$2 Million For Colorado State Ag Education Center 2/3rds Home

Western Ag Vignettes

Another million needed to launch important project.

Published on: February 19, 2013

In a remarkable show of benevolence, CoBank of Denver has led other Colorado Farm Credit affiliates into a $1 million donation toward Colorado State University's Center for Agricultural Education.

That a great job for the banks – including AgCredit of Greeley, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado in Colorado Springs, and Premier Farm Credit in Sterling – to add to the $1 million already collected, but there remains another $1 million needed.

I know. Everyone has their hands out. Always will, I have decided based on the number of solicitations I get on the phone as I settle into my recliner in the evening to watch Vanna turn those letters.

Ag is hungry for industry bucks, to be sure, and it is with caution that we must pick and choose our funds. Most in ag seem to be solid organizations where the donated cash goes to the right cause, and not a bunch of administrative parties.

I urge sending a Franklin or two, or at least a couple of Jacksons to CSU for this cause, which is a good one. It builds a center where future ag teachers and FFA leaders will be trained, in part, and adds to CSU's over all stable of student facilities.

FFA people are working hard on this center, and deserve our backing.

What's obvious in this solicitation and all the others we increasingly get from the halls of ag science that our role to support public farm education is being handed over big time to the industry (that's us) and without our input, the output becomes kaput.

State budgets are dwindling, to be sure, but it seems to me that USDA has lots of bucks for ag, judging by their liberal Specialty Crops Block Grants and multi-millions that are going via ARS, NRCS and the FSA into the industry.

That's nice, but who know what the next Farm Bill will bring. We can argue that they can't cut off our research dollars when ag is being asked to feed a burgeoning world population, yet the minds of lawmakers are strange indeed.

I have to say that while I am aware of the role organics are playing in meeting consumer desires, it seems to me that too many federal dollars are going to support an industry that will, at best, remain diminutive and cannot really be considered a player on the big ag grid. Some rethinking may be vital here to redirect the funding focus more on the guys who will make the biggest impact on global supply tomorrow.

On another matter, the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association held their comeback conference in Spokane this month, and I would have to  say the PNDSA is strong and getting healthier. Its new certification program has all the garnish of greatness, and I believe it will drive the no-till scene to new levels of recognition by retailers who want conservation-produced product and big Fortune 500s who are seeking a link with sustainable for their own conservation programs.

Go direct seeder!