your plan. I often find myself thinking I have my life figured out and more times than not, I am quickly reminded that is not the case. Growing up, I was fortunate to have participated in a number of activities, including sports and 4-H. I eventually had to begin to prioritize certain aspects of my life. It was at this point that I chose to heavily pursue the agricultural industry through 4-H and FFA. I was extremely involved during my first two years at Northeastern Junior College.  It was there that I gained many valuable lessons and a place full of memories and influential people that I hold dear to my heart. As I transferred to CSU, I chose to take a different path from the family legacy of livestock judging. I, instead, participated on the Seedstock Merchandising Team. With this, I learned that it was acceptable to make my own way. Similarly, situations that have challenged me the most have helped me realize where my true passions lie. Through my experiences on the Seedstock Team, I was given the opportunity to work with many different people coming from different agricultural backgrounds. This gave me the opportunity to not only share, but to also gain more knowledge to better myself as a future agriculturalist.
In my pursuit of an agricultural degree, the future is exciting and the opportunities are endless. Agriculture is a diverse field, and it’s up to the future leaders of the industry to embrace the diversity, overcome the challenges, and accept the change that represents the new face of agriculture. I am privileged and honored to be a part of such a great industry, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me.
Drew grew up on her family farm and ranch in Atwood, Colorado. Over the course of ten years she participated in 4-H where she exhibited cattle, hogs, and goats at the local and sate level. Through 4-H, she found a simple love for the agriculture industry, and a passion for showing livestock. Drew will graduate from CSU, with a degree in Animal Science and Agriculture Business in the Spring of 2017. She has participated in the CSU Seedstock Merchandising Team, Block and Bridle, Collegiate Stockgrower’s, and the Meat Science Club. Drew interned at CLA during the spring and summer of 2016.

A Few Words from CLA President Nolan Stone

Nolan Stone, President

Nolan Stone, President

At the 2016 Colorado Livestock Association Annual Meeting in April, CLA members elected Nolan Stone to fill the role as President.  Nolan, is a fifth generation Colorado cattlemen who was raised near Karval, 17 miles southeast of Punkin Center. For the past 17 years, Nolan has worked for JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC and is the General Manager of the Kuner Feedyard near Kersey.

“As society evolves, it is becoming more important to have a unified voice representing our message to the public and in the government arenas. CLA does a great job of opening doors and allowing its members to deliver their message wherever it might matter the most,” President Stone stated. “As a group of diversified protein producers, we might not always agree on the detail of every message, but we all understand that a message coming from our broad membership packs a harder punch than each of us can individually. I hope to continue to grow membership and seek more opinions and ideas from the producers of Colorado.”

When he isn’t working, family time for Nolan and his wife, Jodi, means watching their two kids Shae and Dylan play softball and baseball, watching Shae show steers and spending time managing their family’s cattle business; a diversified spring and fall calving cow herd and stocker operation on leased ranches throughout Colorado. Nolan will serve as President of Colorado Livestock Association for two years. Nolan will complete his term at the 2018 CLA Annual Meeting in Loveland and will become the Immediate Past President.

New Website Provides Producers with Livestock Transport Requirements

Have you heard about

InterstateLivestock_2016The NIAA and USAHA have partnered together to create a website,,  which provides current rules and regulations for anyone shipping cattle across state lines.

The one-stop resource for finding requirements to move animals across state lines!  The site is in its first phase featuring cattle movement regulations for all 50 states, and designed to provide quick results.

Best of all, it’s free! Anyone involved in cattle movements can easily prepare to meet the necessary requirements. No more reading through regulations or waiting until normal business hours to call the state – the information is available 24/7 at your fingertips.

Some common applications include-

  • Veterinarians
  • Livestock Markets
  • Seed stock sales
  • Cattle buyers
  • Exhibitions and Fairs
  • Private treaty

The mobile and desktop friendly site provides you with a simple Q&A process to narrow down your requirements for your specific situation. The site also provides an interactive, map based tagging site finder to help get your stock properly identified when entering commerce.

The site is developed as a partnership of the United States Animal Health Association and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, through which the information gap was identified. This solution was developed through a collaborative effort of states, USDA, members of both organizations and Trace First.   Please check it out ->

Colorado Livestock Association Cattleman Attends Elite Cattle Industry Conference

Representing the Colorado Livestock Association, Trent Horton participated in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2016 Young Cattlemen’s Conference (NCBA’s YCC). Over 50 cattle producers from across the country and across the industry attended the conference. Trent was selected by his fellow producers to participate in the 2016 class.

Horton - COTrent Horton is a graduate of the University of Wyoming, where he obtained a degree in Business Administration. He grew up in and around the Wellington, Colorado area where he worked for the family feedlot business from grade school throughout high school. Outside of the family business while in College he held jobs such as landscaping and framing homes.

Since graduating from the University of Wyoming he has had the opportunity to do all of the tasks involved within the feedlot business. He has earned his way to now being an owner, partner and General Manager of Horton Feedlots and Diamond Feeders.

Trent and his wife, Kristin, have two children; Blake, age 18; and Bryn, age 16. Trent has enjoyed being a volunteer coach in various sports including baseball and softball. Helping kids, not just his own, excel athletically, mentoring them, and watching them grow has been very rewarding for him.

NCBA’s YCC program is an opportunity for these young leaders to gain an understanding of all aspects of the beef industry from pasture to plate, and showcase the industry’s involvement in policy making, issues management, research, education and marketing.

Beginning at the NCBA headquarters in Denver, CO., the group got an inside look at many of the issues affecting the beef industry and the work being done on both the state and national level to address these issues on behalf of the NCBA membership. While in Denver, participants were given an organizational overview of NCBA and the Beef Checkoff Program and CattleFax provided a comprehensive overview of the current cattle market and emerging trends. At Safeway, the participants received a first-hand account of the retail perspective of the beef business and then toured the JBS Five Rivers Kuner feedyard, one of the largest in the nation, and the JBS Greeley packing and processing plant.

From Denver, the group traveled to Chicago where they visited McDonald’s Campus and OSI, one of the nation’s premiere beef patty producers. After the brief stop in Chicago, the group concluded their trip in Washington D.C., for an in-depth issues briefing on current policy issues including international trade and increasing environmental regulations. Following the issues update, the participants were given the opportunity to visit one-on-one with members of their state’s congressional delegation, expressing their viewpoints regarding the beef industry and their cattle operations. John Deere then hosted a reception in the evening at their office.

The following morning, the group then traveled to Aldie, Va., for a tour and barbeque at Whitestone Farms, one of the nation’s elite purebred Angus operations.

With the beef industry changing rapidly, identifying and educating leaders has never been so important. As a grassroots trade association representing the beef industry the NCBA is proud to play a role in that process and its future success. Over 1,000 cattlemen and women have graduated from the YCC program since its inception in 1980. Many of these alumni have gone to serve in state and national committees, councils and boards. YCC is the cornerstone of leadership training in the cattle industry.

