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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 2, 20186min1452
A Colorado Public Utilities Commission hearing Thursday on Xcel Energy’s plan to close coal-fired plants and boost renewable energy drew an overflow crowd that included a mother with a babe in arms, a middle school student, a math professor, a former Peace Corps worker and representatives of farmers and rural areas—all in favor of the […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 1, 20182min547

Martha Smith Farm Bureau
Colorado Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, congratulates Martha Smith at the Capitol Wednesday for winning the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Rancher National Discussion Meet. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Farm Bureau)

Colorado lawmakers congratulated Martha Smith at the Capitol Wednesday for winning the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Rancher National Discussion Meet.

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, delivered a speech to congratulate Smith and deliver a joint tribute from the House and Senate.

“Members, we have a hero here in front of us today,” he began.

He explained the winners from each state and have a boardroom discussion on how to help first-generation farmers. Participants are judged on their strength in making their points courteously.

“And, no, I have never won this contest,” Sonnenberg joked.

Smith is Colorado’s first national winner, winning the title over competitors from almost every state, and the Farm Bureau’s national meeting in Nashville this month. Her prize was a new Ford pickup truck.

“Martha was an outstanding representative for Colorado and for young farmers and ranchers across the country,” Chad Vorthmann, executive vice president of the Colorado Farm Bureau, said in a statement. “It is talented people like her who will lead the agriculture industry into the next generation and help us continue to feed people around the world.”

Smith lives in Denver and is an area manager for Channel Seed. She is a native of Virginia and graduated from Iowa State.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 23, 20183min1294

Among the president’s promises a lot of the business community and even plenty of Republicans were hoping he wouldn’t keep was his threatened crackdown on trade. But he has followed through in fits and starts, rattling his saber over aluminum imports here, appointing a free-trade skeptic as his U.S. trade rep there.

Along the way, he has drawn muted protests from those more often in his cheering section than not, like the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry, the Colorado Farm Bureau and Colorado Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

And now, a not-so-muted rebuke from Colorado’s burgeoning solar industry following the Trump administration’s announcement it will slap tariffs on imported solar panels. No thanks, says an industry trade group; such protectionist policies against imports are in fact more hindrance than help, the group maintains. From a press release issued Monday by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association:

We are disappointed that the Trump administration is siding with a couple of foreign-controlled  solar companies over the broader interests of the robust U.S. solar industry. This unfortunate approach threatens potentially half a billion dollars worth of Colorado solar projects. We believe we can compete in an international marketplace and the success of solar in recent years demonstrates this.

They seem to see it as ironic backfire by an administration whose expressed intent is to bolster American enterprises and their employees and level the playing field. Nevertheless, the association says it’s not about to let the setback derail the industry from its promising trajectory:

… Now that we have the decision, the uncertainty of recent months will give way to creative solutions to keep solar moving forward.

We are excited about the opportunities ahead of us, and with our national partners at the Solar Energy Industries Association, we will move forward and continue to advocate against tariffs.

In other words, thanks all the same, but you’re not helping.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 16, 20183min676
The Colorado Farm Bureau is proposing a ballot initiative that would compensate farmers when laws or regulations put their mineral rights out of reach. The text of Initiative 112 can be found by clicking here. Those affected would be paid the difference in fair market value before and after the new regulation was implemented on […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchDecember 29, 20173min303

The Colorado Farm Bureau‘s year-end message shows how the organization gets things done for farmers, ranchers and rural values.

“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,” the Farm Bureau stated in a release to the media Wednesday.

The Farm Bureau monitored 70 Colorado bills in the last legislative session, and it actively supported 18 that were signed into law, “showing the policy team’s effectiveness and influence when it comes to advocating for policies that are good for Colorado agriculture,” the organization stated.

That team also “helped protect farmers and ranchers from bills that would negatively impact their ability to feed consumers.”

“Throughout the year, the organization focused on effectively sharing the agricultural story across every platform, outlet and through every event and program,” the CFB said in it’s statement. “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.”

In Washington, the Farm Bureau supported the repeal of the Waters of the United States, which they saw as a win for agricultural interests.

“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,” the Farm Bureau reported.

And, to boot, the Farm Bureau celebrated its 100th year this year. The organization grew its Pedal-the-Plains team from 12 to 32 members to promote its #FarmPower brand. As part of this year’s cycling event on the Easter Plains, the Colorado Farm Bureau collaborated on the pro-energy development front with Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development and Keep Electricity Affordable.

This year the CFB Foundation Disaster Relief Committee provided more than $350,000 to Eastern Plains farmers and ranchers affected by a major fire and blizzard that left millions of dollars in damages to livestock and crops.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 22, 20173min380
The Colorado Farm Bureau, the Big Kahuna of the state’s agriculture interests, recognized Service to Ag winners at its annual meeting in the Denver Tech Center last week. Mel and Maureen Rettig, long-time Mesa County Farm Bureau members, and Phil Seng, CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, were honored at a banquet with 300 […]

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