A strong agricultural industry is key to strengthening Colorado – Lamar Ledger

By Dallas May

The importance of agriculture and ranching to Colorado’s heritage and our future cannot be overstated.

A strong agriculture industry means a strong Colorado, which is why I’m glad to see the Polis administration has prioritized supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Too often it feels like those working under the golden dome of Denver’s state capital are far removed from what it’s like to work in this thriving industry, but the reality is that Governor Polis and his administration, especially with the support of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg, have a strong presence in our state’s farming communities and work to benefit rural Colorado.

They aim to help growers increase the resilience of their businesses, diversify their operations, and create easier ways for products grown and raised in Colorado to move from the fields and pastures of Colorado to the homes of Coloradans and locals. of the whole world.

As Colorado and the agriculture industry struggle to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the Polis administration has prioritized support for agriculture and ranching. This included $76 million in stimulus funds to fund agricultural supply chain infrastructure grants, provide funds to expand market access across proud Colorado, support drought response and recovery agriculture, agricultural renewable energy and energy efficiency grants, funding for the National Western Stock Show, as well as local county fairs and the state fair, and dollars for water feature projects from the state. With Governor Polis attending and presenting at the 2021 Colorado Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention, he became the first Colorado Governor to address this important industry group in many years.

He was a defender of our state’s natural resources. Promote numerous plans and initiatives to protect wildlife, migration corridors, and recognize the importance that private lands and the people who manage them play in protecting our state’s natural resources. In the past year, two new state parks have been preserved in Colorado.

Colorado farmers, ranchers and processors have also received more than $1.6 million in funding under the Cares Act.

The state also created the Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grants. These funds are used for agricultural transformation projects such as processing, packaging, sorting, storing, grading Colorado livestock, livestock products, agricultural products, plants and vegetable products. The first round has already ended, but applications for the second round are accepted until February 28.

With USDA’s Specialty Crops Block Grants, administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, growers can focus on scaling high-value agriculture and diverse market opportunities, and take action to increase soil, water and climate management.

Through the state’s Family Farming Transition Initiative, producers can get help developing a family plan, including resolving complex estate planning issues as they begin to consider passing on the family farm to the next generation.

The state also engages farmers and ranchers to help preserve our future and mitigate climate change and extreme drought conditions.

Farmers and ranchers are and have always been stewards of our working lands and are greatly affected by climate and weather. Many are already engaging in cost-effective and climate-smart practices, such as using cover crops and integrating grazing into their land management plans, which can also contribute to profits. Through listening sessions, industry and state leaders come together in conversation to inform an agriculture-focused strategic plan to address the climate challenges facing all Coloradans. Through grants and programs such as STAR (Saving Tomorrow’s Agricultural Resources) and ACRE3 (Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy Efficiency), Colorado funds the voluntary adoption of soil health and energy efficiency practices.

These programs will make it possible to measure the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and to quantify their benefits. Investing in renewable energy gives producers another way to promote their products, as consumers want their food to be produced in a way that supports a diverse and healthy ecosystem.

Farming is something all Coloradans are connected to, some without even realizing it. It has been said time and time again that food is not produced in a grocery store but by people who work tirelessly every day to bring safe and plentiful supplies to an ever-growing population.

To help connect even more Coloradans to this key economic driver, the state is investing in agricultural organizations across the state, including dedicated funding for 45 county fairs in 2020 that suffered losses due to the pandemic. .

In an effort to showcase agriculture and produce grown in Colorado, the 2021 Colorado State Fair hosted the first Governor’s Plate Contest, which featured local food trucks, each loaded to use only Colorado products.

Our state’s rich history is built on the foundation that agriculture and rural Colorado have provided.

Governor Polis has proven to be an effective leader on various issues facing the state. Rural Colorado is a key part of the state facing serious problems.

The governor’s creative approach to policy can help rural communities begin to address and resolve these issues.

The May Ranch is owned and operated by the Dallas and Brenda May family of Prowers County.

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