YCC Group


JBS USA to Host Market Cow Seminar for Dairy Producers

ColumnPhotoDairyColorado dairy producers are invited to join the Colorado Livestock Association’s Dairy Council, Colorado Beef Quality Assurance, Colorado State University Department of Animal Sciences and Western Dairy Association on July 19 to gain first-hand knowledge about market cow carcass value and quality from the largest market cow packer in the U.S., JBS USA. The program will provide an opportunity for learning and discussion about improving the value of market cows entering the beef supply chain.

The day-long workshop, hosted by JBS USA at its headquarters in Greeley, Colo., will provide practical insight on increasing the value potential for market dairy cows. Beef is an important by-product of the dairy industry with market dairy cows supplying roughly 10 percent of U.S. beef and dairy producers relying on the sale of market cows for up to 15 percent of their annual income. It’s increasingly important for dairy producers to consider all of the efficiencies that their cows have to offer including their value to the beef industry.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. on July 19, workshop participants will have an opportunity to tour JBS’s beef plant. The unique program agenda will then focus on the ever-increasing importance of dairy beef in Colorado’s beef industry and across the country. Topics of discussion will include how market dairy carcasses are used, JBS’ approach to procurement and pricing of market dairy cows, milk processing and dairy beef growth in Colorado, updates to quality assurance programs and more.

Dairy producers throughout the region are encouraged to attend this exclusive event. Lunch and dinner will be provided. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Libby Bigler at 970-491-2333; or visit the Colorado Beef Quality Assurance website at RSVPs are needed no later than July 1, 2016.

Register Today!

CLA Gives Honorary Membership to Dr. John Matsushima

Colorado Livestock Association gave Dr. John “Johnny” Matsushima, PhD an Honorary Membership. Dr. Matsushima has been a member of the Colorado Livestock Association and Colorado Cattle Feeders Association for 61 years. During his career, Dr. Matsushima has contributed greatly to improving the livestock feeding industry in Colorado and internationally as the pioneer of the corn steam flaking process for use in cattle rations.

Colorado State University Animal Sciences Professor John Matsushima visits the JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding lot, October 16, 2012.

Colorado State University Animal Sciences Professor John Matsushima visits the JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding lot, October 16, 2012.

Dr. Matsushima has received numerous awards for his work, including; CLA’s Top Choice Award, 2013 Citizen of the West, The Japanese Emperor Citation or “Tenno Hosho” presented by Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
During his 30 years at as a professor and researcher at Colorado State University he became a world-renowned expert in beef cattle feeding for greater efficiency, profitability, and carcass quality. One of Dr. Matsushima’s colleagues at CSU, Dr. Daryl Tatum, said, “Johnny did as much as anybody in teaching and research to elevate the commercial cattle feeding industry in Colorado and elsewhere. He was a game-changer.”

2016 Top Choice Honoree


William Brock Faulkner, PhD, 2016 CLA Top Choice Award Honoree (Photo from Texas A&M University)

Colorado Livestock Association honored the late Dr. William Brock Faulkner, PhD, with the Top Choice Award, CLA’s most prestigious honor at the 2016 CLA Annual Meeting April 13-14.
Dr. Faulkner was a passionate and tireless advocate for the livestock industry in Colorado and across the country. Over the last 9 years Brock worked closely with livestock producers in Colorado on air quality issues related to Rocky Mountain National Park. His career in teaching culminated in serving as Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University; he advised the Secretary of Agriculture on the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Task Force.

Top Choice Award

Brittany Faulkner accepts the CLA Top Choice Award on behalf of her husband Brock Faulkner at the 2016 CLA Annual Meeting.

In addition to the Top Choice Award Brock has received numerous awards including the 2012 Texas A&M College of Agriculture Award for Outstanding Achievement in Early Career Research, and the 2014 Gale Holloway ASABE Professional Development Award. His greatest professional joy, though, was working with students. He leaves an uncommon legacy of young men and women who were deeply impacted by his teaching and mentorship.
William Brock Faulkner, 34, of Bryan, Texas passed away February 17, 2016, after fighting a two-year battle with leukemia.

2016 Safe Farm Award Winners

The Colorado Livestock Association would like to recognize those members and worker’s compensation group participants, who have an outstanding safety record, with Colorado Livestock Association’s 2015 Safe Farm Award.


2016 Safe Farm Award Winners and CLA brokers. Pictured Left: Rick Jenkins, Flood and Peterson; Steve & Becky Shea, Shea Feedlot; Gary and Lynette Penny, Penny Ranch; Corey Torres, HUB International; Naida Bamford, Bamford Feedyard; Brian Schiller, Flood and Peterson; Eric Slinger, HUB International.

2015 Safe Farm Award Recipients
Bamford Feedyard
Christensen Bros. Inc.
Dvorak Feeders
McClary Farms
Penny Ranch
Shea Feedlot
The 2015 Safe Farm Award recipients were chosen based on several factors. The criteria includes: A member of the CLA work comp group for two years or more, cost containment certification for two years prior, two years of a loss ratio less than 25%, average 2 days or less to report claims to Pinnacol, and have two designated medical providers on file.


2016 CLA Annual Meeting- A Great Success!

GREELEY, CO- Over 275 producers, industry partners, students, and agency and government representatives met at the CLA Annual Meeting & Colorado’s Finest Celebration April 13-14, 2016 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO.
The morning kicked off early with the Annual Membership Meeting at which the membership elected President-Elect (2-year term) Mike Veeman, Directors (3-year term) Dwain Weinrich, Trevor Tuell, and Grant Bledsoe. In addition, the membership recognized and thanked Immediate Past President Mark Frasier for his service to the Association as he finishes his leadership term.
The morning panelists stimulated great discussion and ideas about the future of state of Colorado and where we will be in 10 years from a growth, political and legislative perspectives. Panelists included Elizabeth Garner, State of Colorado; Jim Carpenter Stratton-Carpenter and Associates; Reeves Brown; Build for a Better Colorado and moderator Dr. James Pritchett, Colorado State University. Keynote speaker Cameron Bruett, the Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of Government Affairs at JBS, USA focused on sustainability of the livestock industry and the ability to endure as producers face intensifying governmental regulations, scarce resources for production and changing consumer trends.
The Past President’s Luncheon, was held in honor of the past leadership of the Association to recognize them for their service to the livestock industry in Colorado. Colorado Livestock Association is honored the late Dr. William Brock Faulkner, PhD, with the Top Choice Award, CLA’s most prestigious honor. Dr. Faulkner was a passionate and tireless advocate for the livestock industry in Colorado and across the country. Over the last 9 years Brock worked closely with livestock producers in Colorado on air quality issues related to Rocky Mountain National Park. CLA awarded their Safe Farm Awards to the following members for an outstanding safety program on their operations and a commitment to safe work practices; Bamford Feedyard, Christensen Brothers, Dvorak Feeders, McClary Farms, Penny Ranches, and Shea Feedlot.
The afternoon panelists featuring Vance Crowe, Director of Millennial Engagement at Monsanto; Dr. Michael Apley, PhD., Kansas State University; and Dr. Lily Edwards-Callaway, PhD, Crystal River Meats. The panel focused on divisive topics in the livestock industry including; antibiotic use, animal welfare, consumer perception and millennials.
Colorado Livestock Association would like to sincerely thank all of the sponsors of the annual meeting for their continued support of the livestock industry in Colorado. Mark your calendars for the 2017 annual meeting April 5-6 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO!

