In an upbeat and optimistic Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture, speakers weighed in on what Colorado agriculture producers can expect from their industry in the future. This year’s theme was “Today’s Vision for Tomorrow’s Food System.”
In his remarks to the gathering, Gov. Hickenlooper said that he has learned much about the importance of agriculture and rural Colorado over the course of his campaign.
“I realized that rural areas are what gives Colorado its identity,” he said. “It’s the rural areas that make Denver, Denver.”
Hickenlooper also told the audience about his belief that various communities in Colorado will come together to rally around the ag industry and the importance of water to the states future. Hickenlooper believes that much of the state’s economic problems will wane once the state comes to terms with issues facing water. He says that even non-ag citizens are beginning to realize the importance of the industry’s leadership role in water administration.
Keynote speaker Dr. Lowell Catlett told those in attendance to not count their industry out yet. The noted ag economist and futurist said that those involved in agriculture should have faith in their own view of the future but they should be quick to adopt new trends.
Catlett pointed out consumer preferences with regard to food choices, retirement, and pet animals among other things. He urged attendees to be quick to fill demand for a new breed of consumer even if those values conflicted with their own.
He also noted the rise of emerging economies like India and China.
India, he said, was not a large consumer of beef, but the consumption of beef in that country has doubled in just the past five years.
“… All of sudden, they said, ‘I think I’ll try a cow,’ ” he quipped.
That will help make the U.S. economy stronger in the future as it finds new markets for agricultural products. And while the national debt may be staggering, it’s not as bad as you think, Catlett said. For example, in the U.S., there is $4.30 for every $1 in debt. In comparison, for every $1 of debt in Europe, there is less than $2 to pay it off; and in Japan, there is only $1.12 for every $1 of debt.
“Why is that? It’s because of who we are. We get up every morning and go to work. Don’t bet against America,” he said.