Home // Policy // Policy Priorities
Agriculture and rural areas are impacted by almost every area of public policy. Every year, the Colorado Farm Bureau Board of Directors outlines its broad public policy priorities to help guide the organization’s activities on public policy. By setting priorities, the Board of Directors focuses on key areas for proactive engagement on legislative and rulemaking. Priority areas a both proactive and reactive, helping set agendas for policymakers, as well as responding to issues of importance raised by policymakers.
Animal welfare is an important aspect of any livestock operation, and remains a priority to CFB members . CFB will continue to engage on issues related to animal welfare, protecting the animals as well as the livelihoods of those who care for them.
Farm Policy and Trade
Farm policies must be managed fairly, equitably and avoid unnecessary provisions that limit the ability of farmers and ranchers to participate in those programs. Maintaining and expanding conservation, safety net and risk management programs that are beneficial to agricultural users and the environment help support the industry. It is important to advocate for market access programs, the implementation of new free-trade agreements and the fair treatment of agricultural products within those agreements.
Funding for transportation and broadband internet projects should be increased and include rural Colorado’s voice when identifying projects and distributing monies.
Natural Resources, Energy & Environment
Agriculture plays a major role in improving sustainability, reducing emissions and protecting the environment. Informing policy makers about that role helps protect rural Coloradans’ ability to utilize their property for energy production. Any program designed to address climate issues in the agricultural industry must be both science-based and outcome-based. Any policies should be voluntary, incentive-based and avoid additional regulatory mandates on Colorado’s farmers and ranchers. Quality management of state and federal lands is key and utilizes multiple-use on public lands including efforts to implement logging/forest thinning, control wildfires and address the maintenance backlog.
Rural Colorado faces unique challenges, including economic disruptions, impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, substance abuse, mental health problems and ever-increasing natural disasters. It’s important that federal, state and local policies support rural communities, are pro-business, protect private property rights and include agricultural and rural voices. Tax provisions specific to the longevity of agricultural businesses and the survivability of family farms remain a priority to CFB advocacy efforts. A long-term solution to the Estate Tax is needed as well as support for rural healthcare and business-friendly tax policies that acknowledge the unique nature of agricultural production. Increased regulation of the employer-employee relationship should not be onerous and recognize differences between agricultural and urban work environments. Reforms to existing agricultural labor programs or the creation of new programs should improve access to agricultural labor, not limit it.
The interests of agricultural water users and the private property rights thereof must be protected in issues regarding efficiency, conservation, storage and water quality. Those interests should also remain front and center as the state works to implement the Colorado Water Plan, as drought conditions become more frequent, and the state’s population continues to grow.
Agriculture should have a seat at the table when endangered species, habitat preservation, recreational access, species introduction and other wildlife issues are discussed. Clear objectives, transparency and stakeholder involvement and a focus on species recovery are needed to avoid federal encroachment and the unwarranted listing and reintroduction of species.