STATEWIDE — The Colorado Farm Bureau closed another successful year of protecting the future of agriculture and rural values. Throughout the year, the organization focused on effectively sharing the agricultural story across every platform, outlet and through every event and program. In a year full of change and preparations, the organization has made great strides advocating for its members and furthering their priorities both at the Capitol and beyond.
The State Board wrapped up two years of long-term strategic plan development, helping the organization become more effective when sharing its message. With an added focus on advocacy, CFB connected intentionally with voters, industry partners, legislators and administrations, extending its network and making connections outside the Capitol to grow its influence within.
At the state Capitol, the CFB policy team tracked over 70 bills that went through the legislature. Eighteen bills supported by CFB were signed into law this year, showing the policy team’s effectiveness and influence when it comes to advocating for policies that are good for Colorado agriculture. The CFB policy team also helped protect farmers and ranchers from bills that would negatively impact their ability to feed consumers. It was a successful year at the state Capitol and the policy team is already preparing for the upcoming 2018 legislative session.
At the federal level, the new administration presented new opportunities for CFB and its members--Including, the repeal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule which brought relief to many agriculturalists both inside Colorado and out. The new administration also presented questions about trade and modernization of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). CFB, along with leaders from around the state, met at the CFB offices to discuss the importance of trade to Colorado and to debate policy solutions that would keep NAFTA and maintain trade policies that are beneficial to CFB members, agriculture and the broader economy.
All of CFB’s work in both state and federal policy is supported by efforts in the community. The Pedal the Plains bicycle tour in eastern Colorado is a highlight of every year, but 2017 presented an opportunity to expand the #FarmPower team and reach a broader audience. Team #FarmPower grew from a loose team of 12 to a formalized team of 32 riders of all skill levels, with both a physical presence in the community as well as an online presence that spread throughout the eastern plains, Denver metro-area and even across state lines. Collaboration with Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development and Keep Electricity Affordable gave team #FarmPower access to more resources and a stronger voice to promote rural Colorado and the importance of energy in agriculture.
An important part of the CFB mission is supporting members in times of need. Unfortunately, this year the eastern plains were ravaged by a major fire and terrible blizzard that caused millions of dollars of damage to livestock and crops. With the help of partners, members and caring community members, the CFB Foundation Disaster Relief Committee distributed more than $350,000 to farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods were devastated by these terrible disasters.
The 2017 CFB Annual Meeting was the last event to be held in the 2017 year. Going down as one of the best Annual Meetings ever, the “Growing Agriculture” theme was shared with members from around the state. With engaging speakers, new networking opportunities as well as great policy discussions, the annual meeting was one every member should remember.
As 2017 comes to an end, CFB looks forward to the next year. In 2018 CFB will celebrate its centennial--a time to remember the organization’s history and look forward to its future. Multiple events and celebrations will celebrate not just CFB, but the importance of agriculture throughout Colorado, and how the industry will play a role in the next 100 years of Colorado agriculture history.