You might have seen them as you were driving along highways in the county, such as north Highway 13 or west Highway 40. They’re little billboards printed with the following message: “If you ate today, thank a rancher or farmer.” These little signs are an example of one of the projects taken on by the Moffat County Farm Bureau Federation. The organization meets year-round.
This time of year, most of us are farmers at heart. It doesn’t matter what we plant, where we plant it, or the size of the planting area. We just like to garden. We enjoy getting our hands in the soil, planting seeds, and watching the tiny leaves pop through the ground.
If the heat is getting greater, then you’re bound to see an oasis somewhere, whether real or imagined. But, one such business bearing that name is definitely not a figment of your imagination. The Oasis of Craig has set up its summer location in the parking lot of the Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way. The plant nursery, owned by Anthony and Gloria Martin, is now in its second year of business.
This letter is written regarding the ranching dispute with Monty Pilgrim as the defendant. Having grown up with generations of ranching family and currently surrounded by ranching neighbors, I can appreciate the various aspects of this case. For example, I know that sometimes tacit and imperfect arrangements come into existence over years, for dealing with ongoing issues. Cows crawl under fences and wander and mingle back and forth both directions between properties.
In a location that has seen several food entrepreneurs come and go, the latest tenant is still cooking up a storm after the rocky first few months. Since opening in January, The Burger Shack has made its mark on the local restaurant scene. Located within Mathers Club, 420 Yampa Ave., the small grilling operation features a menu that includes hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and of course, hamburgers, in addition to a wide selection of appetizers. Owner Michelle Reed said she focuses on providing patrons of the establishment with something that would go well with a drink.
When my sisters, brother and I were growing up on the ranch, we didn’t get much in the way of “store-bought” groceries. The family raised most everything. Vegetables and some fruits were grown, harvested and canned. We had our own meat and eggs.
A Moffat County rancher charged with violating state cattle statutes will be tried by jury beginning July 9. Monty Luke Pilgrim, 51, of Little Snake River, is charged in Moffat County District Court 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 estrays, a Class 6 felony; and one count of wrongful branding, a Class 6 felony. In a pretrial conference Wednesday, Judge Michael O’Hara confirmed the jury trial and set the ground rules for jury selection, opening statements and witness examinations. O’Hara said he will randomly select 25 residents for the panel and prosecutors and the defense would each be able to remove six from jury duty, which would leave 12 jurors plus an alternate.
Approximately 175 fourth-graders and their teachers gathered April 26 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds to participate in Ag Day, an annual agriculture awareness event. Sponsored by the Moffat County Cattlewomen, Ag Day’s purpose is to give students a chance to experience agriculture through exhibits and demonstrations, some of which were interactive. This year, Sunset, Sandrock and Ridgeview elementary schools attended the event. Students and teachers reported to the fairgrounds at appointed times — Sandrock and Ridgeview attended in the morning and Sunset in the afternoon.
Animals in 4-H and FFA market beef were weighed-in and tagged earlier this year. So now it’s time for Weigh-in and Tag Day for the other market animals. On Wednesday, market sheep and market goats will be weighed and tagged from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and market swine will have their Weigh-In and Tag Day from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. To show or sell a market animal at the Moffat County Fair, all 4-H/FFA members enrolled in market sheep, goat, and/or swine projects are required to have their animals weighed and tagged on the designated days.
Calving season is winding down and ranchers are turning their attention to branding. During elementary school presentations, retired Moffat County Brand Inspector Floyd Martin tells students that brands are like return addresses — that’s how ranchers get their cattle back if they stray. So, branding is an important ranch job, indeed, especially since it won’t be long until cattle will be turned out onto summer pasture. Branding varies somewhat from ranch to ranch.
It may take explosives to dislodge a group of cows that wandered into an old ranger cabin high in the Rocky Mountains, then died and froze solid when they couldn't get out. The carcasses were discovered by two Air Force Academy cadets when they snow-shoed up to the cabin in late March. Rangers believe the animals sought shelter during a snowstorm and got stuck and weren't smart enough to find their way out. The cabin is located near the Conundrum Hot Springs, a nine-mile hike from the Aspen area in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area. Michael Carroll, a spokesman for the Wilderness Society in Colorado, said cattle are often allowed to wander on federal wilderness lands as long as ranchers get a permit from the Forest Service, and sometimes the animals get separated from the herd.
Some of my fondest memories of growing up on the ranch involve playing with my sisters. (Our brother came along when I was 14, so I didn’t get to play with him.) Most of our play involved imagination. Sometimes I wonder what we girls would have thought of all the electronic toys on the market today. We didn’t even have electricity on the ranch until (I’m guessing) I was at least 10, so there was no television, though we did have a battery-powered radio. We lived 23 miles from Craig but didn’t go to town as often as people would now.
The Raftopoulos name has been synonymous with Moffat County ranching for almost a century. The family is best known for its connection to the sheep industry. But on March 31, John Raftopoulos, 60, of Raftopoulos Ranches, was recognized as the 2011 Promoter of the Year by the Colorado Angus Association for his ability to raise some of the best performing, high-altitude Angus cattle in Colorado. Raftopoulos Ranches expanded into the commercial and registered Angus seed stock business 10 years ago.
Moffat County 4-H is looking for project leaders in the following General 4-H project areas: • Forestry, wildlife, outdoor adventures, and sport fishing. • Model rocketry. • Small engines. • Woodworking. • Baking/foods and nutrition.
Governors of three states got up close with "pink slime" Thursday, touching and examining treated beef at a plant and eating hamburgers made with it in a bid to persuade grossed-out consumers and grocery stores the product is safe to consume. The three governors and two lieutenant governors spent about a half hour learning about the process of creating finely-textured lean beef in a tour of the main plant that makes the product, then blasted the media for scaring consumers with a moniker coined by critics.