Ag Secretary, Governor Field Questions and Feedback in Greeley

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, left, meets with Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar, middle, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Remove barriers to trade, foreign markets, red tape and get out of the way. That was the basis of most of the comments at Governor Hickenloopers’ Economic Development Summit this week in Greeley. As part of his bottom-up economic development strategy, the Governor hosted a day-long Summit on rural and economic development at UNC in Greeley. Attending the meeting along with the Governor was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar.

Red tape and other barriers to business and commerce were a recurring theme throughout the many sessions on various aspects of economic development.

Roundup Ready Alfalfa opponents protest in front of the meeting hall.

“It’s difficult to differentiate red tape and what is an appropriate regulation,” Hickenlooper said in addressing the problem. To do that, he said, he wants to find ways to help business grow while holding the state at the highest level of accountability and ethics. He also wants to assure that the state is pro-business but is also intent on protecting the state’s natural resources.

Vilsack addressed the red tape and regulation complaints by noting the federal government has been given a reality check and that it must become more fiscally responsible and use resources more effectively to “create economic opportunities.”

Agriculture, Vilsack said, was the one bright spot in the recession the country is now starting to move out of. He noted that the export of agricultural products is expected to increase again this year after seeing the same from 2010. Those exports, he said, generate jobs.

(Image: Jim Rydbom, Greeley Tribune)

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