Colorado Association of Wheat Growers
CAWG is a voluntary membership association that represents its dues paying members at the state legislature and Congress at the national level and provides other special programs and benefits. Our goal is to provide the state’s wheat producers with representation at the state and federal levels of government while keeping you updated on the issues that may affect Colorado wheat.
From 2013/2014 CAWG President Mark Linnebur: The Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG) has continued to keep an active voice for the wheat farmers of Colorado. We wholeheartedly listen to your concerns and present them to legislatures at both the state and national levels. I think the success that we have shown this past year is a testament to our efforts.
On the state level: this past legislative session (2013), bills signed into law that we supported included HB 1034 – Update Wholesale Farm Product Commodity Marketing, which moves the receipt process for commodity elevators into the 21st century by allowing commodity elevators or warehouses to use electronic receipts, and adding protections for farmers and ranchers who sell their products on one date and take payment at a later date. We also helped to defeat HB 1192 – Food Labeling Requirements for Genetically Engineered Foods. Unfortunately, a bill we worked hard to defeat, the Renewable Energy Mandate Bill (SB 252), passed. Our rigorous lobbying against this bill included meeting with Governor Hickenlooper to ask for a veto, to no avail. This year we are continuing making your voice heard about water bills, dust measures and the repeal of SB 252.
When lobbying, we try to educate an overwhelmingly urban legislature about the challenges we face in agriculture and in rural Colorado. State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Dist. 65) said it well, “We have 27 new House members. That’s a whole lot of education that has to come from us in the agriculture community.” Last February, more than 30 state legislators and aides sat down at our Legislative Lunch with wheat farmers from across the state who had come to share their stories.
On the national level: we continued to fight hard for passage of the farm bill and to ward off regulatory actions from EPA and the Labor Department. In January, we traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with our Colorado delegation of Senators and Representatives. Our conversations focused on the need to maintain crop insurance, which is vital to American and Colorado agriculture, obtain an adequate replacement for direct payments and ensure full funding for trade programs MAP and FMD.
In September, we had an opportunity to meet with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet at Cooksey Farms near Roggen. We directly addressed the $750,000 AGI limit in the Senate’s version of the farm bill and how that would adversely impact smaller farms through increased premiums because of a reduced acre pool. We must have made a difference – in the conference for the compromise farm bill, the AGI limits for crop insurance were completely removed. So, now we have a new five-year farm bill with no limitations on insurance, full funding for trade programs that benefit wheat and a decent replacement for direct payments.
In May, we hopped in a van with U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner to tour the drought devastation in Prowers and Baca Counties. Thirty farmers attended a lunch at Shelton Farms outside of Lamar and 50 attended a supper at Baca County Crop Care in Springfield. Let’s pray this drought will end soon.
The Colorado Ag Classic in December was a great success. The farmers who attended were able to discuss issues with state legislators and listen to informative speakers including Futurist Jay Lehr.
I sincerely hope that we are doing the job you elected us to do. The CAWG board strives to maintain our way of life in rural America and to improve conditions for all Colorado wheat farmers. We welcome feedback from our members, and encourage you to let us know how you think we are doing.
If you are not a member of CAWG and you see a benefit of our lobbying effort please join our organization.
Become a Member!
Not a member yet? Take a moment to consider the benefits of membership. To join the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers and do your part to help Colorado wheat farmers stay in production agriculture please call 1- 800-WHEAT-10, or click here to download a membership brochure.