Antibiotics: What Lies Ahead?

Antibiotic resistance expert, Dr. Mike Apley, gives an outlook on what lies ahead for the livestock industry.

Dr. Michael Apley, PhD, Kansas State University


Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance

Regardless of how much science is behind the intense scrutiny of antibiotics in agriculture, it is clear that we can expect changes in the future. By now, everyone should be well aware that the use of medically important antibiotics in feed (e.g., tylosin, chlortetracycline) will require veterinary authorization in the form of a veterinary feed directive as of January 1, 2017. You should be in the planning phases with your veterinarian as to having those VFDs in hand and ready by this date. The new labels will be rolled out in sequence in December of 2016, and then the VFDs can be written. This authorization will also be necessary for medically important antibiotics in mineral and milk replacer. Feed drugs which are not medically important, such as decoquinate (Deccox®), amprolium (Corid®), and monensin (Rumensin®) will only need to be on a VFD if fed at the same time as a medically important antibiotic, otherwise no VFD will be required for them. Producers, veterinarians, and feed distributors will need to work together as we move forward.
The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA/CVM) has been getting a lot of input about concerns related to medically important antibiotics fed for control or prevention of disease without a defined duration of feeding on the label. The FDA/CVM has indicated that they will be taking steps to evaluate labels with these characteristics, such as tylosin used in feedlots for reduction of liver abscesses. We can expect more activity on this issue after the dust settles from the implementation of the VFD processing.
Another big change in the future will be transparency of antibiotic use in food animal production. The broiler industry will soon have a report out on their antibiotic use across the industry, and it is reasonable to conclude that the other food animal industries will need to keep pace and also provide some accurate estimates of use. We can anticipate that these reports would focus on the medically important drugs related to reasons for use.
Antibiotics are clearly something that we as a society have an interest in preserving as an effective tool for treating disease in both animals and humans. This goal may result in some legislative and regulatory initiatives designed to protect antibiotics, and some of these may move beyond the scientific evidence with a precautionary approach in the name of public health. It is very important that food animal veterinary and producer groups stay involved to make sure that valuable tools aren’t thrown out in the name of human health, when in fact they may be beneficial to both animal and human health. Advancements in genetic analysis of bacteria are allowing us to better understand how bacteria and resistance genes move in animals, humans, and the environment. However, it is unlikely that these techniques will give us a definitive answer in the near future. All we can be certain of is increased scrutiny of antibiotic uses in food animal agriculture.


Agriculture in Perspective

Kellee Mitchell, Colorado Livestock Association

When the first federal census was taken in 1790, more than 90 percent of all Americans were farmers and agriculture was far and away the leading industry and major employer. Revolutionary changes in the 1800s transformed the lives of the nation’s farm families, as the industrial revolution shifted population, wealth, and power to the cities. In the 1850s young men went west in search of their fortunes on the agricultural frontier, but national attention and the American dream increasingly still shifted to the city.
Jump ahead to 2016 – Farm and ranch families comprise just 2 percent of the U.S. population. Approximately 22 million American workers produce, process, sell and trade the nation’s food and fiber but only 4.6 million of those people live on farms or ranches.
Agriculture produces 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.), compared with 1950 and is one of the United States’ most important industries, employing more than 24 million workers or 17 percent of the country’s total work force. The livestock industry feeds billions of people and employs 1.3 billion people which means about 1 in 5 people on Earth work in some aspect of livestock farming.  Consumers spend $547 billion for food originating on U.S. farms and ranches and of each dollar spent, the farmer’s share is approximately 31 cents. The rest goes for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution.
As change continues the world population is expected to jump from 7.2 billion to 9.6 billion by 2050.  Is it obvious that people still expect to eat every day? Do they expect to always have access to products they use every day or need for medical purposes? Do they know farmers will need to double food production by then to keep pace and by-products will have to continue to be processed?
The goods produced and the means by which they are created vary greatly. However, many people do not realize that many aspects of theirs and human life depend on numerous types of agriculture. These are some of the same people who fire up their social media newsfeed and are drawn to believe everything they read (true or untrue) about how bad our industry is.  How do we make them see?
Through the efforts of CLA, other industry organizations and members we are trying to change their perspective by demonstrating, teaching and participating in events to share how important agriculture is to EVERYONE, 24/7 – 365.  We host tours for our urban legislators and interested groups, staff participate in the “Pasture to Plate” tour with the Colorado Beef Council.  CLA sponsors teachers to attend the Food, Fiber & More – Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Institute, we help fund and write articles for the Colorado Reader, which is sent out to every elementary school in Colorado, and CLA staff reads about agriculture in the classroom to young urban school children. We host free Educational Regional Symposiums across Colorado. We volunteer with The American Beef Battalion, Pedal the Plains, Colorado State Fair, Greeley Farm Show and the National Western Stock Show.  Ag Day at the Capitol has become one of the most popular events under the gold dome as CLA and other Colorado Ag Council members feed hundreds of people at the state house all in the effort to promote our industry.
I’d like to close with a quote from author and biochemist, Isaac Asimov, that may help put things in perspective when you are working to inform folks about the livestock industry.
“It is the obvious that is so difficult to see most of the time. People say, It’s as plain as the nose on your face… But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?”

2016 CLA Annual Meeting Set for April!

The CLA Annual Meeting will be held in Loveland at the Embassy Suites, April 13-14, 2016.

Join us on Wednesday (4/13/16) evening at the Trade Show Vendor reception followed by ‘Colorado’s Finest,’ a food and wine pairing social showcasing the bounty of Colorado’s agriculture industry. Thursday will kick off with the annual CLA Membership Meeting. The morning panel ‘Colorado in 2025’ will forecast the political and demographic future of Colorado and how it will affect the livestock and agriculture industry. The keynote speaker is Cameron Bruett, Chief Sustainability Officer at JBS, who is sure to spark interest of the attendees with his dynamic message about the future of the livestock industry in the United States and across the globe. The past leadership of the Colorado Livestock Association and the Colorado Cattle Feeders Association will be celebrated for their leadership at the annual Past President’s luncheon. The afternoon panel “Utopian Industry: A Consensus of Ethics & Science,” is sure to incite a lively discussion that will cover areas in agriculture that are receiving harsh criticism, including; animal welfare, antibiotic resistance and consumer perceptions.

2016 Schedule

Featured Speakers

Registration and Hotel Information

Sponsor the Annual Meeting!

