CO Senate Democrats: Stimulus Bills Making Historic Investments in Colorado Agriculture Signed by the Governor
These new laws will provide much needed financial support to agricultural resiliency and efficiency programs throughout the state
DENVER, CO – Today, Governor Polis signed into law two bills that are a part of Colorado’s recovery package, setting aside historic levels of funding for agricultural resiliency and efficiency programs.
SB21-234, sponsored by Senators Sonya Jaquez Lewis & Jerry Sonnenberg, allocates $3 million to the Department of Agriculture to increase the state’s ability to anticipate, mitigate, or respond to droughts. In 2020, each of the 64 Colorado counties were experiencing a drought. This drought exacerbated many of the financial impacts on the agriculture sector, and as climate change worsens, drought could cost Colorado an additional $511 million dollars in expected annual damages to agriculture. This bill will help the state plan for and mitigate future droughts and climate disturbances.
“Climate change has caused the worst drought for farmers in their planting season in 20 years,” said Senator Jaquez-Lewis (D-Boulder County). “This legislation will provide funding for drought mitigation and wildfire prevention techniques. As a San Luis rancher’s granddaughter, I am proud to support our agricultural families across the state.”
SB21-235, also sponsored by Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis, allocates another $5 million to voluntary soil health programs and to the ACRE3 program, Colorado’s premier state-level program for agricultural energy management. ACRE3 provides financial aid, technical assistance, and education to help the agriculture industry cut energy costs and develop their own energy resources. To further increase the sustainability of the ag industry, producers can invest in nutrient cycling, and erosion prevention strategies which will increase yields and resilience to extreme weather events.
“Agricultural businesses and working families depend on keeping costs low,” said Senator Jaquez-Lewis (D-Boulder County). “This legislation funds energy-efficient techniques like improving soil health and Agrivoltaics, which combines solar energy creation over croplands. Farmers and Ranchers will have another way to improve their crop production.”
To read the bills and find more details about the legislation, visit leg.colorado.gov.