Building Ag Production Resilience To Survive Severe Weather Events
Weather extremes cause financial stress that can break farm and ranch operations. Widespread flooding or drought on any given year robs producers of crops to sell while pushing up prices for livestock feed, if it’s even available.
Dr. Laura Lengnick, author of “Resilient Agriculture, Cultivating Food Systems For a Changing Climate,” says agricultural practices and policies are adapting to address severe weather events. Regardless of the debate over what is driving climate change – or whether it is even occurring – many industries are looking at ways to remain viable during and following extreme weather, she explains. Agriculture is an industry that is at high risk when drought and flooding become more frequent and intense.
As a soil scientist, Lengnick has traveled the world to find out what is, and what isn’t, working for farmers and ranchers who manage all types and sizes of operations. She has shared her knowledge with businesses, higher education, government entities, and farmers.
Lengnick spoke at three RMFU-sponsored events held in Colorado this past week. She focused on the topics of weather extremes, building resilience into agricultural production at all levels and in all sectors, and growing a food system that uses local and regional strengths. In addition to using economic and technology tools, communities can build assets using social and natural tools that are often overlooked yet readily at hand, she notes.
She says key resilience practices are already being employed by some Colorado producers. These include building soil health, improving water management, tapping diverse high-value markets, and embracing biodiversity such as cover crops in rotational use.
By Dale McCall RMFU President America’s farming communities are facing an economic crisis. Not since the 1980s have farm incomes declined so far so fast. The Wall Street Journal called it the “next American farm bust” and noted that rural communities are grappling with the steepest economic slide since the Great Depression. Billions of bushels of surplus crops are pushing down the value of U.S. ag products and nations like China are working to shut out American farm exports. Agricultural communities are looking to leaders like Senator Tom Udall for... Read More
WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) is now accepting applications for the 2015 class of the Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI). The annual program is open to individuals who are new to farming, in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or contemplating a career in farming or ranching. “The Beginning Farmers Institute underscores NFU’s commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “One unique feature of the Institute is that participants direct the agenda,... Read More
The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Denver Botanic Gardens, and National Young Farmers Coalition present the second annual Front Range Beginning Farmers Conference! When: Saturday, Feb. 21, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., followed by social time from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Where: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, a working farm at Wadsworth and C-470 Why: The average age of U.S. farmers today is 57. Two acres of farmland are lost every minute. Many young people dream of starting a farm, but lack access to land, capital, education, and training. So let’s... Read More
Saturday, January 10, 2015 – 3rd Annual Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum at the Montrose Pavilion The conference has a wide array of breakout sessions which convey vital, regionally specific agricultural information in areas including maximizing crop and livestock production, innovative agricultural marketing and management strategies, and specialty crops. Please join us in working to improve the sustainable production, marketing and consumption of local food. This year’s theme is Unlocking the Secrets of Raising Great Food. Friday, January 9, 2015 – Seed Save the Rocky Mountains: Fundamentals of Regional Seed Production, a pre-conference workshop... Read More
SAVE THE DATE for Colorado Land Link events! 3rd Annual Land Link Forum March 5-7, 2015 in Southeast Colorado Guidestone is thrilled to bring the 3rd Annual Land Link Forum to Southeast Colorado March 5-7! This year’s forum has three focus areas: 1) providing next generation farmers and ranchers with tools to access land and start or build upon successful agricultural ventures; 2) building the capacity of the Colorado Land Link program in Southeast Colorado; and 3) developing regional and statewide leadership. Additional highlights of the forum will include:... Read More
The view from the family farm of Chad and Carolyn Franke is breathtaking. The entire span of the snow-capped Front Range stands to the west, with Pikes Peak to the south, Longs Peak to the north, and Mount Evans in the middle. A glance to the north reveals the white grain elevator in Roggen, a community along I76. The farm is surrounded by a patchwork quilt of fields and farms. Living on the high plains is a way of life for the Frankes. Running a farm is a business, too.... Read More
Denver, CO, December 4, 2014 – The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) today announced its support for the proposed national monument designation of Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River, located in Chaffee County in Central Colorado. According to the agricultural group, the increased protection and higher profile of a national monument designation would benefit local economies, local agriculture and natural resources. “By permanently protecting Browns Canyon as a national monument, we are protecting one of Colorado’s most precious natural resources while continuing with multiple uses, such as grazing, recreation and... Read More
The Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative is pleased to announce receipt of a grant for $70,000 from the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program. SWFF was the only Colorado recipient of LFPP money, and will use the grant to purchase much-needed refrigeration equipment to be used in the distribution of local farm products in this region. The grant will fund three refrigerated cargo trailers that will be parked strategically throughout the SWFF collection and distribution area, and will function as drop sites for member farms. The refrigerated SWFF delivery truck will collect... Read More