Ninth Annual Arkansas Valley Farm/Ranch/Water Symposium recap

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From the Bent County Democrat (Bette McFarren):

Stephen Koontz, associate professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics led off the morning with the economic and commodity outlook. He was followed by Russell Tomky’s “Ag Finance in Southeast Colorado.” Tomky is president and chief executive officer of Farm Credit of Southern Colorado.

Jefferey Tranel of C.S.U. spoke next on the subject of risk management. Brian Bledsoe, chief meteorologist at KKTV 11 News, enlightened the group on what may be expected of the weather in 2013 (more drought).

The afternoon saw Grady Grissom, manager/partner at Rancho Largo Co., an academic turned ranch manager, speak of the fundamental wisdom of maximum ecosystem health, a lesson learned from hard experience and the advice of more experienced ranchers. Grissom went from maximum stocking to paying more attention to his grass. From 2004 to now he has learned that it takes grass to make water, you can hold moisture with grass and grass actually acts as fertilizer. Ecological health builds resilience in drought. His second business plan maintains grass reserve, prefers livestock that performs well in dry conditions and keeps a capital reserve. He advises limiting the herd early instead of waiting until you have to sell. Plant and animal diversity and balance is the key to survival.

Chris Woodka of the Pueblo Chieftain shared some of the insights he has gained through many years of reporting water news. When he first started, the crunch was on the growing cities to have enough municipal water for their expanding population. As the years went on, it became evident that there is also an agricultural water shortage…

Anna Maus of the Colorado Water Conservancy Board is responsible for marketing the CWCB Water Project Loan Program offered to agricultural, municipal and commercial borrowers throughout the State of Colorado. She appeared with Taryn Finnessey, who works on drought planning and climate change for the Colorado Water Conservation Board. She provides technical assistance to water providers and users throughout Colorado in the development, implementation and monitoring of drought mitigation planning programs.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

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