Agriculture and rural areas are impacted by almost every area of public policy. 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.

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.


Farm Policy and Trade

Farm policies must be managed fairly and 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.

 

 

 

Infrastructure

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 and Environment

Agriculture plays a major role in improving sustainability, reducing emissions and protecting the environment. Informing policymakers 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 Business

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. 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.

Water

The interests of agricultural water users must be protected in issues regarding efficiency, conservation, storage, alternative transfer methods 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.

Wildlife

Agriculture should have a seat at the table when endangered species, habitat preservation, recreational access, species introduction and other wildlife issues are discussed. The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife should include agricultural interests in the development of the gray wolf reintroduction plan. 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.