2010 CFB Legislative Conference is Under Way


Members stand for the Pledge to begin the afternoon session.

The 2010 Colorado Farm Bureau Legislative Conference is underway in Downtown Denver today and tomorrow.  Representatives from across the state have gathered to discuss important issues facing Colorado agriculture. Former Congressman and candidate for Governor Scott McInnis is scheduled to speak on the state of Colorado, plus legislative updates and debriefings will carry on throughout the day.

Water Committee

The water advisory committee met this morning to discuss the Arkansas River Compact of 1948 and its impact on water rights of Colorado farmers and ranchers.  The lines are drawn between Colorado and Kansas, as Colorado farmers desire labor and cost savings from irrigation improvements while Kansas farmers want to ensure that they aren’t short-changed on water supplies.  Assistant Attorney General Eve McDonald came to speak with committee members, answer their questions and help clarify the confusion surrounding this issue.

Animal Agriculture Committee

The animal agriculture committee focused their efforts today on discussing HB 1195, which seeks to suspend the exemption from state sales and use taxes for certain items used in agricultural production.  Many CFB members expressed their fear that farmers and ranchers would be unable to pass this cost onto the consumer and many would be forced out as they are already working on a thin margin.  Committee members stressed the need to reach out to Senators quickly and create a strong message to be sent to a variety of organizations and associations as the bill works its way through the Senate.

Wildlife and Environment Committee

Troy Bredenkamp, CFB Executive Vice President, discussed with committee members the progress being made in supporting wildlife initiatives.  Conversation between Colorado sportsmen and the Farm Bureau has strengthened as they talk about the Habitat Stamp Program and the next steps to take with the Department of Wildlife.

Specialty Agriculture Committee

Billy Merritt from the Farm Service Agency spoke with committee members about land expirations and extensions within the CRP and CREP programs. Committee members also looked at a bill which would bring equity to the application process for farm truck registrations.

Crops Committee

The crops committee identified HB1158 as a priority bill for this legislative session, as it attempts to clarify wind use rights.  Committee members expressed an interest in reaching out to Representative Gardner and Senator Hodge through candid discussions and e-mail contact about the intent of the bill. Many questions surround the wind right issue and the committee does not want to take a position that would compromise agriculture interests in the future.

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