Colorado governor, Ag commissioner speak to NFU
DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and Kate Greenberg, his appointed Agriculture commissioner, spoke to the National Farmers Union convention here on Monday.
Polis welcomed the group, noting that Colorado has 39,000 farms and ranches that produce everything from sweet corn, peaches and hemp to beef and lamb.
“Our diversification is really a strength of Colorado’s industry,” Polis said.
Polis said he was aligned with Farmers Union’s Fairness to Farmers campaign to inform consumers about the situation of producers.
“It is frustrating when we see that consumers are paying more than ever but ranchers are getting less,” Polis said.
Noting that Colorado has a “rich agricultural heritage,” Polis added that he wants to “make sure we have the next generation of farmers and ranchers in our state” and “make sure farming and ranching are not just a storied part of our past but a vibrant and growing part of our future.”
He noted that Colorado helps farmers and ranchers with succession plans and has vibrant conservation and easement programs but said he knows “there is not one single answer” to helping farmers and ranchers.
Polis said he wants to avoid policies that would split farmers from urban and suburban residents.
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said that Polis “has a pretty bold vision that is in line with ours.”
Greenberg, a former western director for the Young Farmers and Ranchers Coalition, noted that she is the state’s first female Agriculture secretary and is a member of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union herself.
Greenberg said her department is focused on supply chain resilience, advancing voluntary stewardship of lands, supporting the next generation and advancing rural mental health.
“No one is under the illusion the path forward in ag is easy,” she said. “But we’re optimists.”
Polis and Greenberg both avoided controversial topics such as the governor’s proclamation of a Meat Out Day that caused a backlash to which Greenberg responded.
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