March 22 proclaimed as Colorado Ag Day

Governor Polis signs bipartisan legislation into law, SB23-050 Eligibility For Agricultural Future Loan Program, sponsored by Representatives Richard Holtorf & Karen McCormick, Senators Cleave Simpson & Dylan Roberts, to build upon the Polis administration's ongoing support for Colorado's thriving agriculture industry. This legislation provides key resources to farmers and ranchers to help grow their farms and ranches. Courtesy photo

Polis signs ag legislation into law

ALAMOSA — While Governor Polis was signing legislation into law that expands the "Eligibility for Agricultural Future Loan Program," Lt. Governor Diane Primavera and Kate Greenberg, Commissioner of Colorado Department of Agriculture, were in the Capitol celebrating Polis' proclamation of March 22 as Colorado Agriculture Day along with stakeholders from the agricultural industry, House representatives and a group of FFA students from the state.

Primavera opened her comments by discussing her family's connection to Colorado agriculture, specifically citing her roots to the family's small farm in Joes, Colorado, a small community in southern Yuma County.

Primavera then highlighted the vital importance of agriculture in the state.

"Everyone here knows that agriculture is an essential economic industry in our state – with nearly 40,000 farms and ranches, nearly 200,000 people employed, and $50 billion in economic output," she said. "But it's also a way of life for so many of our neighbors, and part of who we are as Coloradoans. The earliest days of our state are intricately linked to agriculture, and it's Colorado agriculture that puts food on our tables. That's why it's important to our administration that we continue working to support our Colorado farmers and ranchers to help them succeed."

Primavera then mentioned some of the administration's most noteworthy accomplishments supporting agriculture, starting with the state's implementation of the STAR (Saving Tomorrow's Agricultural Resources) Plus program, which is committed to healthy soil and provides financial and technical support to farmers and ranchers who enroll. She also highlighted the administration's work in supporting future generations of future farmers, including more than $17 million in beginning farm loans and a program that will bring AmeriCorps volunteers to southwestern Colorado, where they will learn more about agriculture.

Primavera then read from the proclamation that cited, among other acknowledgments, "Colorado's food and agriculture sector fuel the economy and feed the nation, contributing over $2 billion annually in agricultural exports...contributes to national security by providing the most abundant and affordable food, feed, fiber, and fuel in the world...plays a preeminent role in the daily life of every Coloradan, and will continue to be of importance in the future progress and prosperity of our state's economy."

Greenberg followed, praising legislators for their work in helping CDA advance their support of Colorado's farmers and ranchers. She also called attention to CDA's four directives, which include strengthening supply chains and diversifying food systems, and advancing farmer and rancher-led solutions to the toughest soil, water, and climate challenges. She mentioned the importance of promoting animal health and welfare and, with a nod toward the Future Farmers of America (FFA) group standing behind her, spoke of CDA's commitment to supporting future generations of agricultural producers.

"We've been working on programs and policies that are proactive and prepare us for a drier, more challenging future," she said. "Thinking ahead now is critical to making sure agriculture can continue to thrive in Colorado. Colorado's agricultural communities are full of problem solvers, innovators, and proactive thinkers who see the effects of a changing world every day."

Other events honoring the day included a panel discussion organized by CDA and Water Education Colorado that included "Intro to Ag Sector Water Challenges and Priorities", "Collaborative Water Sharing in the Arkansas Basin" and "Adapting and Gaining Resilience on the Ground."

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