CENTENNIAL, Colo. — As 2016 comes to a close, Colorado Farm Bureau is celebrating another successful year of promoting and protecting the future of Colorado agriculture and rural values. The organization saw success across all of its program areas, at the state capitol, and Washington D.C.
With a crowded ballot, CFB was happy to have complete success on election night, with all of the organization’s positions on ballot initiatives being realized. Especially important was CFB’s strong statewide support for Amendment 71. In many rural counties where CFB led the charge, the measure passed with more than 60 percent support, with some even approving the proposal by 70+ percent. In all, only four Colorado counties voted against Amendment 71. Before the end of the year, the measure had its first success by pushing an effort to restrict growth from seeking a future amendment in favor of a statutory change.
In the state capitol, CFB had many successes and enjoyed an 83 percent success rate on its lobbying activity. It helped pass several priority bills including a bill to initiate a study on water storage in the South Platte basin, a tax credit for new farmers, and protection of prior appropriations when rain barrels are used in urban areas. It was also instrumental in stopping many measures detrimental to the Colorado ag industry including a measure that would have changed liability provisions and made it easier to sue commercial businesses.
At the federal level, CFB was happy for the passage of a nation-wide GMO labeling bill that will preempt individual states from dictating labeling standards. A measure to give President Obama authority to negotiate and finalize the Trans Pacific Partnership was also passed with the support of the organization. CFB was also instrumental in ensuring Colorado millet growers could participate in a program to help defray the costs of constructing on-farm grain storage facilities.
Members of Colorado’s largest agriculture organization also logged many accomplishments in 2016. Yuma member and CFB Women’s Committee Chair Nikki Weathers was named the Southwest Region Farm Mom of the Year by Monsanto, CFB Board member Marc Arnusch will be awarded the Rising Star in Agriculture by the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, CFB Board Member Hugh Sanburg was named Landowner of the Year by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and CFB Executive Vice President Chad Vorthmann was elevated to Chair of the Colorado Ag Council, to name just a few.
It was the second annual outing of team #FarmPower at the Pedal the Plains bicycle tour in eastern Colorado. The collaboration between CFB, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, and Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development fielded a team of 25 riders and helped raise awareness about the importance of energy production to the Colorado economy.
CFB also undertook several organizational changes in 2016 in response to its strategic plan. The Mid-Summer meeting was reformatted to become the CFB Summer Ag Issues Summit, in order to better make use of the busy summer season and help the organization better develop its yearly policy changes. CFB is also completing the transition of its field staff from Regional Managers to Training and Development Directors, to provide better training and leadership development to members and build stronger more independent county farm bureaus.
Colorado Farm Bureau is thankful to its members and partners for helping to make 2016 so successful for Colorado agriculture. The organization’s Board of Directors and staff have already charted an aggressive agenda for the coming year with plans to push regulatory reform in Washington D.C., expand outreach with programs like #FarmPower, execute new initiatives on member training and development, and help promote local elected officials and advocates for Colorado agriculture to list a few.
Happy New Year!
— Colorado Farm Bureau
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