U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner from Yuma sent a letter Tuesday asking Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft for advice on congressional priorities that would be good for agriculture and the communities around it.
“With various commodity prices dropping close to 20 percent between 2013 and 2015, I would like to know what legislative priorities you believe will assist in helping to turn around this trend,” Gardner said the letter his office shared with reporters.
“Whether it is regulations or legislation, it is important for the administration and Congress to understand the impact of their policies, and agriculture is no exception.”
So what does Shawcroft have to offer? Plenty. The cattle rancher from the San Luis Valley is one of the smartest guys I know in Colorado agriculture, and his response shows why I think that. I asked Colorado Farm Bureau executive vice president Chad Vorthmann what he or Don might tell the senator. Don got right back to me Wednesday with his thoughts:
“Colorado Farm Bureau is honored to be asked by Sen. Gardner about our thoughts and priorities for the 115th Congress. His work as a voice for Colorado agriculture will be critical as we work with Congress to chart a path forward that will help grow both Colorado agriculture and the broader economy.
“In the past several years many industries, especially in the West, have been burdened with an ever growing regulatory regime, driving up the cost of doing business, but providing no real benefit for taxpayers. We look forward to working with Sen. Gardner’s office in the coming days to help identify regulation ripe for repeal and reform, and ways Congress can work proactively to boost our industry and remove barriers to success.
“We look forward to recommending Congress repeal EPA’s new Waters of the United State rule and a slate of other abusive regulations. We will recommend reforms of the Antiquities Act and the Endangered Species Act, as well as ideas about how we can better manage our forests to improve their health and protect against wildfires.
“We will focus on the administration of federal lands, particularity as it pertains to the concept of multiple use, reducing permitting and environmental review times, and increasing state authority in the administration of these lands. We will suggest how to speed the review of liquified natural gas export terminals; ways we can reform reimbursements for lawsuits against government agencies; how we can stop the practice of sue-and-settle tactics by radical environmental groups, the Department of the Interior, and the EPA; and ways we can speed federal review and approval of large water storage and infrastructure projects.
“We will also share our ideas on ways the senator can work to help bolster international trade, to provide new markets for American agriculture products and commodities, and how he can help champion smart investments to help rebuild our transportation and communications infrastructure. Improvements to our broken immigration system and access to agricultural labor will be a priority, as will our focus on tax reform, and the permanent elimination of the death tax.
“These ideas and reforms will help spur the use of our natural resources, provide taxpayers a better return on their investment, and allow agriculture and other natural resource industries to get to work creating jobs and economic growth. We look forward to compiling them and replying to the senator as quickly as we can.”