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Western Drought Hasn’t Affected Barley

July 11, 2002

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BERTHOUD, Colo. (AP) _ Despite a drought that is gripping Colorado, the state’s major brewing company has managed to find enough barley to keep up with production.

Adolph Coors Co. buys about 12 percent of its brewing barley from farmers along Colorado’s parched northern Front Range, but the company said crops elsewhere are healthy and its production will not be hurt by the drought.

Barley is one of Colorado’s major crops. Thousands of acres in northern Colorado have already been plowed under or will be harvested early for cattle feed because the drought is leaving it too stunted for the brewery.

``This is not good small grain weather,″ said Paul Aravis, a Colorado State University extension agent. ``It’s been too hot too early for good production.″

Golden-based Coors buys all its barley from U.S. farmers, and almost half of it is grown in Colorado. Growers in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho provide the rest.

The San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado has the highest concentration of Coors barley growers.

Barley harvests there and in the other three states look good and should supply enough grain for brewing, Coors spokesman Kevin Caulfield said.

Bill Markham of M & M Farms east of Berthoud has already harvested 10 percent of his 250 acres of barley for cattle feed because it was not maturing well.

``I’ve been farming 50 years, and this is the worst I’ve ever seen,″ Markham said.

Coors agronomist Mark Sponsler said hopes things get better for the farmers.

``It’s a very brutal industry they’re in, especially in a year like this, They need every penny they can earn, and this year it’s a matter of survival,″ he said.

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On the Net:

Coors: http://www.coors.com

American Malting Barley Association: http://www.ambainc.org/linx/

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Two dozen Mississippi swine farmers have received permits to burn dead hogs instead of burying them in landfills.

The Department of Environmental Quality gave approval Tuesday to the 24 farms in north Mississippi to build and operate onside incinerators.

Jerry Cain, chief of the department’s environmental permit division, said burning the carcasses is less of a public health risk than burying them.

``Obviously, the public’s exposure to the dead animals is reduced,″ he said.

Environmental groups and people living near hog farms have been fighting for several years for stronger state pollution-control regulations and more restrictions.

Nearby residents said the incinerators will simply add to the odor emitted from the large amounts of manure and urine produced by thousands of hogs raised at the farms.

The department’s action follows its decision last November to let Prestage Farms incinerate dead hogs at five locations in two counties.

Mississippi has about 60 large hog farms.

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