To Colorado's Livestock Producers,
The past year has been a very challenging one for our state and the world. We've had to reinvent the way we do things in order to save as many lives as possible and get out of the crisis that has been brought on by the pandemic.
As livestock producers, you face challenges few others face: long, frigid nights caring for your animals, tough commodity prices, drought, and a true mental health crisis invading our rural communities.
I have spoken with many of you who expressed concern with the proclamation that designated March 20th as MeatOut day. I would like to clarify that this proclamation does not create a new state holiday, despite certain headlines, and that proclamations are non-binding. Also, this is not a new proclamation - former Governor John Hickenlooper made a similar proclamation in 2011.
The Governor's office processes hundreds of these requests by advocacy groups representing the wide spectrum of opinions that make up our great state. But still, you matter, your voice matters, and I am listening.
Late March is a time when agriculture is elevated in Colorado. Take the annual Ag Day celebration. This is a time when we raise the voice of agriculture and invite Coloradans to taste, learn, and get connected to Colorado agriculture. And that means a time to connect with Colorado's livestock producers and beef industry - the largest industry in Colorado agriculture.
Since I began my time as Commissioner, I have been listening when you tell me what keeps you up at night: Questions of whether your kids will be able to make a living in agriculture, how you will manage through another year of drought, and what the changing economy will mean for your family and community.
These are just some of the places where I am fighting for you every day.
From day one Governor Polis and I have focused on opening up new business for Colorado livestock producers from Taiwan to Mexico and promoting beef to consumers across Colorado.
We have targeted grant dollars to local processors, made historic investments in rural broadband and rural roads, and right now we are working with the legislature on proposals to support the agriculture industry that would invest in the future of our rural communities and open new markets. In addition, we have prioritized COVID-19 vaccines for the more than 220,000 critical food and agriculture workers in our state: Beginning March 5th, agricultural workers will be able to start getting vaccines in Colorado; we are hard at work ensuring it will happen as soon as possible because we know how important agricultural workers and industry are to our state.
You, your families, and your hard work are part of the backbone of Colorado's rural communities. You help drive our economy, serve as stewards of public and private lands and innovators in tackling some of our biggest environmental challenges, and help ensure a safe, high-quality food supply for a growing population. I want you to know that I've got your back as you do what you do best.
The livestock industry is an essential part of Colorado's past, present and future. No proclamation will change that.
Kate Greenberg, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture