Colorado farmers and ranchers share nutrient and water quality best management practices

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    By Robin Young
    PREVIEW Columnist
    Across Colorado, farmers and ranchers are using best management practices to help keep nutrients out of lakes and streams and improve Colorado’s water quality.
    These forward-thinking producers believe the most effective way to reach agriculture and achieve the best results is through outreach and voluntary action. Their stories and resources are now available to help other producers care for Colorado’s waterways.
    The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Colorado Department of Agriculture announce the release of Colorado Ag Water Quality, an outreach project developed by Colorado State University (CSU) Extension. The resources, found at www.ColoradoAgNutrients.org, include videos, a factsheet and publications on nutrient and water quality management.
    Across the United States, nitrogen and phosphorus have the potential to accumulate in waterways, causing water quality issues such as algal blooms, fish kills and impaired drinking water supplies. Colorado Regulation 85 currently addresses nutrient concentrations in surface water by encouraging the adoption of best management practices.
    “Myself, along with a number of other agricultural entities, became aware of it [Regulation 85] and were actively engaged in the stakeholder discussions until it was adopted by the Water Quality Control Commission in 2012,” stated Bill Hammerich, CEO of the Colorado Livestock Association.
    Regulation 85 sets a 2022 time line for evaluation of this voluntary approach for reducing nutrient pollution in surface waterways. Additional regulations may be considered, depending on the success of these voluntary efforts. Colorado’s farmers and ranchers have responded by working proactively to safeguard Colorado’s waterways.
    “Many farmers and ranchers are already using some of the latest and greatest agricultural technologies and best management practices to produce the world’s food, fuel, and fiber in the most sustainable ways possible,” explained Colorado Corn Growers Association President Dave Eckhardt, a Weld County farmer. “However, in order to preserve agriculture’s nonregulated status, we have to figure out how to quantify the progress we’ve made over recent decades in terms of managing the entire land-water-nutrient picture, and also share that data to show how we achieved these successes.”
    Visit www.ColoradoAgNutrients.org to find out more about how Colorado’s farmers and ranchers are working to improve nutrient management and Colorado’s water quality.
    Colorado Master Gardener program
    The Extension office is accepting applications for the Colorado Master Gardener classes that will start Jan. 25 and run every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Applications can be picked up at the Extension office and are due by Dec. 22. Late applications will not be accepted. Please contact the Extension office for more information or come by to pick up an application.
    Archuleta County 4-H food drive
    Archuleta County 4-H clubs are hosting a food drive during the months of November and December. Members are encouraged to bring items to their club meetings, where leaders will keep a running total of items collected.
    The club that collects the most items earns points to our Club of the Year contest. If you would like to help out the clubs, contact a 4-H member that you know and have them pick up the items from you to bring to their next club meeting.
    CPR and first aid classes
    CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
    We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations.
    Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.