LARIMER COUNTY AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY BOARD
November 9, 2016
Present: Jason Brothers, Tim Clouse, Lew Gaiter, Charles Gindler (liaison), Brenda Gimeson (liaison), Steve Johnson, Gail Meisner, Greg Schreiner, Jon Slutsky, and Bill Spencer (ex-officio). Guests: Terry Gilbert, Community Development Director, Alex Castino, Larimer County Open Lands, and Heather Schinkel, Colorado Conservation Exchange.
Absent: Sam Adams (liaison), Jennifer Bornhoft (liaison), Karen Crumbaker (liaison), Sarah Fox, Debra Herston, Nic Koontz, Minerva Lee, Val Manning, Richard Seaworth, Ted Swanson, Zach Thode, and George Wallace.
I. Greg Schreiner called the meeting to order at 12:32 p.m.
II. The September 14, 2016 minutes could not be adopted due to lack of quorum at this meeting. The September minutes will be reconsidered next meeting.
III. Greg Schreiner welcomed both Commissioner Gaiter and Commissioner Johnson to the meeting and thanked them for coming. Interaction with the Commissioner took place about the following topics:
Ø Fair Board Liaison/member possibilities. There is some concern that families at the fair felt that agriculture was not well represented. Some members of the AAB would like to see about possibly having either a liaison or a member from the AAB on the Fair Board. Commissioner Johnson asked why someone doesn’t just apply. He wanted members to know this is a working committee and a big commitment around fair time plus monthly meetings. He mentioned his experience with liaisons is they don’t feel as connected and he would rather see someone as a full member but would be open to having a liaison if that is desired. The Fair Board doesn’t have a set membership number, so if applied as a member, you wouldn’t be taking an available seat from someone else. Applications are due soon. If this groups chooses to do a liaison, talk amongst it as a group and let Lew know how the AAB would like to proceed. The BCC would be the one to appoint the liaison if that is the route chosen.
Ø Greg Schreiner asked the Board how they kept informed of so many issues. They responded that they get it in a variety of way, including but not limited to staff, citizen meetings, individual citizen calls/emails, etc. An example would be the Boxelder project for which this Board had an interest. The BCC received regular briefings from staff and liaison groups. The Commissioners stated they generally specialize in certain topics because it is so hard to keep up with everything and that way they have people they can talk to or call if they need information on a particular topic. They indicated they are very accessible. They also attend a lot of Boards and Commission meetings and stated how important the advisory board are for getting information.
Ø Roundabouts in rural areas: The AAB continues to express concerns about the function of roundabouts in rural areas and how hard they are to maneuver large equipment, trailers, trucks etc. The Commissioners suggested to get Rusty McDaniel back to a meeting for further discussion.
Ø Pricing information implementation: Greg Schreiner wanted the BCC to know that the AAB will be implementing a current pricing update for ag products at the meetings. The hope is this will help everyone get a handle on what is happening out there. Commissioner Gaiter engaged the AAB on animal feeders pricing and the effects on lower pricing.
Ø AAB members also stated they noticed a fence went up around Horton feedlot and wondered if that was a new regulation? Commissioner Gaiter explained that it was part of their approval and a complaint was filed to force it to happen. The AAB members expressed to the Commissioners how important the feedlot is to this area. They stated that feedlots and dairies are a staple for this ag economy. It is where we can get right priced fertilizers, they buy our products etc. This area would be much more difficult to farm in without them and others in the area.
Ø Greg Schreiner informed the Commissioners that the AAB will be coming sometime in the spring with some presentations about housing/immigration, rural broadband and the evolution of ag.
IV. Updates from AAB members:
Jon Slutsky reported that dairy prices are moving up but they are a little volatile right now. Cheese prices are pretty high now and that right now they are giving away calves. The only reason dairies are making it right now is that feed is cheaper. It is scary times for farmers right now. There are a lot of responsibilities and risks right now.
Greg Schreiner reported he feels good about the upcoming broadband and immigration reports but doesn’t know much about the ag evolution report.
Greg Schreiner indicated he would like to put someone in charge of pricing updates, but there were not enough members at the meeting for discussion. He will provide the update for the next meeting.
Charlie Gindler gave an update on the grazing leases for Open Lands. They went out to bid and they did have a couple of turnovers. The new leases are for 5-years with an option for an additional 5-years. He also stated he will be retiring and Travis Rollins will be taking over his position with the AAB.
V. Alex Castino from Larimer County Open Lands gave a presentation on the recent Malchow Farms purchase in Berthoud. She provided information on how the purchase evolved, the important features on the property, and how the purchase and the alternative water transfers were structured. She stated that if the AAB was interested in a tour of the property to learn more about it, she would be more than happy to arrange it.
VI. Heather Schinkel, Director, gave a presentation about the Colorado Conservation Exchange--its purpose and goals. She also had several questions for the AAB such as: what impact their ag operations saw during the High Park Fire, how they think about water in their business, what do ag producers perceive as the risk of wildfire to water and their business, what is the potential for ag producers to invest in the Exchange, how important are benefit calculations, and how best can the Exchange meet with the larger ag producers to further explore these questions. Members indicated that dirty water clogging lines was a problem during the High Park Fire. As far as anything else, the suppliers would be the better contacts for her.
VII. The meeting was adjourned.
The next AAB meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.