Colorado producers introduce Better with Beef campaign with governor in attendance
Rachel Gabel, The Fence Post
September 5, 2019
The svelte black Suburban rolled into the parking lot in Denver and the cattle producers, all in the shadows cast by the tractors and bull racks, washed to a showroom shine, all looked up and quieted their conversations about fall work, cattle prices and high school football.
Flanked by staff and security, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis made his way toward the crowd, shaking hands with trade organization and industry leaders while smoke from the grill circled above the crowd.
The crowd was a representative slice of cattle production in Colorado, with Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, former Commissioners of Agriculture Don Ament and Don Brown, Sen. Don Coram, and current Commissioner Kate Greenberg, among them.
Ament began the program and said he has watched the topography of the Front Range change during his time in Colorado with the metro area teaming with people and only 1 percent involved in production agriculture. Ament said he would rather people learn about their food from the people who produce it rather than through social media, and welcomed the members of the press, though the major Denver stations were notably scarce.
Ament said Colorado agriculture contributes $40 million in economic activity, employs 173,000 people, and does that with 34,000 farms and ranches.
“What makes the agriculture budget so big?” he said. “It’s cattle. Cattle is the big deal, first place in Colorado.”
Ament recognized the dairy, corn and hay industries’ roles within the beef industry that, together, make it possible for Coloradoans to spend less than 7 percent of household disposable income on groceries.
“Those people who are our consumers get to choose a lot of things about us,” Ament said. “It’s how we farm, it’s how we feed cattle, and they forget about animal husbandry and biotech and nutrition. They forget about the things that make us produce enough not only for this state but the nation. Those are the things we need to be able to tell.”
Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, a cattle producer from Sterling, Colo., thanked the producers who traveled to Denver for the meeting. In Sonnenberg’s Senate district, he said, cattle outnumber people, 10 to one.
“The demand for beef continues to grow, not only in Colorado, not only in the United States, but especially worldwide,” Sonnenberg said. “Why does it grow? Because people like the value they get and they like the taste of beef.”
Beef, Sonnenberg said, isn’t a partisan issue or a partisan conversation, but a conversation about what producers provide as the second largest industry and economic driver in the state.
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