Federal regulators who shut down a Central California slaughterhouse after receiving an animal welfare video were investigating Tuesday whether beef from sick cows reached the human food supply. The video appears to show workers bungling the slaughter of cows struggling to walk and even stand. Under federal regulations, sick animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption. The investigation will determine whether sick cows were slaughtered and whether meat products from the company should be recalled, a spokesman for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service said. The agency suspended operations Monday at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford after receiving the video Friday from the animal welfare group Compassion Over Killing. The footage shows animals bleeding and thrashing after being repeatedly shot in the head with a pneumatic gun in unsuccessful efforts to render them unconscious for slaughter.
Northwest Colorado 4-H and FFA members look forward to competing in their county fairs. Adults look forward to the fairs, too. Now that the county fairs are over for the year, it’s time to: • Write thank-you notes to Junior Livestock Sale buyers and trophy donors. • Send qualifying General 4-H Projects to State Fair. • Get 4-H and FFA livestock ready to compete at State Fair.
J.D. Sexton’s said his first Moffat County Fair as county extension and 4-H youth agent was a rousing success. “The fair was exceptional this year,” said Sexton, whose duties include coordinating area 4-H programs. “The biggest highlight for me was how hard the kids worked, the quality kids that we have, and all the volunteers and all the time they put in to make this happen.” Though pen requests and animal entries were due July 15, the fair kicked off in earnest late last month at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, with shooting competitions and general projects occupying the early part of the schedule, among other events. Horse and dog shows took center stage during the first week of August, and livestock showing and judging highlighted the later part of last week, which also included live entertainment and games on the fair’s midway.
School will be starting soon, and before long — this year much sooner than ranchers would like — livestock will be moved home from summer pasture. In the meantime, there’s fall cleaning to do, not only in houses but elsewhere around the ranch, too. Fall cleaning around the ranch may include: • Gathering up the empty grain sacks that were supposed to go back to the feed store but instead got left in piles in the building where the grain is stored.
Don't pet the pigs. That's the message state and county fair visitors got Thursday from health officials who reported a five-fold increase of cases of a new strain of swine flu that spreads from pigs to people. Most of the cases are linked to the fairs, where visitors are in close contact with infected pigs. This flu has mild symptoms and it's not really spreading from person to person. "This is not a pandemic situation," said Dr. Joseph Bresee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
8 to 11 a.m. Entry of open class exhibits for all age groups and vocational agriculture entries (entry closes promptly at 11 a.m.) — Pavilion 8 to 11 a.m. Accept homemade beverage entries — Pavilion 10 a.m. to noon. Weigh-in of market sheep and market goats (junior division breeding sheep and breeding goats may also be checked in at this time) — Livestock barn 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check-in of market swine — Swine barn
Four cases of mutilated livestock have been reported in western Colorado, prompting the Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association to offer $500 for any information leading to a conviction.
What do you enjoy about a county fair? For a child, the hit of a fair might be petting the rabbits and ducks, sharing a popsicle with a lamb, and playing in the water and mud around the cattle wash rack. Adults enjoy the judging competitions, checking out the judged exhibits and visiting with neighbors. Fairgoers of every age look forward to cotton candy, funnel cakes and hot dogs.
J.D. Sexton has been around the ranching lifestyle for years. “I’ve just been part of the livestock industry my whole life,” the Laporte native said. “As a youth I was able to be part of 4-H and showed livestock competitively. It’s just been kind of a family thing. My grandfather was actually the extension agent for Larimer County and Fort Collins.” Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Sexton began work June 18 as Colorado State University’s Moffat County Extension and 4-H youth agent. Though daily responsibilities vary, he said a big part of the job involves helping local 4-H programs, in which he said he is “a huge believer.”
Jars of salsa, freshly grown produce, handcrafted knick-knacks. If you can grow it or make it, the Craig Farmers Market wants you. The Farmers Market is in the middle of its high point during the summer months, as patrons turn out Thursday afternoons at its downtown location in Alice Pleasant Park to check out local and regional products. Offering everything from produce like Palisade peaches and Olathe sweet corn to meals like homemade burritos to crocheted clothing items, area growers and artisans always have something new to offer.
Colorado may implement Stage 3 drought plan for agriculture
Three days after examining drought conditions in the Yampa Valley, state officials said Friday plans are in place to up the drought plan from Stage 2 to Stage 3. Taryn Hutchins-Cabibi, drought and climate change technical specialist for the Colorado Water Conservation Board and one of the organizers of Tuesday’s drought tour, said officials took a lot of valuable information away from local ranchers and plan to discuss their recommendation to increase the state drought plan to Stage 3 with Gov. John Hickenlooper soon. Colorado’s drought plan features three stages, one monitoring phase and two response phases, Hutchins-Cabibi said.
Despite an ironically timed thunderstorm, various state officials toured the Yampa Valley on Tuesday, hoping to see firsthand the effect of this summer’s drought. The group included John Salazar, state agriculture commissioner; John Stulp, policy advisor on water; Al White, former Colorado Senator in District 8 and current director of the state tourism office; and representatives from other state and federal agencies. The officials made three stops along the tour to meet with local ranchers and agriculture officials. For White, a Hayden resident, the tour was mostly about showing his colleagues at the state capital what life has been like for ranchers and farmers in the Yampa Valley.
Bubbles big enough to stand inside, shows, a climbing wall, kayaking, and plenty of other special features and contests are all part of the entertainment planned for the 2012 Moffat County Fair, slated for Aug. 5 through 12. The fair will kick off Sunday, Aug. 5 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds covered picnic area with Cowboy Church, featuring Christian Cowboy Poet Fred Ellis. Loretta Earle, of Craig, will sing during the service. Ellis has brought his Cowboy Church to the fair before.
Monty Pilgrim guilty on 15 of 27 counts in district court
Jury deliberations in the trial of Monty Luke Pilgrim, 52, of Little Snake River, resumed this morning at 8 a.m. The jury requested to review a piece of evidence, a videotaped interview between Moffat County Sheriff’s Office livestock investigator Gary Nichols, Pilgrim and Pilgrim’s wife, Michelle. The two-hour interview took place in August 2011 at the Moffat County Public Safety Center following a July 2011 joint investigation between Nichols and Colorado Brand Inspector Brad Ocker.
A jury trial in the case against a Moffat County rancher charged with violating state cattle statutes began this morning in Moffat County District Court. Monty Pilgrim, 52, of Little Snake River, is charged with one count of theft exceeding $20,000, a Class 3 felony; nine counts of theft of certain animals, a Class 4 felony; one count of concealing strays, a Class 6 felony; and one count of wrongful branding, a Class 6 felony. After more than four hours of questioning this morning, the jury pool was narrowed from 25 to 12, plus an alternate.