Our History is Our Future

Jessica Lemmel, Colorado Livestock Association

The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.
In high school, I worked in the summertime for an older couple who would often fondly reflect on the way things used to be. I politely listened to their stories, but I would become anxious wanting to get back to my daily tasks, and would soon forget the lesson they were trying to impart.
This experience is not unique to me. Most young people don’t pay enough attention to the stories of their elders because we just don’t recognize yet how important those moments are to our own futures. The millennial generation, of which I am a member, is characterized as those who prioritize efficiency and technological progression above almost everything else. Our parent’s however, would just describe us as naive.
We haven’t lived through the things that they have lived through. Sure, we may be able to navigate a computer more quickly or even write code to build a website, but when compared to a lifetime of experience we know very little.
We live in a world that seems to value innovation over tradition and forward progress over retrospection. In the relentless focus on the future it is easy to overlook the events in our history that have laid the foundation for where we are today.
These events define ourselves, our communities, and our industry. We must be aware of the journey those that have come before us have taken; of their failures and successes. If we do not take the time to truly understand our past, I believe we are wasting our future.
So, on that iced tea break when the old hand starts out a story with, “Back in my day…,” don’t brush them off. Take the time to listen and ask questions, because understanding what brought us here is equally as important as where we are headed.
Over the past four years I have had the pleasure of working on behalf of livestock producers as part of our three person staff. In that short time, I have only scratched the surface of the expansive history of our industry and the Association. I am anxious to continue learning about who we were when it all started in 1955 and what brought us to where we are now, over 60 years later.
We have served the industry in many capacities and our focus has changed numerous times over the years, but one thing remains the same, when an issue surfaces, we will be at the ready. We will bring all of the knowledge and experience from our past to help preserve our industry for future generations. 

The Cornerstone

Commissioner Don Brown believes farmers and ranchers are the cornerstone of our great state and country.

InfographicAs the Commissioner of Agriculture, I have dedicated my life to my family, my ranch, and my community. I can tell you that I truly believe our farmers and ranchers are the cornerstone of our great state and country. Without them, we would not enjoy the abundant food we have available to us, one of the lowest food costs in the world, and national food security because of our ability to provide enough food to feed our people.
As farmers and ranchers, we are more than the people on a tractor or feeding livestock. We are business men and women, who must balance the checkbook, manage workers, study state and federal regulations, and provide quality care to livestock so they remain healthy and productive. We are entrepreneurs who must continually develop new technology to create more food with fewer resources. All of this is done while the weight of feeding our family and those around the globe sits upon our shoulders.
Here is another fact that you might find surprising: 10% of the farmers produce 80% of the food. This means we must continue to develop new methods in order to meet the growing demand for food worldwide at a time when land used for agricultural purposes continues to decrease. There are many niche markets that allow consumers to make food choices that fit their family lifestyle and provide marketing opportunities for producers based on their production practice. While these labels may add value to some, these sectors alone won’t feed the nation. We must continue to develop new technology, growing practices, and livestock care efforts that further develop our production capabilities. If we are to feed the world, we must learn to do this with less land, fewer producers, and fewer resources.
Abraham Lincoln, in his infinite wisdom, once said, “Every blade of grass is a study; and to produce two, where there was but one, is both a profit and a pleasure.”  That profit and pleasure has now also become a necessity if we are to continue enjoying the abundance agriculture has provided to our lives.
The truth is, farmers and ranchers are the lifeblood of this world.  We provide food that is affordable and healthy. It’s a job that takes many hours, much physical work, great financial risks, and often pays less, but ag producers do it for the same reasons anyone does something difficult: it’s worth it and we find it gratifying. 

Don Brown was appointed the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor John Hickenlooper in January 2015. Brown, a third-generation farmer in Yuma County, has run several successful businesses while spending most of his career managing and growing his family’s extensive farm operations. He has also been active in water conservation, energy development and technology innovation issues within the industry. Don and his wife, Peggy, have three children who continue to call Colorado home. The Brown family farm was homesteaded in 1911 and has been designated as a Centennial Farm. Don’s parents, Cleo and Jennie, were pioneers in pivot irrigation in Yuma County. Don continues that pioneering spirit today through his study of the Ogallala Aquifer and holds two U.S. patents for his fence post systems.

-Don Brown, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture

Mountain Prairie Farms recognized as a Silver Partner in the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program

The Environmental Leadership Program, administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environmental, is a voluntary program that recognizes organizations that go beyond compliance with environmental regulations and strive toward a goal of sustainability. Members work through three levels of partnership: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Including the new crop of 12 Gold Leaders, seven Silver Partners and 29 Bronze achievers, program membership stands at 160 organizations, representing a variety of sectors from manufacturers to agriculture to schools and service providers. New and existing members were recognized at the programs annual awards event October 16 at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.

Mountain Prairie Farms, a CLA member, is a modern, state of the art farrow to wean sow farm located in Las Animas, Colorado. To meet the silver partner status Mountain Prairie recycled over 570,000,000 gallons of water, and using spent swamp cooler pads as a supplemental carbon source for composting, which reduced landfill waste.

Back row left: Kep Proctor, Rick Ochoa, front: John Lofhdahl (Mountain Prairie Farms); right side, Lynette Meyers, ELP director, Marguarite Tan, Mountain Prairie Farms and Coulter Wood with Hormel

Colorado FFA Foundation Announces 2016 Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Inductees

The Colorado FFA Foundation announced today four inductees into the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame. Mr. Thomas Bradbury of Byers, Mr. Steve Gabel, of Eaton, Mr. Harold Griffith of Fort Morgan, and Mr. Milan Rewerts, of Fort Collins, will all be formally inducted into the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame in February at the annual Hall of Fame Banquet.

“We are proud to add four more outstanding individuals to the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame“ said Mark Reinert, Chairman of the Colorado FFA Foundation.

The Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame banquet is held in conjunction with the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture and is a prime opportunity to gauge the direction of the industry and learn about issues facing one of the largest industries in Colorado. Both the forum and the banquet are attended by industry and political leaders as well as family farmers and ranchers who lead and support the agriculture industry and its future.

Friends, peers and business associates will recognize the four inductees during the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet, Feb. 18, 2016, at the Renaissance Hotel, Denver. The honorees will join 85 other outstanding Colorado agriculturists who have been similarly honored since 1989. All Agriculture Hall of Fame members’ portraits are displayed in the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame in the CoBank Center for Agricultural Education at Colorado State University.

Hosted by the Colorado FFA Foundation, the banquet is held yearly to induct members into the Agriculture Hall of Fame who have significantly contributed to Colorado’s second largest industry. A unique, multi-media presentation will highlight the life of each new inductee during the ceremony


2016 Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame nominees

Mr. Thomas Bradbury has been a leader in the Colorado livestock industry for many decades. As president of the American Hereford Association he was instrumental in improving the genetic base of the breed while helping develop a world-renowned branded beef program. He has also been very influential in the American Quarter Horse Association, serving as Director and President of the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association. His leadership was essential in bringing Class A racing back to Colorado. Mr. Bradbury was also a key member of the National Western Stock Show Association that helped create the National Western Scholarship Trust, which now supports 80 college students annually in the area of agriculture and rural medicine. He has spent most of his adult life living in Byers and sharing his talents from the local school board, a founder of the rural telephone cooperative, to the numerous 4-H members he helped along the way. He is a true stockman, civic leader, and an accomplished businessman that has helped shape agriculture in Colorado and beyond.

Mr. Harold Griffith began farming and dairying in Morgan County shortly after high school. A strong family man, he instilled passion, work ethic, and high morals in his children and those around him. He has provided extensive leadership for the dairy industry in Colorado. The basis of his leadership has been developing programs for youth to become involved in agriculture through the Dairy Catch It Program with many participants pursing agriculture related careers after completing the program. Harold’s influence can best be seen through his knowledge of water rights in Colorado. His involvement in negotiating ditch water agreements ensured that farmers had proper water access to continue farming long term. He has mentored many Colorado producers in interpreting the water law helping them make sound management decisions. With his knowledge of Colorado water law he was asked to serve on Governor Ritter’s Water Task Force.

