Hickenlooper Signs Bill to Allow Producer Referendum for Millet Marketing Order

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Published Saturday, May 5, 2018

Lack of investment in developing new varieties of millet and lack of new market creation has inhibited expansion of this crop. --Chris Stum, Towner

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed SB 18-188 in late April, which amends the Colorado Agricultural Marketing Act of 1939 to add millet to the definition of an agricultural commodity.  This change will allow the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture to conduct a referendum of millet producers to determine whether they wish to assess themselves to self-fund education, research and marketing programs.  

The prime sponsors of SB18-188 were Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) and Representatives Jeni Arndt (D-Fort Collins) and Jon Becker (R-Fort Morgan).  The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 35-0 and the House of Representatives by a vote of 62-0. 

Chris Stum, High Plains Millet Associatioin president from Towner thanked the bill sponsors, Governor Hickenlooper, Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown and the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG) for their support of SB18-188.  "Lack of investment in developing new varieties of millet and lack of new market creation has inhibited expansion of this crop.  This needs to change and can be accomplished through a Colorado millet marketing order."   

The Commissioner of Agriculture will hold a public hearing to decide whether a referendum of producers should be conducted to determine if producers approve and favor a millet marketing order.  HPMA has requested the Commissioner to conduct a public hearing in mid-June and referendum in mid-August to seek producer approval of a millet marketing order to self-fund education, research and marketing programs.  

HPMA recently mailed a survey to Colorado millet producers to measure their support for education, research and marketing programs that a millet marketing order could provide.

Colorado ranks number one in millet production in the U.S. with 10-year average production of 6.4 million bushels valued at over $23 million annually.  As producers move toward conservation in crop rotations, millet is vital for enhancing rotation diversity and promoting economic sustainability.    

HPMA was organized on March 11, 2017 with a mission "to provide sustainability to the millet industry through research, production and marketing."