Long Bill Funds Department of Ag’s Climate Smart Goals, Animal Disease Response Team – by Ark Valley Voice Staff

Long Bill Funds Department of Ag's Climate Smart Goals, Animal Disease Response Team - by Ark Valley Voice Staff

As Colorado legislators finalize the content of the state budget, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is praising lawmakers for their support of Governor Polis’s key budget requests that support agricultural communities across our state through passage of the state’s Long Bill.

The Colorado General Assembly funded several new staff positions that will help drive CDA priorities of advancing resource stewardship, animal health and welfare, and market opportunities for Colorado producers. Included in the Long Bill is funding for at least four new Agency staff, including an Agricultural Water Advisor, a Biocontrol Specialist, a Western Slope based Bureau of Animal Protection Investigator, and a Climate Marketing Specialist to promote Colorado’s leadership in resilience efforts such as soil health.

“CDA is committed to advancing Colorado agriculture through economic resilience, voluntary stewardship, supporting future generations, and enhancing animal health and welfare,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.

“These new positions will help increase the business opportunities and direct producer support CDA will be able to provide to farmers and ranchers across the state, from planting to promoting your product,” she added. “CDA thanks Governor Polis and the General Assembly for their support of these key resources for Colorado agriculture.”

Cattle ranching inside Salida city limits, adjacent to Monarch Spur Trail allow passersby to observe from a shady resting spot near the Provenza family memorial benches. Merrell Bergin photo.

The funding approved by the Joint Budget Committee and now the full legislature is critical to supporting the work of Colorado producers in diverse agricultural areas and continuing CDA’s efforts to promote resilient economic processes, working landscapes, and agricultural communities.

CDA is creating new positions that focus on climate resilience and business opportunities for Colorado agriculture. The new climate and conservation positions will help ensure Colorado will continue to be a national leader in farmer- and rancher-led climate resilience and stewardship. And funding for the marketing position will help create a market signal for consumers who are looking for businesses that are committed to climate-smart agricultural practices.

The Biocontrol program at the Palisade Insectary breeds and distributes beneficial insects to control and eradicate invasive weed species across Colorado. The Request-a-Bug program is so popular Coloradans have to join waiting lists to receive their orders. CDA’s appropriation will fund an additional biocontrol specialist to help get more of these beneficial bugs to landowners to enhance stewardship.

Additionally, funding for the Animal Health Division’s ability to quickly and effectively prepare for and respond to foreign animal diseases will help Colorado devote resources to proactive planning for any disease outbreaks. The Bureau of Animal Protection in the Animal Health Division will receive funding for a social service and mental health contractor to connect people with resources to address difficult life circumstances and mental health challenges that are often at the root of animal mistreatment.

Long Bill Funds Department of Ag’s Climate Smart Goals, Animal Disease Response Team – by Ark Valley Voice Staff

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