Most Coloradans didn’t grow up in a rural area and have never been on a farm or ranch. Still, the people of Colorado support the contributions of the agriculture industry to the quality of life in our state.
In a recent survey conducted for the Colorado Department of Agriculture by Colorado State University, 90 percent of Coloradans participating in the survey said agriculture is important to their quality of life. Fully 95 percent of Coloradans said maintaining and protecting agricultural land and water is important.
It’s been a tough year for agriculture in Colorado with prices for cattle and milk as well as such major crops as corn, wheat and hay in decline. It costs farmers more to plant and harvest their fields than they can make selling their crops at today’s prices. Price levels for many farm products have returned to lows seen in the 1980s, but farmers’ costs for tractors, feed, seed and fuel have increased with inflation.
Still, Colorado producers continue to provide food that feeds Coloradans and the world. Colorado’s agricultural community brings your family more food and fiber choices than ever, from conventionally produced to natural, organic, grass-fed and cage-free — all of which are wholesome and necessary to feed a growing population. Whether you shop at a large grocery store or local farmers’ market, Colorado’s entrepreneurial farmers and ranchers provide a safe and secure food supply. It’s this diversity that makes our food production systems the envy of the world.
Cutting into a prime Colorado steak, biting into a delicious Palisade peach, eating a juicy Rocky Ford melon or enjoying the fire of a Pueblo chile — all accompanied by a Colorado wine or beer — is part of the privilege of living in this state and enjoying our local foods.
Whether you realize it or not, Colorado agriculture touches everyone in the state.
Agriculture is an important part of our economy, generating more than $40 billion in economic activity annually and supporting more than 170,000 jobs. Jobs in food sales, restaurants, retail sales, tourism and transportation are just a few supported by agriculture.
Along with contributing to the economy, the agriculture industry willingly accepts a tremendous duty to protect the environment through stewardship of the air, land and water. Farms and ranches provide open space and habitat for wildlife while producing wonderful foods. Innovative and sustainable farming practices ensure our resources will be wisely managed for generations to come. The majority of Coloradans surveyed said agriculture was usually or always environmentally responsible.
Colorado farmers and ranchers, along with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, remain dedicated to preserving the heritage of agriculture in our state while providing an abundant and safe food supply to Coloradans and beyond. We’re glad to hear our neighbors around the state support us in our endeavors. Give us a wave when you drive by.
A third-generation farmer from Yuma County, Don Brown serves as Colorado commissioner of agriculture. Brown oversees the operations and programs of the Colorado Department of Agriculture and its seven divisions. For more information about the CDA as well as the survey results, visit the website located at www.coloradoagriculture.com.