CDA Begins Rulemaking Process for Agricultural Worker Variance for Hand Weeding (July 22; Aug 12 & Aug 26)

Broomfield, Colo. – On June 25, Governor Polis signed into law SB 21-087, the Agricultural Workers’ Rights bill, which requires the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to set up new rules and regulations for workers in the ag industry. Additionally, the law requires the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) to promulgate the specific rules related to the allowance of hand weeding and hand thinning crops by workers.

CDA’s responsibility is to first establish a procedure for agricultural employers to seek a certificate of variance to allow for more than occasional or intermittent hand weeding of agricultural or horticultural products. Next, CDA must promulgate a rule to establish an allowance on limitations of hand weeding and hand thinning for an agricultural employer actively engaged in the transition to certified organic agriculture. These rules must be proposed by Oct. 31, 2021 and promulgated by Jan 31, 2022. 

CDA will hold three virtual meetings to gather feedback and input from stakeholders to develop the rules required by SB 21-087. Public input and participation are encouraged. Those who cannot attend any of the meetings are encouraged to submit their feedback through the online form below.

SB 21-087 Stakeholder Meetings

Meeting 1: Thursday, July 22, 9:00-10:30 a.m. MST (Register) (printable link:
Purpose: to discuss the bill and draft a basic outline of the rule

Meeting 2: Thursday, August 12, 9:00-10:30 a.m. MST (Register) (printable link:
Purpose: To review draft of the rule and provide feedback

Meeting 3: Thursday, August 26, 9:00-10:30 a.m. MST (Register) (printable link:
Purpose: Review near final version of the rule

SB 21-087 Online Feedback Form

Members of the public can submit their general feedback through this online form (printable link: The information gathered through this form will inform the first draft of the rule. Other feedback forms will be created to give specific feedback once the rule has been drafted. 

The Colorado Department of Agriculture exists to support the state’s agriculture industry and serve the people of Colorado through regulation, advocacy and education. Our mission is to strengthen and advance Colorado agriculture, promote a safe and high-quality food supply, protect consumers, and foster responsible stewardship of the environment and natural resources.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Tucker 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.