Mr. Steve Gabel is a fixture in the Colorado Beef Industry. He manages the commercial 22,000 head feedlot, Magnum Feedyard and also oversees production of Gabel Cattle LCC his families cow-calf operation. He considers volunteering and giving back to his industry as a crucial time investment. Serving as the chairman of the Colorado Beef Council for the last 15 years, President of Colorado Livestock Association, and an active member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association all have benefitted from his leadership. As the Weld County Livestock Volunteer Judging Coach he has taught hundreds of youth responsibility, work ethic, and a passion for agriculture, all while helping those students secure multiple state, regional, and national championships. As a result of their success under his leadership countless agricultural youth have secured scholarships to pursue their own interest in agriculture.

Mr. Milan Rewerts served Colorado agriculture through a career in with CSU Cooperative Extension that spanned more than four decades. He assisted Colorado State University achieve it’s land grant mission in providing education about agriculture to consumers, producers, and families as well as maintaining a vibrant 4-H program for the youth of Colorado under his leadership as Director of CSU Extension.   He maintained that Cooperative Extension should always provide excellent, relevant educational programs of social and economic importance to all Coloradoans. He was actively involved with a diverse group of agricultural, consumer, and youth organizations throughout his career. His innovative leadership and strong commitment to communication and teamwork among all Extension Specialists, County Commissioners, and administration at CSU led to his recognition as the outstanding Extension Director across the United States.

2015 Circle of Safety Award: 7th Year in a Row!

circle_of_safety_award_2011_12-300x194Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s leading workers’ compensation insurer, is recognizing the recipients of the company’s eighth annual Circle of Safety Awards this month including the Colorado Livestock Association. Approximately 40 policyholders from across the state are being honored for their exemplary performance in safety, loss control, and financial and claims management.

“Less than one percent of Pinnacol’s 55,000 policyholders meet the criteria for this award,” said Phil Kalin, Pinnacol’s president and CEO. “The recipients are an elite group whose commitment to safety and sound risk management practices qualify for this honor. We are proud to recognize them and their employees for their exceptional commitment to safety and for setting an example for other Colorado companies to follow.”

The Circle of Safety Award recognizes that exceptional risk management is the result of a circle of many people working together. From top management and frontline employees to Pinnacol representatives and the policyholders’ agents, everyone has a hand in making Colorado workplaces safer. These Circle of Safety winners who embrace risk management are positively impacting Colorado’s economy and saving lives.

Pinnacol policyholders were eligible to receive the Circle of Safety Award if they met the following criteria:

  • Pinnacol policyholder for at least four years
  • .85 or less Experience Modification Rating each policy period
  • Combined four-year loss ratio of 25 percent or less
  • 80 percent or more of all claims reported within 48 hours (combined four-year history)
  • Designated providers each year
  • Two or less notices of cancellation each year
  • No non-compliant audits
  • Must currently hold the State of Colorado’s Cost Containment Certification
  • No fatalities
  • Approved return-to-work program

Young Cattlemen’s Conference Recognizes Leaders in the Cattle Industry

Greeley, CO- Over 50 cattle producers from across the country and across the industry participated in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2015 Young Cattlemen’s Conference including a young producer from northern Colorado. Representing Colorado Livestock Association was Andrew Mertens from Wickstrom Feedyard.

Andrew MertensAndrew Mertens of New Raymer, CO has been involved in the agriculture industry all of his life. He grew up on his family’s progressive dryland farm and stocker cattle operation in northeastern Colorado. The operation consists of raising dryland wheat, corn, and proso millet. In addition to crop production the operation buys light weight calves in the fall, backgrounds them during the winter, turns them out on grass in the late spring and summer, and then markets these cattle as yearlings in the fall. After graduating from high school Andrew, along with his brother Cole, began growing their own farming and stocker cattle operation in addition to the family’s operation.

Along with Andrew’s business, he began working with his wife’s family operation in early 2010. Over the past several years he has become heavily involved in the Wickstrom feedlot and farming operation. The Wickstrom operation is a very progressive dryland farm and cattle feeding operation that is located near Orchard, CO which is in the same area where Andrew grew up. The operation sources most of their cattle through local auction barns, video auctions, and directly from local ranches. The operation sorts these calves by size and quality throughout the feeding period for marketing purposes. It also manages cost of gain through feeding local co-products and grazing forages on ranches near the feedlot. The cattle are all walked to and from these pastures with little to no freight cost. The operation finishes all the cattle and markets them to local packing plants. In addition the feedlot custom feeds cattle that participate in the Meyer Natural Angus Program. Andrew works with his father in law Cary, and his wife’s uncle, Todd, and three other full time employees. Andrews’s role includes general day to day management, feedlot health, cattle procurement, a portion of the marketing, and a plethora of other responsibilities within the farming side of the operation. In their free time Andrew and his wife Leigha enjoy traveling, spending time with family, and spoiling their nieces and nephews.

The aim of the NCBA’s YCC program is to give these young leaders an understanding of all aspects of the beef industry from grass to plate, and showcase issues management, research, education and marketing. Beginning in Colorado, the group got an inside look at many of the issues affecting the beef industry and the work being done on both the state and national level to address these issues on behalf of our membership. While in Denver, CattleFax provided a comprehensive overview of the current cattle market and emerging trends. At Safeway, the participants received a first-hand account of the retail perspective of the beef business and then toured the JBS Five Rivers’ Kuner feedyard, one of the largest in the nation, and the JBS Greeley packing and processing plant.

YCC at Kuner“The young cattlemen’s conference was designed to develop young leaders and give them the knowledge and tools they need to lead this ever-changing industry. After completing YCC I can say it serves its purpose very well. After spending the day on Capitol Hill I have a renewed faith in Congress, we as cattlemen have a huge amount of support within our government. We must keep working to tell our story to maintain that support,” stated Mertens.

From Denver, the group traveled to Chicago where they were able to visit the Chicago Board of Trade, learning about risk-management and mitigation tools available to the cattle industry. In Chicago, they also visited McDonald’s Campus and OSI, one of the nation’s premiere beef patty producers. After the brief stop in Chicago, the group concluded their trip in Washington D.C. for an issue briefing on current policy priorities; including trade and Country-of-Origin Labeling and ample opportunity to visit with their congressional representatives.

“Ultimately, our goal has been to provide the consumer with an affordable, great tasting, safe, and nutritious product, but it may take way more than that to sell our product in the future. Today the consumer is wanting to know where that steak they bought was raised, and was it raised sustainably. YCC was truly and amazing experience and I want to thank Colorado Livestock Association for making this happen.”

With the beef industry changing rapidly, identifying and educating leaders has never been so important. As a grassroots trade association representing the beef industry the NCBA is proud to play a role in that process and its future success. Over 1,000 cattlemen and women have graduated from the YCC program since its inception in 1980. Many of these alumni have gone to serve in state and national committees, councils and boards. YCC is the cornerstone of leadership training in the cattle industry.

