Agriculture is the single biggest economic driver in Southeast Colorado. With an evolving industry, it is necessary for producers to stay on top of developments related to their farms and ranches. The 2nd Annual Southeast Crops and Livestock Expo (SCALE) provides those interested in agriculture an opportunity to hear from experts in areas directly affecting the success of agriculture. SCALE is Friday, February 2 at the Lamar Community College Wellness Center beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Agriculture technology is developing rapidly. Jaron Hinkley of Barn Owl Drone Service will provide a look at drone mapping capabilities. Lamar Community College Agriculture Department Head Greg Cash said, "You don't have to take out a loan to use a drone to collect some very useful data. With an average drone and affordable software, the sky is the limit! Jaron can share what drone he uses and insight to some great software."
There is a lot of uncertainty in agriculture due to discussions in Washington, D.C. SCALE features a legislative forum with Lee Swenson, Senator Michael Bennet's Senior Advisor on Colorado Rural Policy, and Andy Merritt, Senator Cory Gardner's State Director.
Dr. Linda Lujan, LCC President, said, "Southeast Colorado relies on our elected officials to understand the interests and needs of farm and ranch families in order to ensure their voices are heard during important policy and legislative discussions in Washington D.C. Unless the Senators and their representatives get out to talk with us, they often don't know what's important to this region of the state. We are pleased they are making time to be here."
Other featured speakers include KWGN Channel 2 Meteorologist Matt Makens. He will provide a 2018 weather outlook and offer details on the best resources available to farmers and ranchers related to weather forecasting. Also, Colorado State University Ag Economists will look at expectations for the commodity markets this year.
This year, SCALE will add a breakout session where event-goers can choose between a crop, livestock, or federal program focus. Extension Agent Kelly Roesch describes the crop focus, "Colorado Wheat Executive Director Brad Erker will be presenting on the wheat varieties offered from Plains Gold including the CoAxium wheat production system varieties Incline AX and LCS Fusion that were recently developed by Colorado State University. Incline AX and LCS Fusion AX are resistant to the herbicide Aggressor, which is highly effective for selective control of winter annual grassy weeds in the wheat crop." In the livestock breakout, Greg Niles from the CSU Rocky Ford Diagnostic Lab will discuss native plants that are toxic to livestock and the importance of testing nitrate levels of forages. The federal program breakout will feature local NRCS personnel on the farm bill and 9 programs and FSA officials will give an overview of the Livestock Indemnity Program, Farm Program Requirements, Conservation Reserve Program, and farm loan programs.
Attending SCALE is free. The event begins with a free breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Presentations will begin shortly after. Lunch will be served by the Lamar FFA Chapter as a fundraiser for the chapter's programming. The event should conclude at 3:30 p.m.