ARCHIVED  August 1, 1997

Foreign-aid cuts force disbanding of CSU ag center

Declining enrollment signaled end

FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University’s International Center for Agricultural and Resource Development, known as ICARD, has “gone into hibernation” due to dwindling foreign-aid funds, said Merle Niehaus, director of International Research and Development at the university.
This means that trainees from developing countries will no longer receive their instruction at CSU in agricultural subjects, such as corn and wheat production, irrigation and management of public lands, which was ICARD’s primary function, Niehaus said.
The university is still training foreign students, “but there’s been a swing away from agriculture and into the social sciences, like ‘how to run a state legislature, how to run a city, what does a mayor do,’ new things ICARD was not prepared to work in,” Niehaus said.
Four or five years ago, ICARD was training about 100 people per year, Niehaus said. Last year, that figure had dropped to only 15 to 20, primarily because Congress cut foreign aid.
“Many of the trainees already had college degrees, and almost all had jobs in agriculture in their home country. After getting specialized training at CSU, they returned home to their jobs,” Niehaus said.
However, if Congress increases foreign-aid packages, Niehaus said, ICARD is prepared to “get back into business quickly.”
Foreign-aid funds began drying up after the end of the Cold War, Niehaus explained. “So it’s not all bad,” he said.Colorado honey spurs sweet deals
Foreign markets apparently are learning just how sweet Colorado honey is, because at least one area packager and processor is selling its honey in the supermarkets of one Middle Eastern country.
Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Honey Ltd. in Longmont, said Madhava has also sold its “Mountain Gold” product to a Tokyo market and has had numerous inquiries and interest from other foreign markets, including Africa.
Colorado is a major player in the “bread basket of honey production,” Gerbore said. “There’s no better area in the world as far as good quality honey – mild, sweet and light in color,” he said, referring to honey derived principally from clover and alfalfa nectar.
“A representative just came back [from the Middle East] and showed me a photograph of our honey on a supermarket shelf. Our company’s labels are used, but the buyer made labels in Arabic, which we put on the top of the container,” Gerbore said.
Madhava, which means “born of honey” in Sanskrit, was founded in 1975. Last year, the company grossed $1.5 million in sales. Gerbore could not estimate what percent of total sales comes from markets located overseas, because foreign sales have been sporadic.
Jim Rice, current owner of Rice’s Honey in Greeley, said his company also receives inquiries from foreign buyers, but “we just try to do a good job here right now.
“There’s been some honey shortages all over the U.S. in the last couple of years, so I haven’t really checked into selling overseas. But that doesn’t mean we won’t someday,” he said.
Rice’s Honey was started 75 years ago by Jim Rice’s grandfather. The company’s major product is also a light-colored honey – “just like it comes from the hive” – and bears the “Lucky Clover” label.
The company also produces a darker honey derived from a dark-leafed alfalfa grown in southeastern Colorado. The darker product sells under the “Raw Honey” label.
Last year, Rice’s grossed a little more than $2 million in sales, principally from the Rocky Mountain region, Rice said. Seventy percent came from the grocery market and 30 percent from the food-service industry.
Rice said honey shortages the last couple of years were caused by diseases in the bee populations. “It’s hard to tell yet how the new crop is coming along,” he said. “It will be another month or two before there’s much honey.”
Gerbore said beekeepers are battling two varieties of parasitic mites that attack and kill bees, but “that’s a pretty ongoing affair.” Treatment for mite problems is usually conducted in the spring and fall and not during the summer months when honey production is buzzing.Beverly McConnico can be reached at (970) 330-8518.

Declining enrollment signaled end

FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University’s International Center for Agricultural and Resource Development, known as ICARD, has “gone into hibernation” due to dwindling foreign-aid funds, said Merle Niehaus, director of International Research and Development at the university.
This means that trainees from developing countries will no longer receive their instruction at CSU in agricultural subjects, such as corn and wheat production, irrigation and management of public lands, which was ICARD’s primary function, Niehaus said.
The university is still training foreign students, “but there’s been a swing away from agriculture and into the social sciences, like ‘how to…

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