Coloradans celebrate Ag Day and the capital building in Denver
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper reminded attendants at Ag Day at the capital building in Denver that it was farmers and ranchers who pulled the state out of the recession in 2008 and 2009.
And now, with low prices, it’s time for the federal and state governments to help them.
Hickenlooper said that the federal government, by cutting ag programs, were doing a disservice to producers and urged everyone to lobby loudly in Washington.
He also said the state has to make sure young people can take over the family farm and to provide everyone in the state with access to the Internet.
Ag Commissioner Don Brown, who introduced the governor at the event, said Ag Day is an opportunity for consumers to talk to and learn about what farmers and ranchers do every day and for producers to tell their stories.
Both the governor and the ag commissioner also said their thoughts and prayers go out to the people impacted by the wildfires that ravaged Phillips and Logan counties.
Hickenlooper officially declared the counties disaster areas on March 20.
The fires covered 33,000 acres, destroyed four homes and killed about 200 head of livestock.
Brown said he was reminded of the Heartstrong fire in March 2012 in Yuma County that covered 24,000 acres, destroyed two homes and three firefighters were injured battling the blaze.
So far, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association has raised $150,000 in relief funds for impacted producers and the Colorado Farm Bureau has raised $80,000.
Hundreds of people packed the capital building to attend the Ag Day festivities, which included an army of local chefs, lawmakers and ag representatives, who prepared dishes using products produced by Colorado farmers and ranchers, including beef, lamb, corn and milk, to name a few. Fourteen teams participated in the cook-off competion, which is a part of the event.
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Colo., told attendees that the average producer feeds 168 people a day.
Producers were also recognized for providing $16 million in donations to local food banks.
The Ag Day event is celebrated annually as part of National Agriculture Week.
Agriculture contributes about $40 billion to the state of Colorado’s economy.
Although Ag Day is celebrated only one day a year in the capital people who eat food celebrate every day, Brown said. “Americans celebrate Ag Day every day, they simply don’t know it.” ❖
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