Agri-Women Gun Raffle Winner Announced

Saturday, September 24th, the Colorado Agri-Women held their raffle drawing. Jamie Clark of Karval was the lucky winner of the hand gun. Congratulations Jamie and thank-you to everyone who supported the Colorado Agri-Women raffle. Pictured left to right: Becky Ravenkamp, CAW President; Dianne Clark, CAW Treasurer; Janell Reid, CAW Past President; Wyatt Leonard, raffle ticket drawer; and Jamie Clark, winner.

African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program

Monday September 19th the Colorado Agri-Women hosted eight women from six African countries as part of the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program titled “African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program”. The eight women are agriculture leaders in their own countries with varying backgrounds. The group included the Coordinator of the Association of Women Farmers in Nigeria, the owner / operator of a milk processing plant, several who were involved in food processing and exporting and one was the maker of the first fish sausage.

The visit was held at the farm of Becky Ravenkamp, Colorado Agri-Women President. The group started by viewing the modern U.S. farm equipment. “It was surprising to see how the women reacted to our farm equipment. I think for some, the highlight of the entire trip was riding in the tractor. One of the women from Nigeria said now that she has seen the equipment she can dream about it and try to get equipment like this on her farm. It was humbling to think she will go home dreaming of our farm equipment,” Ravenkamp said. After looking and riding in farm equipment the group entered fields of sunflowers, proso millet, and corn, common crops in eastern Colorado. This was the first time some of the visitors had seen sunflowers and proso being grown. One of the Nigerian farm women grows corn on her farm and this presented an opportunity to talk about U.S. crop breeding and bioengineering over lunch provided by the Colorado Agri-Women.

When asked what she would take away from the cultural exchange, Ravenkamp said, “Meeting with these ladies brought two things to mind. First, was how similar we are, and the other was the many different agriculture challenges they have. Talking with these ladies you realize they are mothers working for a better future for their children, just like us, and they have some of the same challenges in agriculture that we face; weather, pests, market fluctuations, export and trade restrictions, and equal pay. At the same time, they face very different challenges at home: lack of support, humanitarian atrocities, and the inaccessibility of technology and tools. One issue all the ladies kept saying was how little support their governments give them. They lack the education, technology, equipment and infrastructure to grow their enterprises and complete globally. While we may feel our government is involved too much at times, we enjoy the latest in technology and equipment to make our farms the most efficient they can be.”

With nearly 5,000 international visitors participating in the U.S. Department of State’s professional exchange program the Colorado Agri-Women are hopeful they will have the opportunity to host other groups in the future. “Our mission is to be a force for truth in agriculture and to educate ourselves and others. Hosting this group gave us the opportunity to do both.”

Colorado Agri-Women’s Western Slope Fall Meeting.

You can’t be force for truth if you do not know what the truth is. Becoming informed about the diverse Colorado agriculture industry was the purpose of the Colorado Agri- Women’s Western Slope fall meeting.

Eastern Colorado members of the Colorado Agri-Women traveled to Grand Junction, CO to educate themselves about agriculture on the other side of the mountain August 19-21, 2016. The weekend started off with the Palisade Peach Festival and parade. During the Peach Festival members enjoyed visiting with local producers of Colorado products from alpaca clothing and hats to peach preserves. At Bikki’s Ranch of Liberty, Barb Bikki discussed peach and plum production while sharing her journey to America and her fight for freedom in her home country. Inspired by Barb, the group boarded the tour bus for a local agri-tour through American Spirit Shuttle.

The first agri-tour stop was Sage Creations where owner, Paola Legarre, grows lavender and cherries used to make jams, essential oils, hydrosols and other bath and body products. Having a keen handle on the lavender business Paola grows both hybrid and heirloom varieties of lavender, specializing her products to capture the benefits of the plants. Paola and her husband use holistic management and conservation practices on their organic farm, balancing production with soil heath. Their farm stand sells products directly to customers allowing for education at the same time.

Leaving the aromatic lavender fields, the Agri-Women traveled on to the Palisade Hops Farm where harvest was in full swing. Stepping into the rows of almost twenty feet high hops plants the Agri-Women and their tour guide disappeared from view. The hoppy scent carried on the breeze and the vines swayed gently in the wind. The Agri-women watched as vine strings were cut from the top and bottom and the vines were piled on a cart to be hauled the short distance to the threshing machine. A highly specialize machine separates the hops from the leaves and vines, conveys the hops to the top of the barn where workers, young family member on this farm, load them into the dryer. After drying the hops are packaged into totes to be shipped to Colorado Native breweries.

