by Carol Dunn
WALSENBURG- About 40 people attended the joint annual meeting of the Huerfano County Farm Bureau and the Huerfano Basin Stockgrowers on November 13 at the La Plaza Inn in Walsenburg. The Farm Bureau membership elected a new member to the Board of Directors, JoAnn Tomsic, and re-elected Larry Fuller and Paul Coe.
Colorado Farm Bureau Vice-president Don Shawcroft was on hand to brief the group on legislation that affects agriculture in Colorado and the nation. “Agriculture is an economic engine for the State,” Shawcroft said. He said there are rumors that newly elected Governor Hickenlooper may be willing to cut entire state government departments in order to reduce the budget. “The State needs to cut $250-million in spending this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2011,” Shawcroft said. “Over a billion dollars must be cut in the next fiscal year that begins in 2011.” When asked how he would describe a billion, Shawcroft replied, “One second in 32 years is equal to one in a billion. A billion is one thousand million.” Shawcroft also described legislation surrounding the Chesapeake Bay Program which would give the Environmental Protection Agency more control over nonpoint source water pollution. He said the outcome of the legislation could set a precedent nationwide for stricter EPA regulation of waters of the United States.
Tom Verquer, who ranches near Trinidad, represents this region of Colorado on the Colorado Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Verquer spoke highly of the partnership among agricultural organizations like the Farm Bureau and the Stockgrowers. He said grass roots policies which begin at the producer level are the best way to address agriculture.