Thank You 2015 Summit Sponsors!

On behalf of Colorado Livestock Association members and staff, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for all of the support we received from the sponsors of the 2015 Protein Producer Summit. Sponsors are the foundation of a successful event, so we are truly grateful for their support.

Platinum Sponsors

American AgCredit

Cargill Meat Solutions

Colorado Beef Council

Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC

Midwest PMS

Pinnacol Assurance

Priefert Manufacturing Company

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

U.S. Premium Beef



Gold Sponsors

ADM Alliance Nutrition / Loomix

Animal Health International

Flood & Peterson


HUB International

J.D. Heiskell & Company

Rabo AgriFinance

The Hartford-Livestock Department

Y-Tex Corporation


Silver Sponsors

Agfinity, Inc.

Allflex USA

Boehringer Ingelheim

Colorado Corn Administrative Committee

Colorado Pork Producers Council

CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Dairy Specialists

DAR PRO Solutions a Darling/Griffin Brand

DuPont Pioneer

Elanco Animal Health

IMI Global – Where Food Comes From

Kuhn Knight of Greeley

Merck Animal Health

Multimin USA, Inc.

Silveus Insurance Group

Superior Livestock  Auction

Western Dairy Association

Zinpro Performance Minerals


Bronze Sponsors

Bill’s Volume Sales & Service / Roto Mix

Harsh International, Inc.

Keller Law, LLC

Kunafin “The Insectary”

Rocky Mountain Financial Group


Trade Show Sponsors

AutoSearch USA

Bayer Animal Health

Cancrete Waterers

Cargill Animal Nutrition

Datamars – Z Tags & Temple Tag


Ferrel-Ross Roll Manufacturing

High Plains Cattle Supply, LLC

Hitchin’ Post Trailer and Tractor Sales

Honnen Equipment

Key-Lix Supplements

Kunafin “The Insectary”

LAIRD / Mor-Line Equipment

Leachman Cattle of Colorado


Mix 30 by Agridyne, LLC

Moly Manufacturing, Inc./SILENCER

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Nutrition Physiology Company, LLC

Ranch-Way Feeds

Sweet Pro Premium Food Products

Trout Unlimited

USDA GIPSA Packers & Stockyard

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

Vigortone Ag Products

Water Sage


Colorado Livestock Association Bestows its Highest Honor

4Official Tony Frank mug(1)Greeley, CO- The Top Choice Award is given periodically by the Colorado Livestock Association to those individuals who have demonstrated through their words and their actions a commitment to the betterment of livestock agriculture here in Colorado. Past honorees have come from all walks of life, but the common denominator has been that they have all embodied a deep rooted belief in the importance of agriculture to the future of this state, this country and the world. This year’s recipient shares that same quality, but is also a person of courage and determination who is not afraid to make the tough decisions.

Previous winners include U.S. Senator Ben “Nighthorse Campbell, Dr. Temple Gandin, Environmental Ag Program Director Phyllis Woodford, industry giants W.D. Farr, Kenneth Monfort and Tom Camerlo, CLA Past Presidents Marshall Frasier and Bill Wailes, Colorado Commissioners’ of Agriculture Don Ament and John Stulp, Colorado State University professors Dr. John Matsushima, Dr. Gary Smith and Dr. Daryl Tatum, and our friends in the media such as Mr. “higher, higher” himself, Evan Slack. This is only a partial list of the many deserving individuals who have received this prestigious award. Colorado Livestock Association’s Top Choice honoree will become part of a very exclusive fraternity and we have no reservations that this individual is most worthy of inclusion in such an esteemed group.

The 2015 CLA Top Choice honoree is Dr. Tony Frank, President of Colorado State University. Dr, Frank’s contributions to Colorado’s ag industry are countless. His dedication to livestock producers is demonstrated in a strong working relationship between education and our association. He has brought to life the mission of CSU, which was inspired by its land-grant heritage. Under our honoree’s direction, CSU is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, service and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, The United States, and the world.

Dr. Frank has instituted the President’s Advisory Council utilizing the agriculture community. This venue allows for candid feedback and strategic advancement. CSU is committed to bringing agriculture to the masses, and Tony’s leadership in the National Western Campus; using experiential learning and research, will ensure that the importance of agriculture production will be communicated and embraced. In addition to the previously-mentioned contributions, he has actively participated in local and national service and professional organizations throughout his career; such as the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities Commission International Initiatives and the board of the Food Bank of Larimer County. He was appointed to the Deemed Export Advisory Council by the U.S. Department of Commerce. He has served on the editorial board of Toxicologic Pathology, and as a member of the Colorado Climate Action Panel. Both the Colorado and Illinois 4-H organizations have inducted him into their Halls of Fame.
He has received many honors in his field of education administration, and was named Fort Collins Board of Realtors Citizen of the Year.

Flying Diamond Ranch Presented with Leopold Conservation Award

1609836_589413847827667_370880262105651958_nThe Flying Diamond Ranch, owned and managed by the Scott and Jean Johnson family, is the recipient of the 2015 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award. Scott Johnson, past President of CLA, along with his family manage the ranch which is located near Kit Carson, Flying Diamond Ranch is a fifth generation, 25,000-acre cattle ranch. For over 100 years, the Johnsons’ management philosophy has reflected a personal conviction of individual responsibility for the health of the land. Guided by their principles of holistic management, they implemented a rotational grazing system that is supported by pipelines and fencing, which allows them to control the environmental impact of their herd. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes private landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The winner receives a $10,000 award and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold.

2015 Protein Producer Summit, a Great Success!

Fourth Annual Joint Meeting of the Premier Livestock Organizations in Colorado an Absolute Success!

The Yampa Valley stretches from Rabbit Ears Pass to the Flattops Wilderness Area

Over 500 attendees traveled to Steamboat Springs, CO to the 2015 Protein Producer Summit to hear informative and thought-provoking presentations from experts across several industries, and to mingle with some of the most influential livestock producers in the state of Colorado. The conference featured one of the largest trade shows in the state of Colorado with over 50 vendors. Attendees not only included CCA members and CLA members; but also Colorado CattleWomen, members of the Junior Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, CLA Future Livestock Leaders, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust and many industry and agency representatives.

Innovation was the focus for this year’s meeting. Tuesday morning began with our keynote speaker session, featuring Doug Daniels, the head of Google’s Cloud Platform business. Doug is responsible for overall development, growth and execution of the Cloud business. Dr. Tony Frank, President of Colorado State University and Michelle Hadwiger, Office of Economic Development and International Trade presented on the role of innovation in their respective sectors.

Following the morning session, the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Don Brown, joined us as a guest speaker at lunch. The afternoon featured a fast-paced competition between three innovators, modeled after the popular reality TV show ‘Shark Tank’. Competitors proposed their ideas to the audience and competed to win the favor of the ‘Sharks,’ our Associations’ leadership; in a high-energy setting where the audience had the opportunity to see first-hand some of the latest technologies being developed for the agriculture industry. Shari Westerfeld, with the ENOUGH movement, addressed the issue of feeding 9 billion people using innovative solutions to ensure we can provide enough food for our growing population.

