Rio Grande Commissioners show support to agricultural community

RIO GRANDE COUNTY — In a special meeting on Wednesday, March 10, Rio Grande County Commissioners passed a resolution solidifying support for state and local agricultural communities in the Valley and throughout the surrounding region.

In the resolution is states, “the Governor of Colorado has proclaimed a boycott of meat products, referred to as a ‘MeatOut’ — in order to encourage meatless diets as promoted by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), to be observed by Coloradans on March 20, 2021; and WHEREAS, cattle and other livestock production has historically been, and continues to be, one of the key economic drivers in Rio Grande County.”

Rio Grande Commissioner Chairman Gene Glover said, “I pushed for this resolution in partnership with surrounding counties in the Valley because our agricultural community is a huge part of our economy and it is important that our board shows them the support they need. We wanted to how our support for state and local ranchers and farmers because they are one of the largest economic drivers in Colorado.”

The resolution continues to state, “WHEREAS, Rio Grande County Cattleman and our ranching families are part of a $4.2B state industry with a $40B economic impact and accounts for 10% of the states total export sales; and WHEREAS, employment in the agriculture sector and related industries provides a significant number of jobs to its citizens involved in ranching and livestock production; and WHEREAS, Rio Grande County is a declared ‘Right to Farm’ county and has taken regulatory steps to protect our active farms and ranches.”

Commissioner John Noffsker also commented on the passing of Resolution 2021-09, “Agriculture is very important in the San Luis Valley and the State of Colorado and I was actually disappointed in the Governor’s decision to make his executive order. We wanted to make a statement about how important it is to us. People need to understand how this all comes together and the need for agricultural ecology in the wider picture of our economy.”

Resolution 2021-09 also addresses coming state legislature, “WHEREAS, the Colorado General Assembly is considering passage of Senate Bill 21-079 which concerns deregulation of direct to customer meat sales in support of ranch to table private enterprise. NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rio Grande County Board of County Commissioners expresses their concern that the Governor of Colorado would call for a boycott, even of one-day duration, of an industry that is key and essential to both our local and state economy; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Commission supports Senate Bill 21-079 concerning deregulation of direct to customer meat sales in support of ranch to table private enterprise and all other legislative actions that support strengthening Colorado agriculture.”

Newly appointed Commissioner Scott Deacon stated, “We felt the need to support this effort because the cattle industry in the Valley is detrimental to us. It ties into our water and other economic drivers that make up the basis of our communities. We need to make a stand and show support for what is right.”

The board solidly stands behind and supports the production agriculture in the Valley and will continue to help strengthen efforts to protect this detrimental resource throughout the state.