A Letter from the President of the Colorado Livestock Association…
It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as the President of the Colorado Livestock Association over the past two years. I have been part of this vital organization for over two decades and we are continuously changing and adapting to fit the needs of livestock producers in Colorado.
As an industry and Association, we faced significant challenges head-on over the past year. From battling a precedent setting court case related to a fish kill, to responding to the Governor’s call for more plant-based protein, and now calling for relief for farmers affected by the devastating impacts of COVID-19 that are still developing as I write this letter.
Fish Kill in the Republican River
In June of 2015, areas of Yuma County experienced a once-in-50-years rainfall event. Following the storm, the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) received a report of dead fish in local fishing ponds and a run-off from a local feedyard was being blamed. Even though the feedyard had taken the appropriate measures and was in compliance with state regulations the Colorado Attorney General’s office filed an action against the feedyard, accusing the owners of “unlawful taking” of 14,711 fish and levied fines against the feedyard. In February 2018, a district court judge in Yuma County issued a summary judgement finding the feedyard liable.
In January 2019, the Colorado Livestock Association engaged its legal counsel to prepare and file an Amicus Curiae Brief with the Colorado Court of Appeals in support of the feedyard’s appeal. The Court reversed what the trial court had done and ordered that Judgement now enter in favor of the feedyard.
This is the right result and should serve to protect livestock producers from similar lawsuits.
Governor Polis and the Impossible Whopper
In August 2019, the Colorado Livestock Association sent a prudent letter to Governor Jared Polis, Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg and the Senate and House Ag Committee leadership expressing our concerns with the Governor’s meeting at the Department of Agriculture where he encouraged department staff to eat Impossible Whoppers made of plant-based protein.
The feedback we received from the membership and industry reinforced the idea that CLA is looked to as a leader that will provide a well-thought out, timely and measured response to issues.
Better with Beef Campaign
CLA, in partnership with Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, launched the ‘Better with Beef’ campaign, a consumer and citizen-facing educational initiative telling the story of why Colorado is ‘Better with Beef.’
This was an important step forward in correcting the misleading marketing information being used to promote plant-based burgers and to inform consumers about the environmental sustainability of beef production in the U.S.
Regulatory & Legislative Advocacy
The shift in the political landscape in Colorado presents a challenge to protect rural Colorado and our businesses. Not only in the legislature, but also the executive and judicial branches of government.
CLA is focused on those issues that have a significant impact on your business either from the legislative point of view or from the regulatory standpoint. These two areas have been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of what CLA does on your behalf. They are our “bread and butter.”
Governance & Management
It takes a tremendous amount of time, our most precious resource, to oversee and manage the Association’s finances. I want to recognize and thank the members of the Finance and Audit Committees for their diligence in preserving the Association’s financial well-being and taking a future-focused approach to building the Industry Preservation Fund. I would like to especially thank Tom Wernsman for his years of service as our Treasurer.
A plan for the future leadership of CLA is critical as we look ahead. The Association completed the development of its Succession Plan thanks to the hard work of the members of the Succession Planning Workgroup.
As I hand the gavel to your next President, Dwain Weinrich, I am confident that CLA is in good hands. Governance, Outreach and Advocacy have been, and will continue to be, the pillars of this organization.
As we move forward, fiscal responsibility and great leadership will be critical to our success. The current environment we’re in has caused us to take a hard look at how we conduct our business and continue to provide value to the membership.
We will continue to be at the forefront in being the voice of the livestock industry that will help shape favorable policies and regulations. But we can not do it alone. We will continue to work collaboratively with other members of the Colorado Ag Council, Colorado State University and national organizations.
Our experiences over the past year galvanized the membership into proactively telling our story to the public. We are taking a critical look at our public relations and how we can be more effective in communicating our story. The Association has begun the process of interviewing various public relations companies to help us in this effort.
Every generation has a defining event, COVID-19 will change our world. What is most important is that we take these lessons and apply them toward a better tomorrow. While we are in the thick of things let us take comfort in knowing that ‘this too shall pass.’ We are essential to providing food and fiber to the world, but let’s not forget to take care of our families, ourselves and our businesses.
I want to thank my fellow board members, the membership and staff for such a high level of professionalism and loyalty to the Association.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to be involved with such a well-run organization. The feeling of standing up for something that’s bigger than myself has been truly rewarding.
Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.