On a yearly basis, the Colorado Farm Bureau Board of Directors outlines its broad public policy priorities to help guide the organization’s activities on public policy. Agriculture and rural areas are impacted by almost every area of public policy.
By setting priorities, the Board of Directors focuses in on key areas throughout the year. Priority areas a both proactive and reactive; helping set agendas for policymakers, as well as responding to issues of importance raised by policymakers.
Issues regarding efficiency, conservation, storage, alternative transfer methods, water quality and more are expected to be debated in the upcoming legislative session as the Colorado Water Plan moves forward. CFB is committed to working with the industry to protect the interests of agricultural water users.
Property rights are paramount to the free market system in which CFB believes. CFB will continue to engage in property rights issues and defend the right of landowners to use their property. CFB will continue to support the rights of farmers and ranchers to use production methods and technology they deem best suitable for their agricultural operations.
CFB will advocate for more of ALL forms of cost-effective energy, as it will take increased production to meet future demand and keep energy abundant and affordable. CFB is committed to securing agriculture’s voice in any energy discussions, especially those impacting landowners and surface use agreements while also fighting to protect private property rights and the ability of mineral owners to develop their property.
Rural communities depend on a reliable transportation system to move their products to market. Additionally, rural areas need access to reliable, affordable high speed internet. Access to broadband will help open better educational opportunities for children, grow and make rural businesses competitive, and improve access to healthcare through telemedicine. CFB will work to get more infrastructure funding into rural Colorado to keep our communities viable and growing.
Due to the ever-present nexus between agriculture and wildlife, CFB will continue to be at the table on all issues regarding wildlife and private property rights. We will bring the ag voice to the table when endangered species, habitat preservation, recreational access and other issues are being discussed.
Animal welfare is a top priority for farmers and ranchers. The welfare of the animals we care for is something the industry strives to do well and improve. CFB will continue to address issues related to animal welfare protecting the animals as well as the livelihoods of those who care for them.
Rural Colorado faces challenges each year with more pressures being put on the business community. Major initiatives putting additional requirements on employers such as minimum wage increases, mandatory paid family leave, mandatory retirement, savings accounts, etc. have had a significant impact on rural businesses and agriculture operations across the state. It’s important that the regulatory climate remains pro-business in our state and that the agricultural and rural voices are heard.
At the Federal level, CFB will continue to work for an immigration policy that provides agriculture with a labor force to meet its needs of a legal immigrant workforce.
Endangered Species Act
CFB will continue to lead the fight on federal encroachment by opposing the listing and reintroduction of unwarranted species.
CFB will work to ensure that the 2018 Farm Bill contains adequate measures that allow farmers and ranchers to hedge against risk. We will also work to maintain conservation programs that are beneficial to agricultural users.
CFB will continue to support quality management of federal lands. This includes efforts to implement logging/forest thinning to control wildfires and the management of feral, wild horses via sterilization, removal and sale without discrimination. We will also continue to advocate for multiple-use on lands controlled by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Trade and Market Access
CFB will work to benefit Colorado farmers and ranchers through market access programs and ensure that these entities are properly funded. We will also work for the implementation of free-trade agreements.
CFB will work to eliminate the estate tax and comprehensive reform of the tax code into a fair system for all farmers and small businesses.
Farmers and ranchers depend on reliable and efficient transportation networks for movement of their goods. CFB will work to make sure that the transportation needs of rural Colorado are being met, while also ensuring that the regulatory requirements are not burdensome.
CFB will continue to engage federally in statutory and regulatory policies that are either implemented or introduced by Congress or agencies of the government. These efforts will be to ensure Agri-business continues to flourish in Colorado.