The afternoon wrapped up with a hands-on social media training where attendees learned how to effectively use Facebook, Twitter and a ranch blog to join the conversation about food production and to tell their ag story! The evening featured a scenic gondola ride up to Mt. Werner lodge to the reception and banquet where livestock producers and industry folks had the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones.

On behalf of the represented organizations, including members and staff, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for all of the support we received from the sponsors of this year’s convention. Sponsors are the foundation of a successful event, so we are truly grateful for their support.

2015 Protein Producer Summit – Register Today!

Join us for the annual meeting & trade show of the premier livestock organizations in Colorado! June 15-17, 2015 in Steamboat Springs, CO.

We are excited to announce the top-notch line-up of speakers and presenters for the 2015 Protein Producer Summit, the annual meeting & trade show of the premier livestock organizations in Colorado!

To view the full schedule of events please click here.

Keynote Speaker Session- Innovation and Technology in Agriculture

Each panelist will discuss concepts and ideas from their perspective and experience, as it relates to innovation and technology in the agriculture and livestock industries.

Keynote Speaker Session Panelists:

  • Doug Daniels, Google Cloud Platform
  • Dr. Tony Frank, DVM – President, Colorado State University
  • Michelle Hadwiger, Director of Corporate Development, Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Moderator: Gary Teague, Teague Diversified

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from these leaders in innovation, Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 8:00am! Register Today!

CALL TO ACTION: Comment Now on the Proposed Dietary Guidelines!

redmeatOn February 19, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report was made available to the public. Though mentioned in a footnote, the report excluded “lean meats” from a healthful dietary pattern. The Committee included recommendations on topics outside nutrition and health including sustainability, which is outside their purview and expertise. The public comment period ends May 8, 2015.

It is critical that Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell hear from you!

The CLA Board of Director’s have submitted comments on the proposed Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

View CLA’s Comments.
Click here to view example comments from NCBA.


Temple Grandin Visits Colorado Dairy Farms

Dr. Temple Grandin, renowned animal handling expert, author and Colorado State University professor, traveled to three Colorado dairy farms. In attendance were CLA President Mary Kraft and CLA members Rick Podtburg and Bill Wailes, as well as representatives from Western Dairy Association and Dairy Farmers of America, Colorado Department of Agriculture Bureau of Animal Protection and CLA staff. The tour was hosted by Western Dairy Association.

Dr. Grandin visited the Feldpausch, Vander Dussen and Hirsch family dairy farms, and was extremely complimentary of what she saw at each dairy. “I saw some things today that were really good,” said Dr. Grandin. “I’m real pleased on cow condition and how clean the dairy farms and cows were.” Conversations during the day centered on animal care, from genetics to stall width and types of barns. “We have to have the best practices in place to ensure our dairies/businesses are using safe business practices; including animal welfare,” said Kraft. “In Colorado, we do.” Kraft emphasized that although there are many styles of management used in the state, dairy farmers are committed to optimizing the system they work in and ensuring that animals are well cared for.

To view more pictures from the event please visit our Facebook page!

2015 NCBA Legislative Conference

Colorado’s livestock industry was well represented at the 2015 NCBA Legislative Conference this week in Washington, D.C. CLA President, Mary Kraft, Mike Thoren, JBS Fiver Rivers Cattle Feeding, and Bill Hammerich, CEO, along with representatives from Colorado Cattlemen’s Association met with Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Michael Bennet. The main focus of discussion included; the complete repeal of COOL, inadequacies of the proposed Dietary Guidelines, and immigration reform. In addition, they met with representatives from all of Colorado’s Congressional districts. “The ‪#‎NCBA‬ Legislative Conference gave CLA and myself, the opportunity to personally meet and share our needs and issues with our nation’s leaders. Developing these relationships and maintaining communication gives us influence in the rules that govern our businesses, our communities and our lives. It is an important step in creating strategic alliances, protecting what we have, and furthering our industry.” -Mary Kraft, CLA President



Ag Producers on the Hill: Ag Day at the Capitol

AgDay01031815Happy Colorado Agriculture Day!  This is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by the agricultural community.  If you eat, you’re involved in agriculture and that is a tremendous responsibility and privilege that farmers, ranchers, and producers hold on to.  Through their efforts, families have safe, affordable food on their dinner table.  And those efforts create a way of life that is the foundation of this great state. In addition to providing food, farmers and ranchers protect our natural resources and the environment, and continually develop sustainable farming practices to protect the land for future generations.  The ag community also has a tremendous impact on our state’s economic vitality. And of course…they grow darn good food!

Today, a celebration of agriculture was held at the State Capitol.  Events included a news conference, cooking competition, and a donation to the Food Bank of the Rockies. Please enjoy this video highlighting the day and reminding us all that if you eat, you are involved in agriculture. Gov. John Hickenlooper addressed a packed foyer full of farmers and ranchers. “We all participate in agriculture every day of the week when we eat anything,” Hickenlooper said while wearing a cowboy hat. “(Agriculture) is connected to literally every other part of the economy.” Chefs prepared meals that ranged from Colorado tamales, to pork loin, bison and lamb. Desserts utilizing Colorado ingredients were available. Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown said, “When you’re walking around, remember, if you eat, you’re participating in agriculture, and we thank you as producers.”

More News…

CLA Past President, Don Rutledge, Inducted into Co Ag Hall of Fame

image10-630x410 CLA would like to congratulate former Colorado Livestock Association Past President and Yuma area farmer Don Rutledge on his recent induction into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame. In addition to serving on various boards, he is credited with developing the rubber tire center pivot sprinkler system, adopting holistic resource management practices, such as rotational grazing systems, developing a composting system, and was one of the first to use variable rate irrigation practices.

The Colorado FFA Foundation has inducted four honorees into the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame. Mr. Jim Odle, Brush, Dr. Temple Grandin, Fort Collins, Mr. Don Rutledge, Yuma and Mr. Bob Tuttle, Eckert all were formally inducted into the Hall of Fame on February 26th 2015 during the 26th annual hall of fame banquet.

The banquet was held in conjunction with the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture.The Banquet was held at the Renaissance Hotel, Denver. The 2015 inductees will join 82 other outstanding Colorado agriculturists who have been similarly honored since 1989. All Agriculture Hall of Fame members’ portraits will be displayed in the CoBank Center for Agricultural Education on CSU’s ARDEC campus after the building is constructed this fall.

Read More: 4 Honorees Inducted Into Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame

“If you eat food, agriculture is important.”


Gormuet Bacon DishAg Council to Showcase AG’s Importance to Coloradoans and the State Economy with Colorado AG Day at the Capitol featuring Ag Producer/Chefs Cook-off Event

Pork. Beef. Lamb. Chicken. Eggs. Produce. Dairy. Pastry? Yes, pastry.  Many of the state’s top chefs have been tapped to compete in the 4th Annual Colorado Ag Day at the Capitol Ag Producer/Chef Cook-off.

