Diverting Water from Missouri River to Colorado in Pipeline, Melting an Iceberg, Among Ideas for Arid West
December 11, 2012

Denver Post:
Importing water from the Missouri River to Colorado’s semi-arid Front Range has emerged as an option western states are considering to deal with increasing overuse of the Colorado River.

That diversion is listed as a long-term possibility after review of more than 100 sometimes far-fetched ideas submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Among them: “Towing an iceberg wrapped in some type of plastic to California and capturing the meltwater”; tapping the Mississippi River; and “filling large nylon water bags” in Alaska for distribution down south.

Bureau of Reclamation officials on Tuesday said the “Missouri River Reuse Project” will be evaluated for feasibility following the release in coming weeks of a federal government study on water supply for the West.

“The state of Colorado has not taken a formal position on the pipeline or any of the options,” Colorado Department of Natural Resources spokesman Todd Hartman said.

The Missouri diversion described in Bureau of Reclamation documents would require a pipeline across Kansas, with water used to fill surface reservoirs and recharge depleted aquifers along the way to metro Denver.

It would convey 600,000 acre-feet of water a year depending on Midwestern needs. An acre-foot has been regarded as enough water to sustain two families of four for a year.

“Water would likely be stored in Front Range reservoirs such as Rueter-Hess, Carter, Barr and Chatfield,” a project summary said. “Colorado may choose to construct new reservoirs or enlarge existing reservoirs for the project.”

Some water could also be directed to the headwaters of the Colorado River Basin through pipelines and tunnels when there is great need to relieve drought in the basin, the summary continued.

Beyond political hurdles, such a project would cost billions.

“The idea of constructing conveyances to move water resources between other basins and the Colorado has been raised before and was once again submitted as an idea in this process,” Bureau of Reclamation public affairs chief Dan DuBray said in a statement. “Any proposal will be evaluated for feasibility, broad support and realistic funding potential before further consideration would be given.”

Obama Says Feds Will Buy Up Excess Meat to Prop Up Prices
August 13, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) – The government will buy up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken and catfish to help drought-stricken farmers, the White House said Monday as President Barack Obama brought his re-election campaign to rural voters in Iowa.
The purchase for food banks and other federal food nutrition programs is expected to help producers struggling with the high cost of feed during the worst drought in a quarter-century.
Federal law allows the Agriculture Department to buy meat and poultry products to help farmers and ranchers affected by natural disasters.
The announcement came as Obama criticized Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for blocking a farm bill that could help farmers cope with the drought. Obama touted his efforts to help farmers as he began a three-day tour of the battleground state he won in 2008.
“The purchases will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA nutrition programs,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

Moran Blasts USDA for “Meatless Mondays” UPDATE: USDA Backing Off?
July 25, 2012

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is not a big fan of the Department of Agriculture’s new “Meatless Mondays”.
“Never in my life would I have expected USDA to be opposed to farmers and ranchers,” Sen. Moran said.
Moran’s office says last week, the USDA started encouraging employees at its Washington headquarters to take part in “Meatless Monday” in the USDA cafeterias. The flyer says it would improve you health and improve the impact.
Here’s a segment of it:
“One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the “Meatless Monday” initiative http://www.meatlessmonday.com/. This international effort, as the name implies, encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays. Meatless Monday is an initiative of The Monday Campaign Inc. in association with the John Hopkins School of Public Health.”
“How will going meatless one day of the week help the environment? The production of meat, especially beef (and dairy as well), has a large environmental impact. According to the U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change. It also wastes resources. It takes 7,000 kg of grain to make 1,000 kg of beef.”
Moran says he’s going to ask Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack why the USDA is ‘demonizing an industry”, in Moran’s words, when farmers and ranchers are struggling with the drought.
Politco says Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is also “chewing out the Agriculture Department for promoting “Meatless Mondays”.
“”Shame USDA. One has to wonder whether the Dept of Ag supports Iowa farmers since it is promoting ‘meatless Monday’ for USDA employees. Grassley said Wednesday night on Twitter. “I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt a meatless Monday.”
The Agriculture Department — which is supposed to promote agricultural products, including meat — said Wednesday the posting promoting “Meatless Mondays” was made “without proper clearance,” according to the Associated Press. As part of an internal agency newsletter, employers were given tips on how to reduce the environmental impact while eating at the department’s cafeteria. The department removed the posting after the National Cattleman’s Beef Association denounced it in a news release.

All 114 Missouri Counties Designated Drought Disaster Areas
July 17, 2012

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says the entire state has been designated a primary natural disaster area because of the 2012 drought.
That means farmers, cattlemen and others will have access to low-interest loans and other help from the Department of Agriculture.
“This designation can help livestock and crop farmers across the state who are suffering great losses because of the heat and lack of rain,” said Gov. Nixon, who is surveying damage at farms in Lewis, Atchison and Polk counties Tuesday. “We’re going to continue to stand with farmers during this ongoing disaster and afterward, to help with their recovery. This designation is another part of that process.”
82 Counties in Kansas have the same designation.
Almost the entire western third of Kansas is categorized as being in an extreme drought.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback also started an extensive multi-day tour of counties hit hard by the long, dry spell. He was in Saline County on Tuesday.

Nixon Asks Feds for Drought Disaster Help
July 10, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 114 Missouri counties agriculture disaster areas because of drought conditions.

Nixon’s office says in a release that if the counties are designated as agriculture disasters, farmers in those counties would be able to receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. The federal aid would also include emergency loans for losses to crops and livestock from the ongoing drought.

A recent assessment from the Farm Service Agency found that the 114 Missouri counties met the disaster threshold.

Drought conditions have been persisting across most of Missouri. High temperatures, low humidity and a lack of snow last fall and winter have contributed to the difficult conditions for Missouri farmers and ranchers.