LARIMER COUNTY AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY BOARD
January 9, 2013
Members present: David Bee, Curtis Bridges, Lew Gaiter, LuAnn Goodyear, Lew Grant, Debra Herston, Minerva Lee, Val Manning, Gail Meisner, John Rankin, George Reed, Mike Salaz, Richard Seaworth, Jon Slutsky, Zach Thode, and George Wallace. Others present: Karen Crumbaker (CSU Extension liaison) , Brenda Gimeson (Staff liaison, Larimer County Planning & Building Division), Charles Gindler (Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, liaison), and Bill Spencer (liaison). Guest: Donnie Dustin, City of Fort Collins and Maxine Weaver.
I. David Bee called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m.
II. Introductions were made. Two new Board Members, Debra Herston and Zach Thode, were introduced.
III. The November 14, 2012 AAB Meeting Minutes were approved.
IV. Commissioner Gaiter provided some background information on a potential gift to Larimer County of the 16,500 acre Roberts Ranch. Based on public interest to this gift, Commissioner Gaiter asked the AAB, “What kind of things should the Board of County Commissioners be considering if they were to accept a donation of a large cattle ranch?” Comments from the AAB were gathered in a list to be shared with the County Commissioners. Commissioner Gaiter concluded the discussion by saying if Larimer County accepts the gift, the Commissioners will ask for input from the AAB on how to manage a working cattle ranch.
V. Donnie Dustin from the City of Fort Collins discussed the future water rental of Colorado-Big Thompson water to irrigators in Larimer County, which includes some possible exchanges and ag swaps. The drought and wildfires of 2012 impacted the ability to provide water to the City of Fort Collins. When the Poudre River turned black with ash following the fires, one-half of the water supply was in question. The City of Fort Collins did not take water from the Poudre River for three months following the fires.
VI. The election of 2013 officers took place:
Curtis Bridges - Chairperson
John Rankin - Vice Chairperson
Gail Meisner - Secretary
VII. The AAB members split into four working groups to work on the Recommended 2013 Work Plan:
· Public Education and Outreach - Val Manning, Chair, Curtis Bridges, LuAnn Goodyear, Todd Boldt (liaison), Karen Crumbaker (liaison)
· Ag. Land Preservation and Stewardship - Lew Grant, Chair, Debra Herston, John Rankin, Jennifer Bornhoft (liaison), Charlie Gindler (liaison), Bill Spencer (liaison)
· Water Availability - Richard Seaworth, Chair, David Bee, Minerva Lee, Zach Thode, George Wallace (Co-chair)
· Legislative and Public Policy - Gail Meisner, Chair, George Reed, Jon Slutsky
The updated work plan will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners for acceptance at a future meeting. Curtis asked John Rankin to periodically touch base with the Chair of each committee to determine where they are in their plan of work, and John will report out the updates to the group.
VIII. Discussion and consideration of modification or exemption of fire bans in Larimer County involving agriculture. The use of fire is an effective weed control method in agriculture. The committee would like to see an agricultural exemption when a fire ban is in place. Richard suggested the County Commissioners provide advanced notice when a fire ban will be placed. The committee would like to have someone from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment speak at a future AAB meeting about the process for fire permits.
IX. Charlie Gindler discussed the use of round-up ready alfalfa in Larimer County. He asked if it should be allowed on open space. George Wallace commented that it could lead to resistant varieties. The committee would like someone with a research background in round-up ready alfalfa to speak at a future meeting.
X. The next AAB meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the CSU Larimer County Extension Office, 1525 Blue Spruce Drive, Fort Collins, CO.
· Colorado Farmers Union Legislative Day at the Capital will be February 7, 2013.
· Suggested speakers - Representative Randy Fischer; Larimer County Department of Health and Environment regarding fire permits; Harvest Farm about agri-tourism; and Nolan Doesken, Colorado State University, about the drought.
XII. The meeting was adjourned at 3:27 p.m.