Hosted by the Colorado Ag Council, of which Colorado Livestock Association is a member, the event will be held Wednesday, March 18 in the North and West Wings of the State Capitol Rotunda at 11 a.m. Colorado Ag Day at the Capitol coincides with National Ag Day. It will showcase agriculture’s significance to the citizens of Colorado and the state’s economy.
“Every single day, every single man, woman and child in Colorado is impacted by agriculture. If you eat food, agriculture is important to you,” according to David Collie, Colorado Ag Day Chef’s Cook-off Feast Chair and 5280 Culinary Managing Partner. “We want people to know agriculture employs 170,000 people in our state and contributes more than $40 billion annually to our economy,” said Collie. “There are 36,000 farms and ranches here, it’s important we are all vigilant in both understanding and protecting our Colorado way of life.”  Source:

The state’s 34-member strong Ag Council is structured to pull together Colorado’s agriculture organizations, acting as a forum for discussion to review issues under consideration by its member organizations. The Colorado Ag Council stages the annual Colorado Ag Day Ag-Producer Chef Cook-off and feast as a means of emphasizing agriculture’s importance to state lawmakers and the news media.  Additionally, the event also nets significant in-kind and direct cash contributions to aid in stocking the Food Bank of the Rockies.
“This event grows exponentially each year.  It’s a fun day featuring amazing fare from the state’s top chefs. However, we want the seriousness of the take-away message understood: Colorado is Agriculture. Our state’s economy and the overall well-being of our citizens depends on the well-being of our agriculture,” said Collie.
Donors interested in making contributions to the Food Bank of the Rockies are encouraged to contact: contact Kevin Seggelke, president and CEO, at (303) 371-9250, or Please indicate your donation is part of the “Colorado Ag Council-Ag Day” celebration.

CO Ag Council seeking donations to reach $100,000 for Food Bank of the Rockies

FBR_1_cmykThe 35 organizations, including Colorado Livestock Association, that make up the Colorado Ag Council are again partnering with the Food Bank of the Rockies in celebrating National Ag Day. In doing so, they are asking for your help to raise $100,000 in cash and food products for those in need.

Last year the Colorado Ag Council, with support of its member organizations and agricultural businesses, raised approximately $95,000 for the Food Bank of the Rockies.

As has been the case in recent years, this donation to the food bank will take place as part of Ag Day at the Capitol in Denver, which this year is set for March 18. In recognition of National Ag Day, the Colorado Ag Council, which includes Colorado Livestock Association, is coordinating activities to celebrate and recognize the tremendous role Colorado ag producers and agribusinesses play in providing abundant and safe food for Coloradans.

Monetary donations can be made via check, payable to “Food Bank of the Rockies” and mailed to Colorado Ag Council in care of Colorado Livestock Association, 822 7th St., Suite 210, Greeley, CO 80631. Food or commodity donations should go directly to Food Bank of the Rockies, 10700 E. 45th Ave., Denver, CO 80239. You can also contact Kevin Seggelke, President and CEO, at (303) 371-9250, or Please indicate that your donation is part of the “Colorado Ag Council-Ag Day” celebration.

For more information, contact Ag Day manager David Collie,


More News…

2014 Circle of Safety Award: Sixth Year in a Row!

For the sixth year in a row the Colorado Livestock Association Staff has received the Circle of Safety Award from Pinnacol Assurance. The McClary Brothers, CLA members, also received the Circle of Safety award for their commitment to safety. Both awards were presented at the CLA Board of Directors meeting in November at Dinklage Feedyard in Illif, CO.

According to Pinnacol Assurance “Award winners are among an elite group of policyholders who have received this prestigious award for its exceptional performance in safety, loss control, financial management, and claims management.” Safety is a number one priority in our office and to our membership. Keep up the great work!

Congratulations to McClary Brothers and Colorado Livestock Association!

For more information on CLA’s workers compensation program click here.

CLA Presents its Most Prestigious Award


(from left) Justin Miller, JBS, Phyllis Woodford, CLA Top Choice Award Winner and Bill Hammerich CLA

At the Joint Banquet on the Tuesday evening of the Joint Convention Colorado Livestock Association presented the CLA Top Choice award to Phyllis Woodford, previous director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Environmental Agriculture Program. The CLA Top Choice award is given to a person that has positively impacted the livestock industry in Colorado. Phyllis has been the head of the Environmental Agriculture Program for the past 6 years for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Phyllis and her leadership have been invaluable to the Colorado livestock industry in working through issues like nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Congratulations and thank you, Phyllis!

Wounded Warriors Honored at CLA Past President’s Luncheon

Each year, at the Annual Convention the past president’s of the Colorado Cattle Feeder’s Association and Colorado Livestock Association gather to be honored for their leadership. This year’s Past President’s Luncheon, sponsored by JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC was held on Wednesday of the Joint Annual Convention in Breckenridge, CO. Those in attendance were moved by an impressive presentation given by Doyle Worbington, a retired Army Ranger who participates in helping with the Wounded Warrior Project. The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded warriors and to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members by raising awareness and enlisting the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members. During the Past President’s luncheon the servicemen; Richard Sanchez, Ken Bosier, & Robert Garrison were honored for their service and dedication to our nation. To conclude the luncheon an American flag that was flown over the United States Capitol on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, was given away to a past President.
Join us for next year’s Joint Convention June 16-18 in Colorado Springs, CO!

For more information on the wounded warrior project please visit:

Second Annual Joint Convention Between Colorado’s Premier Livestock Organizations an Absolute Success!

Over 500 attendees traveled to beautiful Breckenridge, CO to the “Growing for Our Future” Joint Convention to hear informative and thought-provoking presentations from experts across several industries, and to mingle with some of the most influential livestock producers in the state of Colorado.

CLA members listen to intriguing speakers at the Annual Membership Meeting on Wednesday morning.

The joint day, Tuesday, began with a light-hearted, thought-provoking talk by Damian Mason titled “Humor for the Heart of Ag.” Before lunch, attendees heard an enlightening presentation from Andy Gottschalk about the new world economy and growth opportunities for U.S. agriculture in the coming years.

The afternoon breakout speaker sessions brought many mindful ideas that will have producers ruminating for quite some time. Not only did they hear from these speakers, but they also had the opportunity to attend the following presentations:

Creating a Business Culture for Societal Expectations:

In this breakout session, attendees listened to informative presentations from Dr. Chris Ashworth, Dairy Technical Consultant for Elanco Animal Health; and Dr. Tom Parks, Chairman of the Humane Society of the United States’ Agriculture Advisory Council for Colorado.  The session was moderated by Jim Miller, former Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture.

Sustainability – The Triple Bottom Line:

At the Current Issues Breakfast on Wednesday morning panelists representing each species checkoff program updated the audience on current activities being done with their checkoff dollars at both the state and national levels.

Dr. Tom Field from the University of Nebraska, Department of Animal Sciences spoke about the Triple Bottom Line: Economy, Environment, and Society as it relates to livestock production and meeting the challenges in the future!

Balancing Family Expectations with Business Needs: 

Former Director and General Manager of the Microsoft Visual Studio Team System, Rick LaPlante discussed balancing family dynamics while transforming “Family Operations into Agricultural Businesses,” from his perspective as a professional advisor.

On behalf of the represented organizations, including members and staff, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for all of the support we received from the sponsors of this year’s convention. Sponsors are the foundation of a successful event, so we are truly grateful for their support.

Mark your calendar for the 2014 Joint Convention in Colorado Springs, CO at the Marriott Hotel on June 16-18!