No visit to the western slope would be complete without a visit to a local winery. Grand River Winery was the last stop on the Agri-Women’s tour. Led by a very enthusiastic guide, the Agri-Women were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the showcase vineyard, crushing area, fermentation tanks, barrels, bottling and tasting room. Special grapes are grown for each of the Grand River Winery’s award winning wines. Colorado’s climate creates fantastic conditions for wine grapes and highly sensitive management practices capitalize the potential of each grape variety. Blending the management practices of growing the grapes and fermenting the grapes is also highly specialized. Grand River uses stainless steel fermentation tanks and oak barrels for their signature wines.

With heads full of knowledge Agri-women traveled back to Grand Junction for their fall face-to- face meeting. Discussion continued at the fall meeting about how to continue educating themselves and others about Colorado agriculture. As new leadership takes the reigns of the organization, education will still be at the core of the Colorado Agri- Women.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free-trade agreement between twelve Pacific Rim countries: United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. TPP negotiations began behind closed doors in 2010 and President Obama signed the agreement on February 4, 2016. The TPP is a “docking agreement” which would allow other countries to be added without the approval of Congress.

As a top trade agenda goal of the Obama Administration, the President has urged Congress to quickly adopt the agreement while organizations with big transnational members have echoed his request. The 5,500 page TPP agreement was written by the staff of the U. S. Trade Representative office, with the help of over 600 corporate advisors and was only made available to members of Congress in late 2014. In response to questions of its secrecy, the Obama administration finally made the TPP available to the public in November 2015.

The pro-TPP argument in the ag industry is that when agricultural exports increase, all agricultural producers will benefit. It’s the regurgitated claim of the trickle down effect for all free trade agreements. The blatant problem is that free trade is not always fair or balanced trade and the big winners are usually transnational corporations, not American workers and producers. It’s no surprise that big agribusiness, meatpacker and food processing industries all stand to gain under the TPP and are promoting the agreements as economic thrusters for the agricultural base. In reality, individual farmers and ranchers will see little substantial benefit. Instead, they will be faced with increased imports that undermine domestic prices and threaten the viability of family farms and ranches in an already depressed market.

As Food and Water Watch, et. al. correctly point out in a letter to Congress opposing the TPP, individual producers aren’t directly exporting their crops or livestock. Grain traders, meatpackers, produce shippers and food processors export these products for substantial gains while the farmer and rancher’s share remains as minuscule as their share of the retail food market. Any increased exports promised in the TPP will be overshadowed by increased imports to the U.S.

According to conventional economic theory, both sides benefit from the exchange of goods. But this is not always true. Unbalanced, free trade has hurt millions of American workers in textile, manufacturing and auto industries who lost their jobs and have struggled to find work again. Each free trade agreement promises jobs and domestic growth, yet the U.S. continues to have huge trade deficits, importing more than we export ($40.1 billion deficit reported in March).

U.S. job losses due to free trade are as follows: NAFTA - 600,000 manufacturing jobs lost. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization - 3.2 million manufacturing jobs lost (between 2000 and 2010). Korea-U.S. (KORUS) - 60,000 manufacturing jobs lost since going into effect in 2012. 3.4 million U.S. service and call center jobs have been lost since 2000. The result, a cumulative trade deficit of $12 trillion in goods since 1994. KORUS promised to create 70,000 jobs and $10 billion in exports, yet our trade deficit with Korea reached $28.4 billion in 2015 after only three years.

Free trade does have a trickle down effect. Consider the rural communities where textile, manufacturing and automotive industries have completely shut down or where any industry once thrived. They are practically ghost towns with vacant storefronts and dilapidated warehouses where city do-gooders, environmentalists and non-governmental agencies (NGOs) have since showed up with grants and sustainability programs to “save” them. It’s ironic that government free trade deals shut down their industry, outsourced their jobs, and drastically changed their small towns, but now government, in the form of grants and programs, is here to save them with the help of NGOs. Or is it? Government keeps getting bigger and bigger, while small businesses and blue collar workers keep disappearing.

