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Farm News & Views - September 20, 2022

September 18th to the 24th is National Farm Safety week, which aims to remind farmers about the importance of following safe practices on the farm. But it’s also a good time to remind non-farmers to share rural highways and roads safely with farm equipment and livestock. Modern farm equipment is often oversize in width, and slower that regular motor vehicles, while a herd of livestock is often unpredictable in their movements, so slowing down when approaching either of these impediments will save injury to equipment operators, damage and injury to vehicle drivers and injury and suffering to animals. A Successful Farming Magazine article suggests that farm and ranch families have first aid kits in every vehicle, fire extinguishers on all equipment and in workshops, and that everyone knows how to use them properly. Which reminds me, I need to make sure that my shop extinguisher is fully charged. Other suggestions include using seat belts while operating tractors, keeping guards in place on machinery, making sure that everyone on the farm knows where electrical equipment power shutoff switches are located, storing pesticides securely and out of reach of children, and using masks when working in dusty conditions.

Last week, the Colorado Gaming Commission approved an $11.4 million distribution to the Colorado Water Plan. The first Colorado Water Plan was released in 2015, to serve as the state's framework for solutions to the state's water challenges. The Colorado Water Conservation Board creates and manages the Plan's framework, but it has suffered from low investment from state government. Initially, the water plan, issued in 2015, was projected to require $20 billion in investments, coming from higher water rates, federal grants and loans, and severance tax collections, but the state’s projected investment of $100 million per year has not panned out. However, with $11.4 million from gaming, $17 million from oil and gas severance tax revenues, and $10 million in general fund revenues in the 2022-23 state budget, there may be enough funds to begin working on the 2023 Water Plan vision, that’s focused on Vibrant Communities, Robust Agriculture, Thriving Watersheds, and Resilient Planning.

With the Fall Equinox arriving on Thursday this week, we know that frost is not far off, so growth in crop fields, pastures and home lawn and gardens will be slowing down before a hard freeze shuts off growth. But agronomists point out that late summer and early fall are good times to conduct soil samples. This allows time to amend soils before crops or gardens are planted in the spring. Instructions for proper soil sampling methods, how to handle the samples after collection and where to send them for analysis is available on extension web sites or at local county extension offices.

American motivational author William Arthur Ward wrote, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Bob has been an agricultural educator and farm and ranch management consultant for over 40 years in southwest Colorado. He writes about agricultural issues from his farm near Cortez, and has helped to produce farm reports on KSJD for more than a dozen years.