Rural Living

Let USDA know how you feel about its farm programs

If you ever had an idea on how to improve the USDA, this is your chance to get it out there. The American Farm Bureau Federation is conducting a survey to determine how well USDA programs serve farmers and ranchers. You don't have to be a Farm Bureau member to participate. The survey is open to all farmers, ranchers, and producers nationwide.

According to the Farm Bureau, your feedback and comments will remain anonymous. 

Take the survey.

Score one for the land - the bison have returned

Every now and then, something turns out really right. I would add the return of genetically pure bison to our very own Soapstone Prairie Natural Area to that category. Don't try to attend, however. According to the Denver Post, spectator spaces are already filled for Sunday's release of the bison to the prairie.

Read the full Denver Post story about the return of the bison.

Developer, council member dreams big on road to national medals

I wonder what the Fort Collins City Council, or even the Larimer County Commissioners in charge of surrounding areas, will do with the challenge tossed out by city council member Gino Campana as he explores Fort Collins' path to a gold-medal-winning community. Phrases like “urban farming”, “demonstration gardens”, “community gardens” and “locally produced” accepted at a national level are words of hope. I’d like to call “ease land use regulations around urban animal husbandry” icing on the cake. However, since we are promoting somewhat-healthy lifestyles, let’s just call it “locally-produced strawberry jam over farm brie on homemade whole wheat bread with a farm cider chaser and a couple of homegrown tomatoes”. Dreaming big: Tax breaks and grants for micro-producers? What about an easy way to sell farm wines? More micro-neighborhood farmers markets? Going wild, we could even embrace the value of manure (don't laugh), the importance of rural heritage and history, resurrect the Code of the West and (you fill in the blank) ___________________________. 

Recommended: 'Building a horse property from the ground up'

I wanted nothing more than to wake up at 6 a.m., wander out in my pajamas to feed my horses, and stand -- cup of coffee in hand -- watching them munch hay. I’m not kidding.
-- Michelle Anderson,

File this article on building a horse property in your bookmarks in case you ever find yourself planning a personal horse facility. It is the most concise, on-point article I've found on the subject, and will save you from many common errors in horse ownership.

Read also:

Fencing fracas: Tips for sanity

Horse fencing: Do it right and skip the 1,348-acre brush fire

Deceased: Brand inspector Lyle David Horn, age 54

Our condolences go out to the family of brand inspector Lyle David Horn, Wellington, Colorado, who passed away suddenly June 15 of sudden cardiac death. Many thanks to The Coloradoan staff for doing the research to confirm this information. Our brand inspectors are very busy people and help keep the agricultural economy alive. Thank you, Mr. Horn, for your service.

Local produce stands give the neighborhood 'feel'

Applause for Deb Neely, recently featured in The Denver Post. To me, a neighborhood full of little stands featuring everybody's creative gardening and garden products is a sign of a healthy community. 

"Everybody should have access to nutritious, organic food, and it should be affordable. A lot of what I'm trying to do is set an example here to inspire people to grow their own food as well — I don't want to be the only one doing this."
- Deb Neely, urban farmer

Here in Fort Collins, it will b interesting to see how the much-contested English Ranch Park Community Garden fares.

Check out our Flower Farm at Poudre River Stables.