Board members involved with the Public policy committee chaired by CCGA Vice President Doug Melcher held the regular weekly conference call following the end of Colorado’s legislative session May 11 for a wrap up on bill status and actions taken this session. Lobbyist Becky Brooks and members of the Public Policy Committee represented the organization on a variety of issues including support of HB-1005 reinstating agriculture’s tax exempt status for pesticides and other crop and livestock production inputs. Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill this week. May 13, 2011
This early morning club hosted Colorado Corn Executive Mark Sponsler who presented to the group of community leaders addressing popular misconceptions about corn and ethanol. Discussion was lively and members were attentive to the many facts and perspectives shared. To date, this would be the eighth time the presentation has been shared with groups; 3 to auto dealerships, 4 Rotary Clubs and one Sirloin club in the Front Range area. May 13, 2011
The Colorado Ag Water Alliance (CAWA) chaired by Colorado Corn Administrative Committee Vice President Charlie Bartlett hosted Governor Hickenlooper and four key members of his cabinet; John Stulp, Special Policy Advisor on Water and IBCC Chairman; John Salazar, Commissioner, Colorado Dept. of Agriculture; Mike King, Executive Director, Colorado Dept of Natural Resources; and Dr. Chris Urbina, Executive Director, Colorado Dept.
Mark Sponsler, Executive Director for CCGA and CCAC participated in this meeting hosted by the Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment involving all interested stakeholders. The gathering provides an open forum for addressing options, challenges, and possible solutions to establishing appropriate criteria for water quality in Colorado’s lakes, rivers, and streams, particularly related to nutrient content. Agenda items included:
Colorado Corn was represented at the Forum by Mark Sponsler and by the booth image and messaging themed “Agriculture is the Backbone, Water is the Lifeblood”. The Ag Water Conservation brochures were made available to participants as were the most recent corn and ethanol fact cards. Key topics included discussion of alternative transfer methods for supplying municipal and industry water needs without the traditional buying and drying of agricultural lands, water supply gaps in the basin predicted for future needs and municipal growth, EPA nutrient criteria development and explan
Rick Palkowitsh: On Wednesday afternoon, I was privileged to attend the “Trade in Agriculture Roundtable” hosted by Senator Mark Udall and Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar with their special guest Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Han Dak-soo. It was reported that currently the U.S. exports $5 billion worth of agricultural goods to the Republic and only imports $300 million. The estimate, if the free trade agreement is ratified by Congress and by their assembly, is that U.S.
Rick Palkowitsh: I attended the CSU President’s Agricultural Advisory Council on behalf of Colorado Corn.
Staff members Mark Sponsler, Ann Cross and Katie Olearnick attended the NCGA All-State Staff meeting in St. Louis. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for states to share ideas, discuss similar emerging issues and address industry challenges. States were given the opportunity to talk about their project involvements, some of which included Sports Marketing, NASCAR/E15 promotion, and current Blender Pump programs. NCGA detailed the new Corn Farmer Coalition campaign, the grassroots activism program, and provided an overview of policy and the future of ethanol outlook.
Rick Palkowitsh, Burlington area corn farmer and CCGA secretary was interviewed by Erin O’Toole of KUNC radio, Greeley. Rick was asked to comment on the recent announcement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to increase the production and use of ethanol by assisting stations that install the higher blend pumps. The goal is to add 10,000 Flex-Fuel pumps across the country.
FarmInsure Safety Group representatives Katie Olearnick of Colorado Corn, Tom Levy of Pinnacol Assurance, and Brian Schiller of Flood & Peterson Insurance, conducted a safety seminar on April 4 at the Haxtun Vo-Ag shop. The 2011 Safety presentation titled, “Safety Makes Good Business Sense” was well received by the twenty-two farmers and spouses in attendance.
“It was great to have Tom and Brian on hand to go over the insurance statistics and to answer questions about the relationship between FarmInsure, Pinnacol, and Flood & Peterson”, said Katie.