U.S. ranchers and farmers may very well be the next outsourced American worker under the TPP. Free trade agreements continue to pad the pockets of big transnational corporations while robbing American workers and communities. They’ve stimulated the world’s economy with American dollars, while stagnating our own economy. The TPP is bad for American consumers, workers and producers. It’s high time for free trade, that is balanced trade.


Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association seeks Intern

Education has been one of the foremost goals of the Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association since it was founded. Whether that involves educating the public, its members, or youth in agriculture, CICA has always served as a vehicle for disseminating information and ideas.

Every year the Board of Directors selects an intern to serve for a six to eight week period during the summer, with duties culminating at the annual convention. The intern is provided with a grant for further education while also being allowed to enrich their own resume with experience in the cattle industry.

In the past, interns have been responsible for everything from creating invites for the annual convention to drafting press releases for the association. They have the privilege of listening in on Director meetings and working alongside the Board to coordinate the convention.

This position, called the Joel Franz Memorial Internship, pays tribute to a rancher who believed strongly in educating youth in agriculture. Applicants need to be eighteen years or older by June 1st to apply. The position is mostly comprised of work-from-home opportunities. Applications are available online at and are due May 1, 2016.

For more information please contact CAW President, Janell Reid, at 719-446-5210 or by emailing

Candidate for House District 64, Kimmi Lewis

Kimmi Lewis was nominated from the floor at the House District 64 Republican Assembly in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 8, 2016. She is a native of Southeast Colorado, hailing from Muddy Valley Ranch near Kim, Las Animas County. Lewis received enough votes to make the top line on the ballot above her opponent, incumbent Representative Tim Dore. Lewis was instrumental in helping stop the proposed National Heritage Area for Southeast Colorado as well as work to save productive ranch and farm land from the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site Expansion. She is a past president of the Colorado Independent CattleGrower’s Association, Arkansas Valley Cattlewomen and Southern Colorado Livestock Association. Lewis has attended many leadership classes and is particularly proud of graduating from the Leadership Program of the Rockies.

Committee to Elect Kimmi Lewis
P.O. Box 64
Las Animas, CO 81054

We had a good time at Tigges Farm

Education and advocacy are two important aspects of the Colorado Agri-Women. The Colorado Agriculture Tours enable agri-women and the public to learn about and engage in conversations about where their food comes from, the process in food production from farm to consumer, how policies effect food production in positive and negative ways and new opportunities for mutual support.

This quarter we learn about and discuss agri-tourism by visiting Tigges Farm. Tigges Farm has adapted to changes in agriculture for over 75 years. In addition to the farm market, opened over 25 years ago, the 3rd generation farm is now adapting with agri- tourism. The farm features a produce stand, pumpkin patch, roasted chilies, quilt barn and a farm museum. During the fall months the farm is abuzz with school groups, families and festival like events. While the outdoor activities for children start in October you are welcome to bring children along and they can complete the Tigges Farm scavenger hunt.

The Colorado Agriculture Tours enable agri-women and the public to learn and communicate about where their food comes from, the process in food production from farm to consumer, how policies effect food production, and new opportunities for mutual support.

For more information please contact: Colorado Agri-Women Vice President Becky Ravenkamp at 719-740-0715 or visit as they kick off their year long Colorado Agriculture

Schools out for summer!

While many students left school behind for summer, others joined the Genoa-Hugo 21st Century Summer Program for extra instruction and enrichment activities. The Colorado Agri-Women provided agricultural education and accumulated 324 hours of contact time with students in PK-6th grade exploring local agriculture.

Local bee keepker, James Emmerling, showed students bee keeping equipment, brought live bees for them to observe and honey to sample.

The theme of the agriculture education was “Ag is Everywhere!” and focused on the many products and byproducts of Lincoln County agriculture over four weeks in June and July. Highlights of the program included making bird feeders out of locally grown small grains, threshing cereal grains, making butter and learning about honey! Students visited a farm during July harvest and were able to taste honey made from a variety of flowers.

Students were given a farmer’s perspective of raising crops and livestock from how seeds grow to harvest. Animal husbandry and the multitude of animal byproducts were discussed and students loved the hands on activities. The Colorado Agri-Women would like to thank Jill Hollowell and Mary Jo Ravenkamp for helping the Agri-women teach activities.

The kids were able to walk in harvested fields and growing oats.

Threshing and winnowing grain is done by combines. Students in the Genoa-Hugo 21st Century Summer Program did it by hand.

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