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Farm News & Views for the week of July 1, 2024

In November of 2024, a new Animal Health Inspection Service rule is set to be enforced that will require livestock producers to have affixed electronic identification ear tags to animals older than 18 months that are shipped across state lines. The rule is ostensibly written to allow for traceability of animals in case of disease outbreaks, but Wyoming Senators Cynthis Lummis and John Barrasso have introduced legislation to overturn the rule using a process known as a Congressional Review Act, that allows Congress to overturn executive branch rules if both chambers pass the bill. Wyoming Representative Harriet Hageman, introduced a House version of the bill along with 14 Republican cosponsors. She contends that the Animal Health Inspection Service rule is a “solution in search of a problem” that will advance a federal mandate that the ranching community will be left paying for, and that there is nothing wrong with our traditional disease traceability system..”

So far this growing season, cow-calf producers are seeing favorable summer grazing conditions for most of the U.S. Last week, the USDA reported that Pasture and range conditions were rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 25% fair, 57% good and 14% excellent, which is much better than the last couple of years when drought conditions in the Great Plains lead to cow-calf producers culling, rather than building herds. However, abnormally dry soils and moderate drought conditions are affecting dry land field crop production in the Four Corners Region, most of Arizona and New Mexico, the Great Plains, a large swath of the Corn Belt and in the southeast. As drought conditions worsen in North Carolina, agronomists report that much of the state’s corn crop is going to be a total loss.

A Farm Doc Daily Gardner Policy Series study caught my attention recently with a report concerning the impact of high food prices on consumers. The report found that although consumers were frustrated by high food prices, most felt that grocery store prices were fair, especially at dollar stores and discount grocery stores such as Aldi. About a third of the respondents indicated they were going to these types of stores more often than before. But the same was not true at restaurants, where about half of the consumers felt prices were unfair, especially for fast food restaurants, with about half them stating that they had reduced their frequency of visits due to increased prices. But the study also found that consumers were most accepting of price increases if the reason was to accommodate increased ingredient costs or an increase for employee wages, but they were generally not willing to accept price hikes if I they were used to increase profitability for the companies that owned the stores.

After a covert monitoring operation that included observations from the air, ground, remote cameras, plus public sightings, it has been confirmed that at least one wolf pup has been whelped in Grand County by wolves introduced into western Colorado last December. But, there are no photos or videos available at this time, according to Colorado Parks & Recreation biologists, and they don’t know if other pups may be present in the den. Sounds more like a CIA OP than a Parks and Recreation project.

British Statesman Winston Churchill said, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

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.